The Government is currently implementing policies that are geared towards poverty reduction. Different instruments and policy documents are being used to achieve this goal.
They include the global Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper and the Vision 2030.
Besides, a devolved approach of distributing public funds is in place with the constituency as the unit of national transformation and development.
The Kenyatta administration tried the highly centralised system of planning and project implementation; and Moi the District Focus for Rural development through District Development Committees (DDCs).
The Kibaki regime may have the legacy of moving to the constituency as the focal point. Each of the 210 constituencies receives million of shillings annually as a result or Sh400 million in five years.
These funds are then managed under different committees that at times operate at cross-purposes, leading to difficulties in accounting and responsibility.
Besides, the Government has a national growth target (GDP/GNP). For economic benefits to trickle down to the rural communities, each constituency must contribute its ‘share of growth’ to the aggregate national output.
To what extent does the constituency contribute to agricultural and industrial output, trade, state of infrastructural development, ICT, water, electricity, creation of employment opportunities (formal/informal), education, health and sanitation, and environmental conservation?
How has the constituency interpreted MDGs, and/or implementing recommendations of the Economic Strategic Poverty Eradication Paper and/or more importantly, Vision 2030?
The rural communities need to ‘feel’ the high growth rates announced through Economic Surveys.
Effective strategic planning in the use of devolved funds including has emerged as a key issue for all constituencies and in all projects, if service delivery to rural communities is to be improved.
The object of formulating strategic plans is therefore to increase capacity and advocacy in the coordination and management of development at the constituency level.
The assumption however is, that MPs, who are recognised as chief executives of these funds, will steer the development in the direction of national agenda.
- An integrated strategic plan for each constituency should lead to:
- Harmonised constituency development efforts and resources;
- Proper identification of projects that address the needs of the people;
- Identification of activities, responsibilities and project time-frames;
- Creation of focus and leadership in mobilisation of resources for key sectors;
- Enhance transparency, predictability, accountability and integrity in use of funds;
- Ensure proper record keeping on project development, monitoring and evaluation;
- Improve project completion rate;
- Improve project gains and sustainability;
- Ensure compliance to the law, regulations and guidelines;
- Improve training and advocacy in development leadership; and
- Increase involvement of beneficiaries and stakeholders in project planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
For a constituency Strategic Plan to be relevant, cost effective and beneficial as a means to providing framework and direction on development efforts, it must be all-inclusive.
All sectors need to be planned for so that outcomes are measured and the impact of projects is made sustainable.
The treasury disburses funds on sector-by-sector basis which on implementation is done in a segmented way at the constituency level.
There is no need to plan for the funds differently in the same catchment area, the results is wasted development effort and danger of duplication of projects. There is also the danger of some sectors being starved of funds.
There must be one strategic plan that exploits all strategic thinking in the constituency to harmonise the entire development process.
This approach offers an opportunity for a constituency-based strategic planning that consolidates shared strategic thinking and vision.
The strategic plan forms the key reference document for future planning and allocation of funds. It will be the main document to be used in handing over after elections of civic leaders and MPs.
Mr Sunguti, is a management consultant with Euro Cap Consultants (K) Ltd