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Local champions: towards transparent, accountable governance in Embakasi, Kenya (PLA 64)

In Kenya, young citizens engage little with the state. This limits their voice, choice and consequently their fundamental human freedom. But this article is about a counter example. In November 2009, a governance programme was introduced by Plan Kenya. This article illustrates how the programme responded to governance and exclusion problems in Embakasi. Co-author Edwine Ochieng is a government official from the district office for gender and social development. Cynthia Ochola Anyango is a member of the Embakasi and Jipange youth organisations. Their experiences demonstrate how young people are engaging in social accountability activities around service provision and other governance issues.
They describe the processes used by young people to engage with the local administration, including social audits, policy forums and accountability boards – as well as the role of duty bearers in promoting participatory governance. It discusses challenges and lessons learnt while reflecting on how to promote good governance at grassroots level. Given willing allies within government, the participation of young people in decision-making processes can contribute to the transparency and accountability of institutions at grassroots level.

Participatory Learning and Action (PLA, formerly PLA Notes) is the world's leading series on participatory approaches and methods. PLA publishes articles on participation aimed at practitioners, researchers, academics and activists. All articles are peer-reviewed by an international editorial board. See: www.planotes.org

Keywords: Children, youth, young people, child rights, participatory governance.

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