Factors that Influence Citizen Participation in Devolved Funds in Uasin Gishu County, Kenya
The important role that devolved funds plays in Kenya’s development process is recognised. The overall image that emerges from the literature on devolved funds is on importance, absorptive capacities, and allocative rationale and governance issues surrounding the operations of the funds. However, conceptual awareness on the factors that influence citizen participation in devolved schemes is not known. The main objective of the study is to examine the factors that influence citizen participation in devolved funds in Uasin Gishu (UG) County, Kenya. Specifically, the study examined the socio-demographic characteristics, the social institutions, and the devolved funds design influence on citizen participation in the funds. It further sought to determine the proportion of households participating in the funds, draw lessons of experience on the funds, what does and does not work, where, why and under what conditions, and identify policy options and appropriate program designs to improve the funds. The study draws from institutional theory to analyse participation because institutions provide frames of meaning which guide human action. Building on the theory, the study developed a conceptual framework to describe concepts guiding the study. The framework explains graphically the main things studied and the presumed relationships among them. The study area is in Kenya, a country with devolved form of government. Fieldwork was located in UG County. Primary data was gathered through expert interviews with 32 funds officials and household survey with 530 respondents. Further data was obtained from secondary sources. Data from expert interviews was analysed using thematic analysis, survey data was analysed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), while data from secondary sources was analysed by documentary review. Results indicate that community participation in the funds occur in the identification of projects, allocation of funds, operation of programmes, access to benefits, as well as the monitoring and evaluation of programmes. Socio-demographic factors including gender, age, education and residence; and social institutions including educational, religious, family, financial and media influence citizen participation in devolved funds. The devolved schemes are not necessarily pro-poor as is the intension. Further research is needed to delineate which kind of design and implementation characteristics could increase participation in the devolved funds
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