Merti Integrated Development Programme (MIDP) was formed when Action Aid Kenya (AAK) the only active NGO in Merti phased out in the year 2000. It got registered as an umbrella CBO with the ministry of culture and social services. Its mandate was to coordinate self-improvement actions by various community-based groups in Merti initially supported by AAK. It inherited assets of AAK Merti Development area including land, buildings and office equipment and two years funding for skeleton staff and office operation. As part of its growth plan MIDP was registered as a national NGO in 2003 with NGO coordination bureau with a mandate to operate in Merti and Garbatulla districts.
Transformation from a CBO to a local NGO enabled MIDP to earn more recognition, expand its scope geographically and programmatically and opportunity to attract funding from diverse donors. As part of growth-related challenges, MIDP experienced its first major threat when some of its board members and staff supported by political leaders attempted to close it down in 2004. Its independence and potential to raise development funds for poverty reduction was seen as a threat by political leaders. It survived the early scare due to a favorable court ruling and has since maintained its independence and impartiality and entered into partnership with various funding agencies. The International Institute of rural reconstruction (IIRR) was the first international NGO to enter into partnership with MIDP in 2005 to implement pastoralist education programme using mobile school model. Cordaid came on board to support drought emergency interventions the same year. The Cordaid partnership has since grown into long term multi-year funding with institutional strengthening components.
With support from Cordaid, MIDP undertook organizational self assessment and used the outcome to guide its growth as a development and humanitarian agency. It developed its first strategic plan in 2008 covering the period 2008-2012. Under its first strategic plan MIDP implemented programmes in the following sectors; Water and sanitation, livelihood support and diversification, lobby and advocacy and institutional strengthening. Gender, HIV and AIDS, environment and conflict management were identified as cross cutting themes in all programmes.
The organization registered tremendous achievements during the 2008-2012 period. On institutional development front it was able to attract and retain competent local professionals to run its programmes, purchased a 4WD land cruiser, several motor cycles, recruited community based facilitators, revised its constitution and developed operational manuals and policies in human resource, financial management and girl child policies. It was able to implement projects under water and sanitation, livelihood support and diversification, lobby and advocacy and education. Major achievements during the period are construction of an office and store for rangeland users association, launching of Iresaboru water projects and opening of merti maarifa centre, registration of three mobile schools with ministry of education and expansion of MoV girls’ sponsorships to cover university and tertiary education. In the same period MIDP received funding from UNOCHA for 2011 drought emergency and early recovery in 2013, DRR and resilience funding from Cordaid under partners for resilience (PfR) and linked community groups in Sericho and Merti to climate change funding through Resource advocacy programme (RAP).
During 2008-2013 periods, which coincided with constitutional and electoral boundaries review processes MIDP mobilized the communities to present their views to various commissions. It also invested in developing capacity of local CBO leaders on lobby and advocacy and this translated into various community led campaigns key among which are demonstration against highway banditry in 2011/12, protection of chari rangeland and the climate change camel caravan of 2013. The recent award of uraia funding to MIDP is clear indicator of its track record in advocacy work in Isiolo County.
Since formation MIDP has encountered the following key challenges ; high demand for services from target communities, vastness of the operation areas and poor transport and communication network, limited technical capacity of board members which affects fundraising and oversight roles and political interference. The same challenges are anticipated in the coming years and hence need to use past lessons to deal with them.
Key lessons MIDP has learnt in the process of implementing development programmes over the last decade are;
- That politics and clanism (negative or positive) is a reality that can’t be ignored as it has the potential to make or break the organization. MID-P will pay keen attention to both issues at the organizational, local, regional and the national levels.
- In order to ensure positive progress, there is a need to ensure consultation, inclusion, and participation of all key stakeholders and community members in all phases of the project. This will promote ownership and sustainability of development initiatives.
- The capacity of the organization should be strengthened in a holistic manner to facilitate and effectively manage growth. It should invest in staff development, appropriate equipment, technology and fundraising and financial management
- Sustainable community development in an area as prone to disasters as where MID-P works requires adoption of an approach that integrates emergency interventions (relief) with structural development.
