The first public participation under the new County village Units Act of 2019 of the devolved system of governance was convened across the county.
The 10 days exercise created a forum for ‘bottom-up’ engagement through which village representatives selected by the communities spearheaded their project priorities to be incorporated in the upcoming County Annual Development Plan (CADP)2021/2022 which also marks the fifth and final year of implementation of the CIDP 2018/2022.
Being cognizant of the COVID-19 pandemic, the forums adhered to restriction on the number of participants and the MOH regulations on Covid -19 mitigation measures during the exercise in all 70 the county village units.
Not only was the number of participants limited to 20, but also the selection was done based on having a representation from each sub locations, having those who can actively debate, opinion leaders, representatives from the thematic sectors and the special interest groups.
This year’s exercise is set to identify and capture priority projects in each sector for every village unit, following the enactment of the Kisumu county village units Act of 2019 by the Kisumu County Assembly which saw the establishment of 70 Village Units for effective coordination, management and supervision of the general administrative functions in the Village Units and for connection purposes.
According to the County Director Public Participation Mr. Wilson Nindo, Previously Public participation was organized at the ward level, but this year it was taken to the village units in form of focused group discussions that has resulted to quality debate as opposed to the ward level that was crowded and sometimes chaotic.
“The exercise was overwhelmingly embraced by the people; hence it is a positive direction to take, an indicator that the strategy of the Governor is working beyond expectation” said Mr. Nindo
He reiterated that going forward, county activities involving the public such as county budget review outlook paper and development of County fiscal strategy paper will follow the same trajectory.
Some of the participants interviewed during the exercise were elated having their views incorporated from the grass roots.
“Previously when the exercise was held at the ward level, the PWDs were not easily identified and given a chance but at the village level, I am happy that my views have been heard and considered. Going forward in the next forums we should have a representation of both male and female PWDs brought on board” said Mr. Charles Ocholla from Kolwa East, representing persons living with disability (PWDs).
On her part, Mrs. Elizabeth Ayugi from Chiga sub location said “Before it was not easy for our opinion to bought in such forums, it is a good move today that our views as women at the grass root have been captured. This will empower more women to air out their views without reservations”.
Subsequently, Mr. Jack Nyumba, a youth representative in the forum said “in the past youths have been misguided by political tussles, involving us youths in such forums will change our mindset to development conscience. I request the Governor that if the projects proposed will be implemented, let us youths get opportunities in our localities for economic empowerment like in the case of road maintenance”.
By: Mikwa Emily