Ministry appeals to UK over funds

Wednesday March 17 2010

The UK said it would consider channelling funds for supporting education programmes through other means, including NGOs. Photo/FILE

The UK said it would consider channelling funds for supporting education programmes through other means, including NGOs. Photo/FILE 

By SAMUEL SIRINGI

The Education Ministry on Wednesday reached out to British donors a day after the UK said it would no longer fund programmes through the government.

Acting permanent secretary Magdalene Wambua said the UK could count on the government’s determination to stamp out corruption.

She spoke a day after the UK said it would consider channelling its funds for supporting education programmes through other means, including NGOs. “We would love to have them (Britain) back,” Ms Wambua, a long-time foreign affairs expert, said.

“We are reviewing the impact of the UK’s decision but we assure the public that all education programmes will run uninterrupted.”

She spoke as officials at the UK High Commission in Nairobi and its funding agency, Department for International Development, said they were not walking out on the government and that they would return if their concerns were addressed.

The government’s statement came as secondary school headteachers appealed to the UK to drop its proposal to channel the Sh2.3 billion through NGOs.

Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association chairman Cleophas Tirop said there could be more loopholes if the funds go through civil society. He said the government was more open than NGOs since its structures could easily be tracked.

“We do not even know if there are civil society organisations targeting the whole country. Many of them are good at covering their (corruption) tracks,” he said.

Mr Tirop said there was no need to abandon government structures that helped channel the funds directly to schools. “All we need to do is to strengthen the procedures of accountability,” he said.

Ms Wambua said the methods used to channel funds to schools were transparent. The missing Sh103 million, she said, had been lost through individual staff who took up imprests allegedly to conduct seminars.

“We never touch the money meant for individual pupils as we send it directly to school accounts,” she said.

Dr Moses Ikiara, the executive director of the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Analysis and Research, asked the UK to scrutinise its proposed measures to ensure that it does not make a wrong move by shifting the funding.