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Open Society Foundations;
This is a special edition of Amplifying Voices that includes highlights of the Open Society Initiative for East Africa's work from 2005 to 2015. Amplifying Voices documents different journeys the foundation has traveled with its partners since its launch in 2005 and the collective efforts to realize human rights and freedoms for all.
Amplifying Voices pays particular attention to those on the margins of society, including stories of working on the forced sterilization of HIV-positive women or those with mental health illnesses, promoting the rights of sex workers, or addressing the question of human rights and counterterrorism.
The Open Society Initiative for East Africa started as a one-program initiative in 2005 in Kenya and today has grown to include eight programs in the region. Geographically, the foundation now works in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, and Sudan. It addresses issues including health and rights, disability rights, and food security.
Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.;
There is growing recognition that youth need more than formal or vocational education to thrive in school, work, and life. They also need life skills - a set of cognitive, personal, and interpersonal strengths that position them for success in their lives and livelihoods. To leverage the growing momentum and give youth access to these vital tools for success, the Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education (PSIPSE) supports grantee partners testing diverse approaches to strengthening life skills. The PSIPSE commissioned an in-depth study of 18 projects in 7 countries, uncovering actionable lessons on how to design, implement, assess, and scale youth life skills programming in low- and middle-income countries. The study is intended for practitioners and government officials interested in building, improving, and expanding work around life skills, as well as donors looking to advance this field and provide useful guidance to their grantees.
Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.;
There is growing recognition that youth need more than academic knowledge to transition successfully into employment and adulthood (Dupuy et al. 2018). They also need "life skills," a set of cognitive, personal, and interpersonal strengths that position them for success in their lives and livelihoods. Life skills can enhance young people's agency and resilience, improve their psychosocial well-being, and predict a range of long-term outcomes, including health, job performance, and wages (Kwauk et al. 2018; OECD 2018, Kautz et al. 2014). The Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education (PSIPSE), a donor collaborative, has invested in 18 projects to strengthen life skills in young people. This brief offers eight lessons based on the experiences of these projects—on the design, delivery, measurement, and scale-up of youth life skills programming in lowand middle-income countries (LMICs).
Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.;
There is growing recognition that youth need more than academic knowledge and technical expertise to transition successfully into employment and adulthood (Dupuy et al. 2018). They also need "life skills," a set of cognitive, personal, and interpersonal strengths that position them for success in their lives and livelihoods. Life skills can enhance young people's agency and resilience, improve their psychosocial well-being, and predict a range of long-term outcomes, including health, job performance, and wages (Kwauk et al. 2018; OECD 2018; Kautz et al. 2014). The Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education (PSIPSE), a donor collaborative, has invested in 18 projects that focus on developing life skills among youth (see left). Mathematica, the PSIPSE's learning partner, recently conducted an in-depth study of these projects. The study used interviews with implementing organizations, an extensive review of project documents and evaluation reports, and high-level literature and landscape scans to examine project experiences, set them in context, and draw out lessons for a range of stakeholders. This brief summarizes the lessons for government officials—on how to successfully devise, roll out, scale, and strengthen life skills policies for youth in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs).
The NBDCK (National Book Development Council of Kenya) project aims to raise reading outcomes by offering extracurricular reading opportunities to public school children in the Kisii area of western Kenya. This is a micro level incremental innovation which originally included comparison to a control group, but this is no longer the case. Grade six students ('mentors') are trained to read with grade 1 and 2 students ('buddies') during informal small group sessions supervised by teachers trained to this end.
Open Society Foundations;
The active and meaningful participation of citizens in public affairs is the distinguishing feature of democratic societies, which are judged by the extent to which governments open up to citizen involvement in public affairs and the space they give for citizens to hold the government accountable. It is because of this that citizens in Kenya and Africa in general continue to demand increased space for participation.
This report is about the challenges of participatory democracy in Kenya; it assesses the state of democracy and participation in the country. It examines the institutional and legislative processes that would contribute to the consolidation of democracy and political participation. The report explores the available instruments, such as the Constitution of Kenya (2010), to enhance democracy and people's political participation.
