SPARK (Strengthening Public Accountability for Results and Knowledge) is an ambitious and innovative global program to arm marginalized groups and activists with the tools necessary to engage in budget processes and affect transformational change in their lives.
Through SPARK, IBP Kenya is focused on supporting collective citizen action for improved service delivery – specifically health services in Busia county and water services in Baringo county – through accountable and democratic budget processes.
Our work in Kenya is set amid a context of devolution where constitutional reform has yet to be fully realized. As a result, there has been acute cash flow challenges that have left marginalized people in the counties with both poor services and an inequitable share of resources. Health and water services are among the key devolved functions that have been affected.
Local dispensaries are the primary contact with the health system for most poor and marginalized individuals, but they remain under-resourced and without the requisite infrastructure to function effectively. Multiple funding channels from the national government, county governments and development partners have complicated the flow of funds, further affecting service provision.
Accessing fuel subsidies
Although the provision for domestic water services falls within the purview of county governments, there are several aspects that remain the responsibility of the national government. Lack of coordination between the two levels of government has meant that water service has been disjointed, leaving county residents with little recourse to hold the government accountable.
Building on the work we have done since 2012, SPARK will seek to improve the ability of citizen groups to engage in advocacy at county and national levels using the budget as their central instrument. Through this work we hope to nurture greater transparency, accountability, participation and equity in how public finances are allocated, implemented and monitored. Our goal is improvements in the delivery of public services and empowered citizens who can continue to advocate for themselves.
This work includes:
- Supporting our partners through training and technical assistance to access information, understand budgetary reasons for poor service delivery and engage relevant budget and sector officials.
- Providing flexible grant resources to our partners to coordinate and maintain citizen groups.
- Supporting research, analysis and advocacy with key government actors on equitable resource distribution.
Water Allocations in Baringo County
Bargino County residents faces multiple challenges accessing clean water access for domestic consumption especially in the dry lowlands. Since 2008, our partner the Centre for Enhancing Democracy and Good Governance (CEDGG) has been working with minority ethnic groups and other citizens (under the Baringo Civil Society Forum umbrella) to advocate for improved provision of water services. Through sustained local efforts and technical support from IBP, CEDGG was able to influence budget priorities in the county’s 2017 – 2018 budget, including increased allocations for the water sector.
CEDGG facilitated broad-based participation in finalizing the County Fiscal Strategy Paper 2017 and budget estimates for the same year. Working with budget champions throughout the county, CEDGG conducted a door-to-door campaign for community participation, local pre-hearing meetings to discuss service delivery priorities, advocacy strategies and peer-to-peer budget analysis training. Because citizens were armed with the evidence from all these activities, government officials could not ignore the political pressure from citizens to improve service delivery. As a result, the network in Baringo has sustained growth in government allocations year-after-year for the water sector.
CEDGG has continued to ensure that budget champions educate and mobilize their fellow community members to advocate for better budget allocation and service delivery. Citizens have completed social audits across 10 wards, which they used to engage and influence the county government budgets for the water sector.
We work with organizations that have a deep presence in multiple communities, are interested in budget work and are open to support for their campaigns.
The Centre for Enhancing Democracy and Good Governance (CEDGG) in Baringo county supports and enables the Baringo Civil Society Forum (BACSOF) which unites more than 25 community and faith-based organisations. Our work with the CEDGG focuses on the water sector in a county full of subsistence farmers.
The Community Empowerment and Development Centre (CEDC) in Busia county supports a network of local residents to conduct community scorecards on primary healthcare facilities. Originally a local youth initiative to support livelihoods, CEDC has grown to be a key voice in the health budget space in Busia County.