The main purpose of the Advocacy Programme is to spearhead ACK advocacy and governance activities by conducting nationwide capacity building for ADS Regions and dioceses to ensure that the whole church embraces advocacy as a basic component of social development. The programme also supports the office of the Archbishop and the Diocesan Bishops in their role in social transformation through facilitation and research support. At the international level, the programme works with networks that are concerned with Justice and Peace in International Trade, Gender equity among others.
Capacity building for advocacy and governance
The Advocacy Programme is a part and parcel of the mission of the Church carrying out training on Social Audit and creation of awareness on matters of national concern like Vision 2030 and Public Policy formulation processes with the aim of ensuring that the church remains engaged on these national issues. Key focus areas in 2010 and 2011 have been the constitution review, implementation and the wider governance reform agenda.
Workshops on Vision 2030 and Public Policy Processes were organized and held in ADS Regions targeting the dioceses and Regions’ staff. The training covers Vision 2030 overview and the three pillars (Economic, Social and Political) and what the church can contribute to its achievement through collaborating with policy implementers e.g. government officials in various line ministries.
DJPC members and ADS Regions’ staff trained have expressed that they are now able to explain what Vision 2030 is and how public policies are formulated in congregations, clergy chapters and community meetings that they attend. Some of them help in facilitating the regional advocacy forums. Nationally, the church has been recognized as a key player in national matters due to the involvement in the reform agenda and especially in the review of the constitution.
Youth and active participation in governance
Since 2008 – a 3-year partnership project supported by Diakonia Sweden was implemented to upscale the participation of ACK’s leadership in Socio-Economic Justice and Public Policy processes and also created awareness on Vision 2030. It focused on building capacity in the church for effective monitoring of decentralized funds (Social Audit) as well as participation in Public Policy processes which ultimately translates in the church becoming more confident in influencing good governance. Diakonia Sweden graciously provided further support to implement similar activities with the youth in every diocese to bring them up to speed on social audit as it was noted that they did not participate as expected in the 3-year programme.
After workshops were conducted, Diocesan Justice and Peace Committees (DJPCs) in several regions have seen the improvement in the management of decentralized funds in selected pilot constituencies e.g. Ikolomani, Kisumu Town East and Mwala among others. The monitoring activities and the resultant reports from the DJPCs demonstrate that the church can take an active and watchdog role in community life by ensuring accountability and transparency in the management of decentralized funds.
The Advocacy Programme organized and held 3 Symposia for Diocesan Justice and Peace Committees in July (this was done in clusters – Eastern, Western and Central) under the theme “Can the DJPCs be effective agents of change in the Society?” The members of the DJPCs who attended the meetings had sessions to understand the roles and responsibilities of DJPCs and why they were formed. There were also sessions for them to share stories of success in their dioceses i.e. different cases in which DJPC members have conducted advocacy and the results they have achieved. These stories served to inspire, educate and re-energize those who attended. They also planned the way forward for their respective DJPCs in areas of recruitment (gender and age balance) and outreach (how they shall replicate the committees up to the congregation level). A database of all the DJPC members who attended was also compiled.
Regional Youth Forums in Pwani, Nakuru, Eldoret, Mt. Kenya East and Mt. Kenya Regions on Social Audit were held. This was to bridge the gap of youth involvement in Diocesan advocacy work and also to create an open space for Youth to discuss and learn from one another. The additional topics covered are Kazi kwa Vijana, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports programmes, the Youth Enterprise Development Fund, Leadership, the National Youth Council. This is in addition to the areas covered with DJPCs in the 3-year programme on Decentralised Funds. All the Youth Forums have been facilitated by DJPC members who were trained in the 3-year programme.
Youth in the dioceses acquired a lot of knowledge and information on linkages that were previously unknown to them especially on Programmes of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. Some are organising forums to share what they learnt with their fellow youth e.g. Taita Taveta Diocese
In collaboration with the Missions Department, the advocacy programme designed a comprehensive Youth Strategy to engage the youth for economic empowerment and governance. This included participation in the annual KAYO conference.
Call for unity
A meeting was also organised for the Bishops, Synod Officials, HoDs, Institution Heads and ADS Regions’ Directors on the State of the Nation on 8th July 2011. A press statement was also issued after this meeting. The press statement was a call for Kenyans to unite and reject divisions that were being created by the differing opinions around the proposed constitution particularly as campaigns were going on before the national referendum.
The church partnered with the Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs, Department of National Cohesion and Integration. The aim is to go through the church as a way of promoting national integration and cohesion. The department was invited to facilitate a session during the annual KAYO conference on “The role of Youth in National Integration and Cohesion.”
With the support of Tear Fund, a project on Peace Building spearheaded by the Mothers’ Union was implemented. The project sought to inculcate peace and reconciliation in the Post Election violence hotspots through training workshops for church leaders including Bishops and their spouses, MU, KAMA and Children’s’ Ministry. The programme further engaged the youth on psychosocial activities such as sporting tournaments with the aim of promoting inter-ethnic engagement and creating forums for addressing peaceful co-existent.
Organisation Capacity Assessment
This exercise was conducted by the Poverty Eradication Network for ADS-KENYA as a partner of Diakonia Sweden to assess the organisation against the newly launched CSO standards – Viwango. These are universal standards for CSO in Kenya to ensure that they attain set standards in Programme Delivery, Organisation Development and Financial Management. ADS-Kenya is among the very first organisations to go through this assessment in Kenya. This assessment was also carried out to assess ADS-Kenya’s strategic fit in relation to the Diakonia Strategy for 2011-2014 in preparation for a new funding cycle.
Case studies: Taking Action
Aggrey Kuboka, a DJPC member from Maseno North Diocese was appointed a committee member for CDF in one of the constituencies and has sensitized the communities on how they can come together and write proposals and present them at the locational development forums. He took this personal initiative to show the communities that the CDF is indeed within their reach and with a little technical assistance on proposal writing; they can influence the type of projects that their CDF funds for their benefit as communities. Rev. Ignatius Sheri from the Eldoret Diocesan Justice and Peace Committee has gone ahead to train the chiefs and sub-chiefs of his location on Vision 2030 after consultation with the area DO. This was as a result of the knowledge he gained from the workshop. From Nairobi Diocese, Rev. David Mutua a DJPC member has embarked on research for his Masters Degree Thesis on The ACK in Peace Building and Conflict Resolution. This was triggered by the training on DJPCs and particularly on the role of the church and the DJPCs in advocacy.
Approximately 30 youth in the ACK from various dioceses have vied or are vying for various posts in the National Youth Council.
Addressing Existing Gaps
DJPCs in some of the dioceses are not active and therefore there is a need for them to be supported and encouraged by their dioceses. Further, there is often a lack of continuity when new DJPCs are put in place after an election in the diocesan synods which slows down the work as new members take over. Dioceses should recognize DJPCs through allocating them resources for their activities and receiving reports from them during diocesan synods. The dioceses can do more in making use of those they send for training as facilitators as this will ensure that the learning is shared in the diocese.