Today, marked the beginning of the final week of Community Leaders Induction at Kirima Location, Nakuru North sub-county. Kirima Location being one of the locations we carried out the Global Goals for Local Impact scale up which built on our understanding that an organised community is a key ingredient in successful citizen engagement and participation.
Kirima Location is part of the larger Bahati division and is surrounded by Bahati, Mutukanio and Ndungiri Locations. It is divided into 2 sub-locations namely: Kirima sub-location which is administered by Assistant Chief Esther Milgo and Wanyororo sub-location, administered by Assistant Chief Joseph Macharia. They are both under the leadership of Chief Charles Wakahiu. Kirima Location is not a densely populated area, looking at the 2009 census statistics the area has 9,597 inhabitants and approximately 2000 households.
Wanyororo sub-location is a peri-urban area with most of its residents being smallholder business owners and subsistence farmers. While Kirima sub-location is a rural community with most of the inhabitants practising farming on both large and small scale. Growing cash crops like coffee on a large scale and maize, beans and peas on a small scale. Most of the housing structures in Wanyororo sub-location are permanent while Kirima is characterised by both semi-permanent and permanent housing structures built on farms.
We had a really good turnout of Community Leaders today. We had expected a total of 74 Community Leaders and 70 of them showed up for the induction accounting for 95% of what we expected. Out of the Community Leaders who were inducted 23% were women which is a significantly low number. This has been common in all most all the locations we have carried out the induction and in every occasion ACC 1 Monica Ithatwa has asked the reason for this and like the previous locations they all give the same response; that most women in the area are left home tending to the farm and other family duties. The presence of youth representation was also lacking and this has been the trend for all the locations that we have inducted.
Led by Assistant County Commissioner one Madam Monica Ithatwa the Community Leaders were taken through leadership and conflict session, Child Protection, Education and Adult Education sessions respectively.
Today’s group of Community Leaders was very engaging and interactive and the sessions were filled with light moments as the facilitators led the sessions. One of the lessons that really stood out for these cohort of Community Leaders was, it was their role as Community Leaders to lead their community members in making sound political decisions. As ACC 1 led this discussion they admitted that as a community they have failed in this area as in the past they have been electing leaders based on political party affiliation or based on how wealthy an individual was. As these leaders would bribe the community during the campaign period. They learnt that this was only to their detriment because it was the community that suffered at the end of the day. These is because they will never see development initiatives in their community, as the leaders they elected had selfish interest to benefit themselves and not the community.
The mentality most people have is that if they elected an ineffective leader they would wait for the next election period to elect a new leader. Madam Monica guided them to see that this was a wrong mentality since five years was long time and a lot would have happened. She let them know it was the reason why you see some communities are more developed than others. Therefore if they are to achieve development in their community electing leaders who had their interest at heart was very crucial and it is the duty to guide the community on this as well.
We are glad that the last week of the Community Leaders induction kicked off with positive energy from all the stakeholders taking part and intend to keep up with the same energy throughout the week. We are also happy to see the appreciation and the thirst for knowledge from these Community Leaders. This is the first time such an initiative has been taken to involve them as Community Leaders in Development and security matters by the government and they all say that it should have come sooner.