USAID/OTI Kenya Quarterly Report April - June 2009


Program Description

The USAID Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) Kenya program started in June 2008 to help contribute to a stable Kenya by addressing some of the effects and causes of the violence that followed the 2007 election. The program targets the strengthening of national identity over ethnic identity. In pursuit of this goal, the program assists state and non-state actors to enable broad-based recovery from the 2007-08 election-related violence and take prompt steps to address the underlying causes of instability. The OTI program is implemented by Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI), which conducts small-grants activities, and the State University of New York (SUNY), which supports the work of the Kenyan Parliament.


Civic Education - Grants this quarter focused on building grassroots level awareness on accountability and responsibility issues within government. The most visible activity revolved around the book It's Our Turn to Eat, which details Kenya's endemic corruption. OTI helped to initiate distribution of the book to civil society and media groups and it is hoped that public interest in the book will increase pressure on the political leadership to undertake the necessary comprehensive reforms called for in the National Peace Accord. Also this quarter, OTI continued its support to parliamentary live broadcast activities by awarding a grant to the Center for Community Dialogue and Development to facilitate discussions around issues emerging from the parliamentary debates.

Community Structures for Accountability - One of OTI's primary goals is to address potential political instability factors. OTI seeks to motivate political elites to support the creation or reinforcement of community-level structures that allow the Kenyan people to more effectively put pressure on their leadership. Building on the success of the Nakuru District Peace Committees, OTI is supporting the Rift Valley Commissioner to establish a Provincial Peace Forum. The creation of this body was proposed in the Kenya draft policy on Peace Building and Conflict Management to serve as the principal peace structure at the provincial level.

Youth Empowerment - To prevent young people from resorting to violence and to harness their energy for positive change, OTI focuses on youth empowerment. One set of grants aims to provide youth with better economic opportunities through skills training or improved access to financing. Building on the success of dialogues previously undertaken by the New Hope Women's group in the Langas slum, another grant engaged youth from the area in a clean-up activity and helped them receive municipal approval to collect and dispose of garbage.