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New bill to force counties to fund civic education

Monday, May 20th, 2024 05:09 | By
Nominated Senator Esther Okenyuri during a past house committee meeting in Nairobi. PHOTO/Print
Nominated Senator Esther Okenyuri during a past house committee meeting in Nairobi. PHOTO/Print

County governments shall be forced to allocate resources from their annual budgets towards funding of civic education activities in the county, if a new bill is enacted.

This even as the Bill proposes that public officials at national and county levels shall undergo mandatory civic education and training on their roles, responsibilities, and obligations as public servants.

The County Civic Education Bill, 2024 sponsored by Nominated Senator Esther Okenyuri seeks to establish a legal framework for the promotion of civic education in Kenya as an essential tool for building responsible citizenship, civic engagement, and democratic values among the citizens.

“The National Government may issue conditional grants to county governments to build the capacity of county government entities and fund civic education activities in counties,” the bill reads in part.

Okenyuri proposes that every county government shall establish county civic education programmes and that the county executive committee member shall establish online and other innovative platforms setting out information on existing civic education programmes and to prescribe a criterion for the evaluation of entities, programmes and structures set up for the purposes of implementing the Act.

Understand rights

She further argues that should the bill be enacted, it will enable citizens to understand their rights and responsibilities, participate actively in the governance of their country and contribute to the development of their communities.

In her bill tabled at the Senate, Okenyuri proposes that the county executive committee member shall designate a unit to be known as the county civic education unit.

The functions of the unit shall be to develop a comprehensive civic education plan for the county, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders and to oversee the implementation of civic education programmes and initiatives within the county.

The unit will also coordinate with public and private institutions the execution of county civic education programmes, engage in resource mobilization efforts to secure funding, partnerships and other resources to support the implementation of civic education programmes in the county and to monitor and evaluate the progress and impact of civic education programmes in the county.

Regular reports

In addition, the unit will be responsible for the provision of regular reports to the county executive committee member and the county assembly.

“The function of unit will be to collaborate with relevant county government departments, agencies, and other stakeholders involved in civic education activities to ensure a coherent and integrated approach to civic education in the county,” reads part of the bill.

Should the bill be enacted, there shall be a unit responsible for the registration of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and other non-state actors providing civic education in the county as civic education providers under this Act.

“An entity that is eligible for registration as a civic education provider shall submit an application for registration in the prescribed form and may pay the prescribed fees. The unit may require the applicant to submit such further particulars as the unit may from time to time determine,” reads part of the bill.

The unit proposes that the unit shall within 60 days upon receipt of an application shall consider the application together with the required documents, conduct due diligence on the applicant and if necessary, call for such further information or carry out such inspections as the unit may consider necessary for the determination of the application.

However, the unit may reject an application for the admission of an entity where the entity has submitted false or misleading information in its application or the application does not comply with the provisions of the act.

In her bill, Okenyuri proposes that the unit shall de-register a civic education programme whose parent entity has ceased operations, shall, before de-registering a civic education programme, issue to the entity a compliance notice in the prescribed form.

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