Community led Dialogue: Building Capacities of Community Owned Approaches
MIDRIFT HURINET in Partnership with Danish Institute Against Torture (DIGNITY) is implementing Intersectoral Urban Prevention and Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Services in Baringo and Nakuru Counties.
The project objective is enhanced intersectoral urban violence prevention mechanisms and strengthened access to community based mental health and psychosocial support in Kenya.
Under the component of intersectoral violence prevention, MIDRIFT prioritizes building capacities for state and non-state actors by developing leaders and facilitators to influence their sectors and places towards mindset change to address normalization of violence, creation of violence prevention mechanisms, and promotion of dialogue between duty bearers and communities towards community-led and community -owned approaches in promoting safety and security.
MIDRIFT HURINET held two forums in November 2023, one in Njoro Sub County and the other one in Mai Mahiu in Naivasha Sub County.
In Njoro Subcounty, the communities are grappling with the menace of illicit brews, insecurity, and trust deficit between state and non-state actors.
The community in Industrial area, Njoro is plagued by alcohol abuse that has led to child neglect which has contributed to a high rate of illiteracy, hopelessness among young people and early marriages. Most households rely on illicit alcohol trade to earn a living.
This has made it difficult for the Community to cooperate with the local administration to eradicate the brewing and selling of the illicit liquor.
Every family in the area has a painful story, One old Mzee narrated how he lost all his sons to alcoholism and one to suicide. He was left to take care of his grandchildren and he is working hard to give parental guidance to prevent them from the vice. He says “ulevi umekua jambo la kawaida na kila mtu hana shida nalo hadi janga limpate” loosely translated to “Alcoholism has been normalized and no one has a problem with it until they are negatively affected”
Local administration has tried to eradicate the menace using hard and soft approach. Area Assistant Chief Samuel Karanja says Community led dialogue using participatory approach might be the catalyst to bringing all stakeholders together to come up with solutions and collective actions in ending illicit brew trade (alcoholism) as a root cause to insecurity and Gender Based Violence.
A representative from the County Government informed them about the available Mental and Psychosocial support in Njoro and the role of the Community Health Promoters, she also highlighted Youth Friendly centers within health facilities in Njoro Sub County that can benefit young people.
The community members made commitments for collective action to follow up with the leaders and area Assistant Chief on the following;
- Enhance surveillance in the area and use Nyumba Kumi initiative as an entry point
- Encourage positive value system is inculcated in children and Youth through intensified parental education in different community forums
- Committed to liaise with the office of assistant chief in order to benefit from financial literacy initiatives spearheaded by various agencies such as National Government Affirmative Action Fund and Uwezo Fund which will ensure households do not solely rely on selling of illicit liquor for survival
- Capacity build, create awareness and link the youth with available opportunities and resources in Njoro Sub County
In Mai Mahiu Naivasha Sub County, MIDRIFT HURINET targeted Persons with Disability (PWD) and persons living with disability to discuss how insecurity affects them and understand challenges facing them regarding access to information and services.
Lack of information on available empowerment initiatives targeting PWD and a disconnect with focal persons representing them and their welfare in the County characterized the discussions.
They have different registered groups, one of which has benefited from the National Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF) under the patronage of County Women MP.
However, the rest lacked knowledge on where to start and which office to go to for them to benefit from the available devolved funds.
MIDRIFT enlightened them on the different funds available and AGPO that they can take advantage of to earn a living and to stop relying on relief food and donations.
It was noted that most of the PWD had not accepted their situations and are mostly affected by mental health issues.
Midrift created awareness on MHPSS and where they can get help. They were also sensitized on the need to attend Public Barazas and Public participation forums in order to have their interests considered through community led development agenda and the budgeting process.
Midrift Committed to capacity build them on Proposal writing, County Budget Process, Advocacy and Financial literacy.
In the subsequent community led forum, Midrift will be accompanied by State and non-state actors with an aim to build relationship and enhance service delivery to PWD.
They agreed on the following resolutions;
- Liaise with the Local administration from the County and National government for easier facilitation on financial literacy programmes and benefit from the available County Government fund targeting PWDs which is at least Ksh 25M in a financial year
- Create forums to urge parents to ensure their Children get assessed in Government hospitals and nature of the Disability clearly indicated in the report which will facilitate issuance of the Disability card from the National Council for Persons with Disability NCPWD) and other initiatives through the Association of Physically Disable of Kenya (APDK).
- Work together as a sector and avoid working in silos as a way of building sector solidarity and capacity to advocate for their welfare
As an organization, MIDRIFT HURINET will continue empowering communities to be change agents and champions in advancing their interests, holding leaders accountable and having practical solutions to addressing systemic challenges.
written by Karani