The report identifies impediments to Kenya's democratic consolidation, with the most important challenges identified as ethnicity and identity politics, the electoral system of first-past-the-post, and the dominance of the executive. The report notes that ethnicity is a symptom of the structure and use of political power. Specifically, the interplay of ethnicity and the competition for executive power have constrained public participation and the democratic transition in general.
In 2013, the United Nations projected that Africa would be home to over 40 percent of the global youth population by 2030. The challenge of how to successfully absorb these young people into the formal economy became top of mind for governments, policymakers and development practitioners.
Thinking toward this future, The Rockefeller Foundation recognized the potential of Africa's growing information and communications technology (ICT) sector to create new economic opportunities – particularly for its young people. The Foundation created its Digital Jobs Africa (DJA) initiative to help equip youth – specifically those with limited access to opportunities – with the technical and soft skills, and job placement support necessary to transition into a technology-enabled workforce.
Nearly five years into implementation, the Foundation commissioned an independent evaluation of DJA to better understand the extent to which it was realizing its goals and driving impact. Genesis Analytics was engaged to collect data and gather case stories from participating youth in Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa.
Action Change Transform (ACT);
Experiences of working with grassroots peace structures to address electoral conflicts and violence in Kenya.
This paper underscores the need for market-based approaches in the delivery and management of Waterand Sanitation services especially in the rural and peri-urban areas. The paper seeks to highlight theimportant role that WASH enterprises which mostly serve as gap fillers in the many rural, urban & peri –urban areas that are mostly unserved / underserved plays in service provision. While appreciating theimportance of Community – based management model that has been universally practiced, the paperfocuses on the Kenya Integrated Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (KIWASH's) approach to capacitydevelopment as crucial for ensuring improved and expanded WASH Services. This paper also discussesthe importance of Business Development Services in instilling a culture of performance and reorientingthe small and medium WASH enterprises embrace market based approaches to service delivery.
Water services provision and resource management are devolved functions as per Schedule 4 of the current Constitution of Kenya. A critical determinant of the devolution success in Kenya's WASH sector will be how the County Governments as primary duty bearers will develop resilient WASH supply and management systems that are demand responsive and overall accountable to public needs. Therefore, tackling sustainability issues in WASH services requires a holistic approach focusing on governance and particularly principles of governance: transparency, participation and accountability as to improve service delivery. The USAID-KIWASH Project partners with water service providers in 9 counties including Kakamega County Water and Sanitation Company (KACWASCO) to support them improve and sustain water and sanitation coverage, water catchment protection and credit worthiness. This paper presents an evidence-base case study of KIWASH engagement with KACWASCO that enhanced accountability of its operations, water coverage, revenue collection, resource allocation, customer satisfaction, participation and transparency.
Kenya requires innovative funding strategies, mechanisms and tools to ensure that it will reach national and international development goals regarding water and sanitation. The WASH sector, and Kenya as a whole, must explore innovative funding tools and mechanisms that can adequately leverage finance from a number of different sources, including domestically-generated revenues, as well as new mechanisms such as climate-related funding. To date, the lack of a comprehensive national investment plan has resulted in disjointed investment interventions and poor targeting that has not addressed sector needs across the country. This paper examines potential public financing strategies for the sector in Kenya and provides recommendations for their monitoring and evaluation to ensure sustained change and steady financial development.
The innovative cross-country 'WASH & Learn Programme' that Simavi implements in East Africaintegrates different sustainability aspects in the use of Cost Recovery Planning and RiskAssessment/Mitigation tools to trigger WASH financing and investments in the sustainability of WASHinfrastructure. Through this operational mix of sector tools and principles, results are becoming evident:Communities, schools and governments are working together to generate income, to grow local funds forWASH and especially for operation and maintenance of the WASH investment. The stakeholderengagement has scaled up from initial discussion to active involvement through public privatepartnerships, fostering the target group from beneficiaries to stakeholders.