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Connecting People and Ideas for Integrated Development

Small grants made to support Kenyan Parliament's lawmaking and oversight

International Commission of Jurists (Kenya Section) and the Consortium for Constitution and the Health Sector (CCHS) have launched their projects

In February 2011, SUNY/CID’s Parliamentary Support Program in Kenya (PSP) launched a small grants program for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to carry out activities aligned to the Kenyan National Assembly’s role in the new constitutional dispensation, particularly in legislative review, research and committee work.

The PSP is co-funded by DFID and USAID to help bring a greater measure of democracy to the Kenyan people and to support Parliament’s initiatives at internal reforms, increased dialogue, and technical modernization. In addition to supporting Parliament directly, the PSP recognizes the imperative of CSOs’ participation in the legislative process and is therefore offering small grants and technical support to these organizations. The total grant fund of $950,000 (U.S.) will be awarded in a number of small grants over 4 years.

Applications were invited from the full range of CSOs active in Kenya. In April, 50 CSO applications were received, 20 proposals made it to the technical review stage, and five were selected for this round of funding, based on the technical merits of the applications.

  • International Commission of Jurists Kenya Section (ICJ-Kenya): Enhancing the effectiveness of legislative action of the National Assembly in implementing the constitutional provisions relating to elections.
  • The Consortium for Constitution and the Health Sector (CCHS):  Strengthen the capacity of the Parliament’s Departmental Committee on Health to provide oversight over the implementation of the health provisions of the Constitution.
  • Africa Centre for Open Governance (AfriCOG): Strengthening Parliament’s watchdog role by supporting parliamentary oversight committees, particularly the Public Accounts Committee.
  • East African Wild Life Society (EAWLS): Promoting sustainable management of Kenya’s natural resources through effective laws and policies and equity in the sharing of natural resource benefits between the national and county levels.
  • African Women’s Studies Centre - University Of Nairobi: Supporting Kenya’s food security through implementation of Article 43, 1(c) of the Constitution requiring all Kenyans to have adequate food of an acceptable quality.

Two CSOs have launched their grants: The ICJ-Kenya and the CCHS.

ICJ-KENYA: Enhancing effective implementation of the Kenyan constitutional provisions relating to elections and devolution

A grant was awarded to ICJ-Kenya to enhance Parliament’s ability to carry out its mandate in implementing Kenya’s new Constitution. Kenya’s new constitution includes basic provisions regarding key questions like the structure of government, the Bill of Rights, elections, devolution and so forth. However, if the transition from the old constitutional order to the new is not properly managed, if subordinate legislation is not drafted passed and implemented, the changes envisaged in the new Constitution will not occur. For this reason, Chapter 18 and Schedules 5 and 6 of Kenya’s new Constitution set out how the transition is to be managed. This grant will help to ensure that the Kenyan Parliament and its Committees have access to technical advice regarding the transitional legislation, especially regarding key legislation on elections and devolution. The grant will also support public participation, and increase non state actors’ participation in parliamentary work regarding the implementation of the new Constitution, helping to ensure that the legislative process is transparent, accountable and participatory. Specifically, the project will enable ICJ-Kenya and its partners to:

  • Engage with the Constitutional Implementation Committee (CIC) to provide research-based critiques of the various bills before it. Support for the CIC will also include strategic advice on how best to carry out its mandate;
  • Support the work of parliamentary committees, particularly the Administration of Justice and Legal Affairs Committee and the Constitutional Implementation and Oversight Committee (CIOC), by providing the committees with research-based positions on the various issues that will arise;
  • Support public participation in the implementation process by providing periodic public briefings on milestones and important developments in the implementation of the constitution, as and when these arise.

The ICJ-Kenya is a membership, non-partisan, non-profit organization that is registered as a society. It is an autonomous section of the International Commission of Jurists. As a membership body of Jurists, both locally and globally, ICJ-Kenya has a great interest in the administration of justice and has been working in Kenya and around the African Continent since 1959. The ICJ-Kenya’s vision and mandate is to promote the adoption of systems that foster democratic governance, the Rule of Law and respect for all human rights by organizing activities and programs that inform, agitate and advocate, in an innovative manner, for the recognition and protection of human dignity at all times bench marked against international standards.

CCHS: Improving access to health services through national policy making and budget oversight

A second grant is being made to the Consortium for Constitution and the Health Sector (CCHS) to assist the Parliamentary Committee on Health to understand the new constitution as it impacts health sector policy and to monitor budget allocations within the sector. 

The Kenya National Assembly (KNA) has a key role in ensuring that the constitutional provisions on health are implemented, especially taking into consideration the national budgetary allocations to the health sector. Further the constitution mandates devolution of health services to the county levels. For Parliament to perform this role effectively, it would require a detailed analysis of the provisions on health, deepened understanding by the legislators, and increased interactions between the health professionals and Members of Parliament (MPs).  

CCHS already fosters a close working relation with the Committee on Health. The funding will enable the CCHS to provide Members of Parliament with a better understanding of the constitutional provisions of relevance to the health sector and to monitor the national health sector budgetary allocations. Specifically the CCHS grant will:

  • Develop guidelines on health and the Constitution for use by the Committee on Health and relevant caucuses; and
  • Develop a toolkit for the Parliamentary Committee on Health to monitor national health budgetary allocations.

It is only through such a process that the Committee and Parliament more broadly, can ensure that Kenyans have access to quality healthcare in line with the constitutional provisions.

The Consortium for Constitution and the Health Sector (CCHS) is comprised of four partners: African Institute for Health & Development (AIHD); African Woman and Child Feature Services (AWCFS); Center for the Study of Adolescence (CSA); and Kenya Women Medical Association (KMWA). These organizations bring together expertise in the areas of healthcare, health promotion, communication, capacity building (from the community to the national levels), advocacy and community mobilization.

See more of SUNY/CID's work in Kenya

Posted: Aug. 9, 2011