Articles

Working Paper 50 - Community's Voice/Presence in Governance of Food Security Related Initiatives: The Case of Kirinyaga West and Mbeere South Districts in Central Kenya

Abstract

Efforts to increase responsiveness, effectiveness and efficiency of food security related projects that are geared towards mitigating food insecurity and poverty reduction, include decentralized to the local levels (district level and below), functions in steering and implementation of the programs/projects. In Kenya, as in other countries in the region, this has been achieved through the establishment of organs through which various functions are effected and, by involvement of

various stakeholders, including the farmers. To ensure that initiatives are/remain relevant to the needs of local communities particularly the poor and vulnerable, it is important to continually review the governance mechanisms that are in place at these local levels. It is against this backdrop that studies to establish the local level structures that are instituted to steer or manage the implementation of various food security-related initiatives, their composition and the existing

linkages both upstream and downstream were undertaken. In addition, the perception of local stakeholders on dimensions of governance that are relevant to making agri-food systems work for the poor and vulnerable namely, the satisfaction, participation and their influence were elicited from farmers and other stakeholders. Results show that the structures in place limit farmers’ involvement in decision making, in resource allocation and in ensuring programs and projects remain accountable. In addition, the level of funding towards facilitation of these decentralized structures appear to be curtailing the convening of key organs/committees and the wider farmer representation. Farmers on the other hand seem to have minimal understanding of the projects in which they participate in although there was an above average perception on satisfaction with benefits derived from the projects. There was little knowledge on existing civil society groups, their agenda/mandate and influence on the various organs/committees.

Key words: farmer empowerment, perception-based, participation, influence, satisfaction, Kenya

 

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