Citizen emancipation through devolved funds in rural Kenya

17 Marzo 2018
Paper

How does devolved funding influence citizen emancipation in rural Kenya?

This paper examines citizen emancipation in the devolved resources in rural Kenya, against a background of increased decentralization of governance and resources, as a response to the increased inequality and the disparities in the development status between different regions in the country. Inequality in Kenya is high, especially in rural areas. To tackle inequality and poverty, the government of Kenya implemented decentralized anti-poverty programmes designed to distribute assets, cash or services to households, individuals and communities through line ministries.

Channeling funds through ministries was not that effective and there were many leakages to the extent that many poor communities were marginalized instead. Against this background, the government decided to allocate resources directly to districts and communities without going through line ministries. While the important role that devolved resources play in the country’s development process is now widely recognised, conceptual awareness on rural citizenry emancipation in the devolved resources is still scarce.

The main objective of this study is to examine citizen emancipation in devolved funds in rural Kenya. The specific objectives are: to identify the socio-demographic characteristics that influence citizen emancipation in devolved funds; to establish the influence of social institutions on citizen emancipation in devolved funds; to draw on the lessons of experience on the devolved funds and on the evidence of what does and does not work, where and why and under what conditions?

The study aims to improve our understanding on citizen emancipation in devolved funds and support policy-makers in designing better future policy. The expected outcomes of the study indicate that there are specific factors favouring and limiting citizen emancipation in devolved funds; that a substantial unmet need persist among potential beneficiaries; and that more than physical reach is required in making emancipation in devolved funds broadly accessible to citizens. Recommendations for policy and further study are made from the conclusions emanating from the study.

This paper was presented at the Emancipatory Rural Politics Initiative (ERPI) 2018 Conference: "Authoritarian Populism and the Rural World"