Building Citizen Participation in Kenya

UAlbany’s Center for International Development (SUNY/CID) is working with Kenya to strengthen and expand its representative institutions, more than a decade after it began helping the Kenya National Assembly (KNA) become one of the most robust legislatures on the African continent.

Malcolm Russell-Einhorn

Malcolm Russell-Einhorn

Since 2000, supported by grants from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), SUNY/CID has conducted more than 250 workshops and seminars related to parliamentary processes, budgeting and institutional reform. It has funded and guided 150 interns to support a new committee system and technical staff in Kenya, and produced more than 400 research reports.

New USAID and DFID funding support SUNY/CID’s latest efforts, which bring Center staff together with Kenyan researchers and fact-finders to consolidate Kenya’s parliament as a leading societal force. New developments have included a bicameral legislature through institution of a Kenyan Senate, effective funding and oversight committees, and legislative budget-making that funds both the federal government and 47 county legislatures.

Professional staff services now include research, budget and legal counsel offices. After recent elections, all legislative members and staff received training, as did 150 newly elected county assembly speakers and staff.

The devolution of power to the counties is a key aspect in Kenya’s goal of increasing citizen participation and service delivery throughout the nation.