The combination of social exclusion and low technical capacity creates an opening for massive mismanagement of public resources, poor service delivery and misdirected planning and/or implementation of development programs. The voice of community members in local level decision making hierarchies on matters affecting their lives is still far from being heard as cases of misappropriation of devolved funds continue to be reported ad nauseum in the country. Despite decentralization efforts by the Government, several challenges, commonly governance related, are impeding the realization of meaningful results.
Citizens lack of capacity to play their oversight role has led to a death of accountability and transparency and established a culture of corruption, mismanagement and impunity; all of which is undermining the county government’s core mandate of delivering services to the residents and their role as the nation’s engines of economic growth. Since stable access to basic services is critical in enhancing peoples’ standard of living, this inadequacy deters human development, restricts livelihood opportunities and exacerbates poverty.
This devastating picture implies that a lot needs to be done to enhance the mantra of inclusive governance among citizens, particularly if the people are to acquire the cachet of citizenship through improved service delivery and a heightened sense of social belonging. ARA therefore seeks to sensitize and empower communities to effectively participate in monitoring the processes of project identification, resource allocation and implementation of projects as well as demand quality service delivery. This is done through civic education and training of trainers on devolution and public finance management.
Participation of the local communities in the county governance is envisioned with the increased level of civic awareness, and is made possible through the formation of county watch and budget groups. People are made aware of and enabled to exercise their right to demand inclusion in and accountable decision making. This will translate into expanded livelihood opportunities for the communities as public resources are better utilized and access to basic services improve. Meaningful development will be realized with the expansion of democratic space that allows citizen involvement in decision-making processes at the grass root level.
The project targets women, men, youth as well as local leaders (MPs, MCAs, etc) for purposes of checks and balances at community level. Opinion leaders and religious officials are incorporated as well.