- That MID-P must collaborate with and link with other development actors especially government department to create programme synergy and mutual learning
MID-P envisions an empowered, just, equitable and resilient society in northern Kenyan
- MIDP exists to facilitate and coordinate development initiatives through policy influencing and resource mobilization that promote good governance.
- Integrity and professionalism
- Accountability and transparency
The review of MIDP history and progress it has made during the last planning period generated useful lessons that the organization will apply in the coming years. However, to ensure the programmes for the coming period responds to needs of target communities and are aligned with comparative programming advantage of MIDP, it is prudent to analyze both internal and external working context of the organization. The analysis was done at two levels; the consultant conducted thorough review of legal regimes regulating development in counties and national (V2030) and county integrated development plans before the workshop. During the three days, strategic planning workshop participants were divided into groups to conduct analysis of MIDP external environment using PESTEL tool. Through the use of this tool the main opportunities and threat under each of the five areas of analysis were identified at three levels global, national and local/county.
Summary of analysis of MIDP external environment
||· Right wing government in donor nations affect funding for CSOs
· Humanitarian crisis triggered by political conflicts and natural disasters affect funding for development
· Global war on terror and travel advisories affects income from tourism.
· Economic recess/ declining economic growth affecting western government and individual philanthropy
|National||· Constitution with progressive bill of rights(social, culture, economic and environmental rights)
· ASAL policy provide framework for economic investment
· Youth and women friendly government procurement policies
· Funds for youth and women( YEDF, WEDF, Uwezo)
|· Negative ethnicity affecting social cohesion
· Proposed amendments to PBO bill
· National foreign policy; pro-east tendencies affecting relationship with donor nations in the west
· Climate change and degradation of natural resources
· V2030 development projects with potential to cause displacement /conflict
|County||· Devolved political power and decision making closer to communities
· Devolved funds for development
· County assemblies legislate on local issues
· County structures upto ward level for development coordination
|· Negative ethnicity and clanism affect unity and cohesion in target communities
· Risk of political hostility towards CSOs with governance programmes
· Climate change and resource based conflict
· Drug abuse and unemployment among youth
· Harmful cultural practices hampering girl child education
Analysis of MIDP strengths and weakness
The analysis of external environment revealed opportunities which MIDP could harness as well as threat which it should neutralize through its programme for the 2014-2018 planning period. To be able to achieve this MIDP needs to build on its internal strengths and address it weaknesses. The strengths and weaknesses of MIDP are summarized in the table below;
|· Legally registered and in good books with NGO coordination board
· own well equipped offices located strategically
· Have assets( land, vehicle, motor cycles)
· Qualified, experienced , committed local staff
· Established accountability systems( HR & finance manuals for internal controls)
· Good image among stakeholders including government agencies
· Credibility and legitimacy based on good track record on programme implementation
· Good understanding of people, culture and development issues
· Learning and reflective organizational culture
|· Laxity in enforcement of existing policies
· Limited technical capacity among board members( fundraising, oversight)
· Poor working environment/staff benefits
· Reliance of external funding
The following strategic issues which will inform MIDP programme focus are identified
- Fluid political environment at local, national and global levels which will affect funding and smooth operation of civil society organizations. MIDP is required continuously monitor political environment and adjust to emerging challenges and needs.
