von Kristina Kroyer
Empowerment for Policy Dialogue – Projektpartner im Gespräch II – Groots Kenya
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 Jael Amati, project manager of GROOTS Kenya how they experience the trainings and the “PD project” in general:
What did you think about the training last week?
Jael Amati: The training last week was very important, especially in order to look more closely on the sustainability of the organization and its projects. One of the key things that I carry from this training is the need to have an organizational policy that governs the management of social enterprises, which are used sometimes to subsidy or complement the work that the organization is doing. This is one of the key things that I away from the training.
How do the trainings and cross-learning activities in the project help you in your policy dialogue engagement?
Jael Amati: Many times we engage in policy dialogue as an organization without having the time to sit back and reflect whether we are using the best methods, whether we are doing it right and making impact. So these kinds of trainings help us to sit back and reflect on our methodologies and on our projects. They also remind us on going back and reflect on things we have already learned. Each Policy Dialogue Training focuses on specific topics, but they also draw back to the whole policy cycle, focusing on how to strengthen ourselves around the cycle. So I feel they are very good to sit back and reflect on what we are doing, how can we strengthen our policy dialogue engagement and how can we network with other similar organizations within the consortia. Additionally, the trainings are a good opportunity for new staff and community members to be inducted on Policy Dialogue in a more organized and sustainable way, which is crucial for GROOTS Kenya, who is struggling with staff turnover, as are many organizations in the NGO-sector.
Additional to the trainings, the financial support for PD initiatives has really helped. There are so many opportunities that come for communities to engage with policy makers and to influence policies, but sometimes when you do not have the financial support for these kinds of activities, it becomes very difficult. Because of the small grant we receive through this project we were able to quickly organize meetings and influence specific decisions. The flexibility of the grant makes it possible for us to quickly discuss project progresses with HORIZONT3000 and see how it can work best for us and our target groups.
Describe in a few words what GROOTS is doing in their PD initiative within the consortia project?
Jael Amati: GROOTS Kenya is using this opportunity to organize women potato famers in two counties in Kenya and build their capacities to understand the policy environment around the potato, which is affecting them, and on how to engage with relevant stakeholders and the county government, so that they become able to improve their livelihood sustainably. These women are daily growing potatoes, they are daily marketing potatoes, they are daily engaging in different value chains of the potato. Yet their income from this value chain is quite low, simply because there are so many challenges and a lack of access to needed information. A key challenge has been the issue of marketing, so we have taken this as an example to pilot a Policy Dialogue in these counties on policies around packaging regulations, affecting those women directly.
What kind of changes do you see for your target groups since you started the project?
Jael Amati: In Nakuru County, where we have started the project, we have seen a lot of changes, as women famers have become more empowered in terms of how they engage with policy makers, how they understand which strategies and which approaches to use. Policy Dialogue has helped them map the stakeholders, to understand them and know which stakeholder is responsible for what. They formed an advocacy team that now works on a variety of issues that affect potato farmers, varying from issues of infrastructure, marketing and production. The project has enabled the women to be more organized and engaging with their county officials, even without the support of GROOTS Kenya.
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.