von Kristina Kroyer
Empowerment for Policy Dialogue – Projektpartner im Gespräch – DESECE
Politikdialog ist ein Konsortialprojekt mit 5 österreichischen und 8 lokalen Partnerorganisationen. Seit 2014 wird in dem von der ADA finanzierten Projekt die Stärkung des Dialoges der Zivilgesellschaft mit politischen Ebenen forciert. Kristina Kroyer hat im Zuge eines Projekttrainings in Nairobi mit den Projektverantwortlichen unserer Partnerorganisationen DESECE (Emmanuel Kizito) und GROOTS Kenya (Jael Amati) ein kurzes Interview geführt:
In the first week of July CSOs from 4 East African Countries came together to share their many experiences in the policy dialogue and advocacy field. The training series within the Policy Dialogue Consortium Project enables partners to learn from each other and from experts in the field on how to engage more effectively with policy makers in order to turn their target group’s issues and struggles into agendas of policy development and implementation processes. While the last training, celebrated in Kampala in October in 2017 focused on Strategy Development and Risk Management for Policy Dialogue initiatives, this month’s Training in Nairobi, laid the focus on Research and Documentation, Resource Mobilization and M&E for Policy Dialogue initiatives.
Kristina Kroyer, the coordinator of the project asked Emmanuel Kizito, project manager of DESECE how they experience the trainings and the “PD project” in general:
What did you think about the training last week?
Emmanuel Kizito: The training last week was very good in relation to the content that was treated. It was answering directly to some of the doubts that exist concerning our interventions. The trainers were up to the task and have done a good job, especially on the topics resource mobilization and M&E.
How do the trainings and cross-learning activities in the project help you in your policy dialogue engagement?
Emmanuel Kizito: They are very important for our project. For example, at the Kampala training last year, we looked at the risks we face during interventions. It is important to understand and to be aware of the risks that are ahead of you and look for their mitigation, so that your Policy Dialogue interventions run without causing conflicts with the beneficiaries or the target audience. In fact this assisted us a lot in planning our activities. Once you know that something can hinder you, you know at which particular time to undertake a certain activity and which method to apply in order to reach your target. The activities also motivated us to deal with staff turn-over. Once a person was trained, the person has to come back and share the information with a colleague, so that another person is able to take over and continue the work.
Describe in a few words what DESECE is doing in their PD initiative within the consortia project?
Emmanuel Kizito: We are looking at the communities, who are our direct beneficiaries, and build their capacities in terms of coming out and raising their needs towards the policy formulators and implementers. We want to create the awareness at policy actors, that the communities are the beneficiaries of the projects they implement, that they are subjects, not objects, that they are there to give their insights and opinions and that what they feel is relevant, while looking on the resources the government has and on how they can be shared equitably. Basically, what we are doing is to empower communities to know their role in our system of governance. Most of them have not embraced the idea of taking part and are rather waiting for the services to come to them. What we are telling them is that if you don’t go for the government and its leaders, they will not respond to your needs. We support them to organize and to assess what the main gaps are that they need the government to come in, and to hold the government accountable. During political campaigns, politicians do a lot of promises, but who follows up on their manifestos and see whether they are implemented? So we are asking the communities to look at the projects that are implemented in the areas and assess if they fulfill their intentions. We also work with the local administration in order to not harm existing strategies but rather strengthen them. We cooperate closely with the local chiefs, who assist us and help in mobilizing communities.
What kind of changes do you see for your target groups since you started the project?
Emmanuel Kizito: We are seeing some changes, where we may not be able to say that this is our attribution but we can well say it is our contribution. Initially officials came and implemented projects within a given community without involving the community stakeholders and at the end of the day this project was not sustainable. But the communities that we have been able to train, they are now questioning the government and holding it responsible for the activities they are doing. For instance, there is a community that demanded for a fair share of the resources and through their petition and joint effort, they achieved a reallocation of administrative areas and resources and now they experience that government services are coming closer to them. So these are some of the changes that we are part of. People are becoming more aware of what is happening around them, not just waiting for services to come for them, but rather monitoring the progress of the activities taken by the county government.
The Consortium Project Policy Dialogue is funded by the Austrian Development Agency and involves HORIZONT3000 as lead Agency, Red Cross Austria, SOS Children’s Villages Austria, Caritas Austria and CARE Austria. HORIZONT3000 is working with its local Kenyan partner organizations DESECE and GROOTS Kenya, along with the other local partner organizations of the Austrian Consortium: Kenya Red Cross, Rwanda Red Cross, SOS Children’s Village Uganda, SOS Children’s Village Tanzania, MIO-Net and CARE Uganda.