The initiative provides technical support to stakeholders for the implementation of devolution at the county and national levels as well as the intergovernmental interface between these two levels of government to ensure that devolution is well established, and the devolved units are able to deliver services to their citizens in an efficient and effective manner with a particular focus on governance, environment, and gender.
Devolution began after the 2013 general elections with an immediate delegation of very wide ranging sectoral and service delivery mandates to 47 newly created counties. Challenges were twofold: first, a requisite enabling environment of institutional, policy, and legal structures and instruments needed to be created very rapidly at national and county level; second, a minimal standard of continual service delivery needed to be maintained (i.e. a devolution without disruption) to ensure citizen needs were met while at the same time developing county capacity to increase service delivery standards going forward.
The Kenyan experience with devolution has been so successful that other counties have visited to learn how this enormous structural change was accomplished in a short time period (e.g. Liberia, Nepal) as have scholars from the U.S., Norway, Japan and the U.K.
The project has utilized a successful model of peer-to-peer learning and strengthening national institutions to provide technical assistance and training to counties. The ability of the programme to engender peer learning on appropriate models relevant to the political economy and needs of counties will lead to greater sustainability and reduce reliance on external support.
This approach has ensured that technical assistance and training are replicable and sustainable. As best practices emerge within counties, these are shared between counties with several being picked up and implemented; for example, a citizen complaints, complements, and information centre was established in one country to improve both service delivery and accountability which inspired other counties to see this model and develop their own such centres in 2018, this follows four other counties who have developed their own such centres based on the UNDP pilot. Similar exchanges of best practices between counties have been utilized in M&E, Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), gender equity, and public participation.
UNDP has also been supporting county governments embrace change and institutionalize a performance culture using an intra-county and national-to-county support mode by developing a Performance Management System (PMS) to improve county public service. Pilot counties were identified (Laikipia, Taita Taveta, Makueni, Narok, Bungoma, Kericho, Baringo, Kilifi) and supported with PMS champions who are able to visit each other to promote intra-country south-south learning based on best PMS practices.
While intra-county learning is the dominant mode of of the project, some international experiences have also been utilized. The Council of Governors (CoG) participated in the open webinar by Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development (Nrg4SD) on localising SDGs through regional governments and shared this experience on localising SDGs with CoG’s member counties who subsequently mainstreamed SDGs in their five-year County Integrated Development Plans with five counties appointing county SDG Champions and committing to submit a voluntary report on progress at the HLPF 2019.
Provider Country: UNDP Kenya
Beneficiary Country: Kenya
Supported By: UNDP Kenya in partnership with UN Women
Implementing Agency: Primary IP: Ministry of Devolution and ASALS; Other IPs: Council of Governors, Commission on Revenue Allocation, Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council, Kenya School of Government, GoK MDAs mandated on environment and gender. Responsible Parties: 23 county governments
Project Status: On-going
Project Period: 2014 - 2019