Joint Monitoring Mission for Consolidated Gains and Deepening Devolution in Kenya Project (UN Joint Devolution Programme — JDP) in Tana River County & Garissa County.
A Joint Review Mission for the Joint Devolution Programme implemented by UNDP, UN Women and UNICEF with support from the Governments of Finland, Sweden and Italy was undertaken from 15–19 May 2023 in Tana River and Garissa counties. The mission team comprised of UNDP, UNICEF, UN Women, Embassies of Finland, Sweden and Italy, State Department for Devolution, Kenya School of Government, National Youth Council, International Budget Partnerships, State Department for Planning, Council of Governors and County Governments of Tana River and Garissa with the mission providing a platform for project beneficiaries and stakeholders including CSOs and citizens to share information, progress updates and success stories emerging from the project.
The joint mission was also an opportunity for the mission team to identify gaps and lessons in the devolution landscape which would inform the next phase of JDP.
In appreciation of the progress made, the mission recognized the catalytic role of the project in building systems and structures to support devolution. For example: Disaster reduction and management (DRM) started with policy formulation followed by capacity strengthening and implementation, formation of DRM committees and increased budget allocation for DRM; Formulation of social sector and gender policies and sensitization of the same led to increased budget allocation for these sectors; supporting the establishment of public participation policies and structures has enhanced the citizen voices (social accountability) as demonstrated by the public participation models by IBP, FIDA, SUPKEM and Action Aid. All these models can be replicated and adopted in the devolution landscape.
The programme has influenced the formulation and implementation of the most important county policy documents and frameworks: CIDP, ADP and budgets. In addition to delivering systems to support devolution, JDP also delivered direct benefits to county residents. For example, in Tana River County, the Youth Centre has enhanced youth voices and economic empowerment and the anti-FGM interventions are a monumental milestone for women. The programme work also has created platforms for other programmes and partners, for instance, the social protection policy work led to the establishment of the Garissa Child Protection Unit, which is a safe place for children awaiting determination of court cases especially on child trafficking and connecting the children with their families.
The mission also noted areas for improvement in the next phase of JDP that included: Need to emphasize in-county presence of the UN agencies and how they are linking with other implementing partners at the county, sub-county and ward levels; Deliberate effort to enhance support for strengthening county assemblies; Enhance communication and jointness of the UN agencies to enhance visibility of both the UN and the donors; and strengthen inter- and intra-governmental collaboration.
Focusing on the immediate future, design of the next phase of the JDP is underway and the key pillars are: budgeting, policy, planning; accountability and oversight; and intergovernmental relations all of which will respond to some of the emerging lessons from the mission.
UNDP, UN Women and UNICEF are implementing the Joint Devolution Programme (JDP) with support from the Governments of Finland, Sweden and Italy.
JDP is being implemented in 14 counties and aims to support devolution by strengthening: policy and legal framework; Public finance management systems and processes; capacity for planning, budgeting, monitoring, and evaluation; and Citizens’ capacity to engage and deepen accountability and transparency. The UN agencies work with national and county governments and non-state actors.