- Limited experience of new county structures in development planning and local legislation which may delay realization of benefits of devolution by vulnerable groups. MIDP should work with county government and enable it benefit from its development experiences
- Inability of youth and women in northern Kenya to take advantage of the economic opportunities like government tenders, devolved funds like Uwezo and Youth fund to generate wealth and self employment. MIDP should work with youth and women groups in its operation to equip them with information and skills to benefit from government funding programmes
- Limited involvement of county governments and communities in national flagship projects earmarked for ASAL areas (e.g. Resort city, mega dam, LAPPSET) affecting future land use patterns, bio diversity, social cohesion and cultural heritage. MIDP will conduct research on impact of these projects on its target group or disseminate findings of research done by other to support community driven advocacy
- Harmful cultural practices which impede effective participation of girls in Education and drug abuse which undermines self reliance among youth. MIDP should work with government, religious and traditional leaders to eradicate the harmful practices
- Degradation of natural resources due to climate change and resource based conflict. MIDP should work with government and traditional authorities to promote sustainable nature resource use and inter community protocol to share resources and resolve conflicts
- Abundant and largely unexploited natural resource potential in northern Kenya. MIDP should partner with government, research institutions and private sectors to promote sustainable exploitation of natural products by community groups as livelihood diversification measure
The above strategic issues require attention of all development agencies as they impede attainment of sustainable development in northern Kenya where MIDP operates. MIDP development programmes for the coming 5 years will therefore take note of these issues so as to identify and implement interventions that will address them as highlighted in the next section.
In pursuit of its vision and mission, MIDP will partner with its funding partners, the county governments in northern Kenya and non state actors to implement the following programmes in the coming five years (2014-2018)
Goal: Promote access to quality inclusive education by all children
- Basic education ( primary school governance; Capacity building of School management Committee, Parents Teachers Associations )
- Special education( mapping of children with special needs, sensitization of parents, lobby for special unit in local school, setting up of special school in each sub county, expansion of existing special schools)
- Girl child education( sponsorship programme)
- Campaign against drug abuse and harmful cultural practices
Sustainable natural resource management
Goal: promote sustainable management of natural resources through community institutions
- Capacity building of NRM institutions on development and sustainable management of key natural resources e.g. grazing land, water sources etc
- Ecosystem restoration and management (mapping of critical resources and threats to biodiversity, support community based conservation measures)
- NRM research, documentation and advocacy( desktop and field based research on NRM practices, identification of unsustainable NRM uses, impact of mega development projects on NRM and recommendations to community institutions and county authorities)
Goal: Promote good governance at local level through improved civic awareness among target groups
- Civic education; social, economic , cultural and environmental rights, inclusive development
- Policy lobbying and advocacy to proactively influence County policy formulation process
- Budget tracking targeting all devolved funds
- Peace building and social cohesion(cultural exchanges, sports, walk for common course, )
Goal: Improve income for vulnerable households through livelihood diversification and pro-poor value chain promotion
- Youth and women enterprise promotion ( skills development , access to financial services and market )
- Climate smart agriculture
- Value chain promotion to enable producers earn more income ( livestock and livestock products & non livestock dry lands products)
Goal: enhance capacity of MIDP to be a leading development agency in northern counties
To be able to implement the programmes in the four thematic areas, MIDP will seek support of its funding partners to invest in the following institutional development activities
- Reconstitution of boards to reflect disciplinary, gender and regional balance
- Formulate staff development policy( promote continuous learning, work related short courses, tailored made trainings)
- Open liaison office in Isiolo town
- Build capacity of secretariat in programme development, fundraising, research, documentation, networking, lobbying and advocacy
- Re-branding through change of name to reflect current and future geographical scope of operation
Cross cutting themes
The following will be integrated in all programmes as cross cutting themes
- HIV and AIDS
- Disaster risk reduction, ecosystem management & restoration and climate change adaptation
Programme implementation strategies
MIDP is aware of its limitation as non state actor and hence while the needs of communities in its operation areas are enormous, most of the problems require policy solutions by government at both county and national levels. So it will adopt right based approach to development where its small projects will address basic needs to improve living conditions of its target groups but at the same time empower them with skills and knowledge to demand for services from their government.
In programme development MIDP will adopt and promote philosophy of community managed/driven development where communities through their institutions play central role in identifying needs/risk, designing interventions, implementing, monitor and learn from them.
Nurture culture of partnership with county government and other non state actors to enhance programme synergy and sustainability.
Political, Economic, Socio-cultural, Technological, Ecological and Legal conditions