Kenya: Launching Standards that Build Strong, Transparent, and Accountable Civil Society Organizations

Kenya: Launching Standards that Build Strong, Transparent, and Accountable Civil Society Organizations

 {Photo credit: Juliette Mutheu/MSH}Dr John Masasabi, Director of Policy, Planning and Health Care Financing, Kenya Ministry of Health, giving the keynote address at the launch.Photo credit: Juliette Mutheu/MSH

As a government we cannot work alone. However, it is important that those contributing to achieving the government’s vision of a healthy Kenya be guided by standards that encourage them to provide a certain level of quality that is acceptable and desirable.

These were the words of Dr. John Masasabi, the director of policy, planning and health care financing in Kenya’s Ministry of Health, as he launched the Institutional Strengthening Standards for Kenyan Civil Society Organisations, organized by the USAID-funded FANIKISHA Institutional Strengthening Project, led by MSH in partnership with Pact, Danya International, and the African Capacity Alliance.

The event took place at the AMREF Headquarters & International Training Center Grounds in Nairobi, Kenya on February 18, 2014.

[Dr. John Masasabi (left) and Dr. Daraus Bukenya (center) unveil an oversize copy of Institutional Strengthening Standards as USAID’s Tara Simpson looks on.] {Photo credit: Pius Masiga/MSH}Dr. John Masasabi (left) and Dr. Daraus Bukenya (center) unveil an oversize copy of Institutional Strengthening Standards as USAID’s Tara Simpson looks on.Photo credit: Pius Masiga/MSH

Work on the standards began in 2011, when FANIKISHA constituted a technical working group (TWG) as a first step toward the development, acceptance, adoption and roll out of evidence-informed standards for institutional strengthening tools, approaches, and indicators in Kenya.

The TWG consisted of 41 experts drawn from the FANIKISHA consortium partners including MSH, the government of Kenya, donors, academic organizations, local and international CSOs, industry technical experts, and professional bodies.

The TWG met with a variety of actors across sectors to gain a comprehensive understanding of the definition and application of standards, how to choose indicators, and how to share the standards in Kenya and beyond to help CSOs be effective, efficient, results oriented, and sustainable.

The February event marked a major step in the measurement of institutional capacity building for local CSOs to ensure that they are achieving their mandates and doing so collaboratively, with donors, other partners and CSOs, and in particular with government. In addition to Dr. Masasabi, who represented Kenya’s Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, others at the event included Dr. Hezron Mc’Obewa, Executive Director of the Kenya Non-Government Organisations Co-ordination Board; Ms. Tara Simpson, Deputy HIV/AIDS team leader at USAID/Kenya; and Dr. Daraus Bukenya, FANIKISHA Institutional Strengthening Project Chief of Party and MSH Kenya Country Representative; as well as dozens of representatives from Kenya’s civil society, development partners and others.

[Left to Right: Dr. Hezron Mc'Obewa, Dr. John Masasabi, Ms. Tara Simpson, Dr. Daraus Bukenya and Mr. Philip Waweru at the launch.] {Photo credit: Juliette Mutheu/MSH}Left to Right: Dr. Hezron Mc'Obewa, Dr. John Masasabi, Ms. Tara Simpson, Dr. Daraus Bukenya and Mr. Philip Waweru at the launch.Photo credit: Juliette Mutheu/MSH

For FANIKISHA, the next step will be to help ensure that all Kenyan CSOs become familiar with and make practical use of the standards document. Some Kenyan CSOs, like the National Organisation of Peer Educators (NOPE), are already ahead of the pack. According to NOPE Executive Director, Mr. Philip Waweru:

The institutional strengthening standards have aided NOPE in improving its governance, in particular, helping NOPE’s board transition from an advisory to an oversight role; strengthened the organisational systems through reviewing and improving of existing policies and strategies; strengthened the organisation’s capacity in resource mobilization and organisational planning and enhanced its capacity to sub-grant and cascade institutional strengthening to its affiliates.

Stakeholders hope that the standards and indicators will strengthen transparency, accountability and trust among CSOs, providers of institutional strengthening services, and those who partner with CSOs, including the government of Kenya and funding agencies.Ms. Simpson, from USAID/Kenya emphasized that:

It is our hope that the institutional strengthening standards become the gold standard by which capacity building across all sectors is measured. USAID will continue to partner with the Government of Kenya to institutionalize the standards and hold all local organizations to the highest level of accountability. Only then will the full potential of the Kenyan civil society be realized.

Juliette Mutheu is the MSH Communications Specialist for the FANIKISHA Institutional Strengthening Project, based in Nairobi.

 

 

Comments

Marina Joubert
I'm urgently trying to contact the author of this article - Juliette Mutheu - pls email Marina Joubert in SA marina[at]southernscience.co.za

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