This week I have been reflecting on the state of our Nation. Our politics seems to be broken with endless disagreements, our economy is yet to find its footing, our devolved Governments are not giving full value to the millions of Kenyans across the country. And I am tempted to imagine a new Kenya that works for all of us. A truly united Kenya in which every citizen has an opportunity to earn a decent, sustainable livelihood. There are three pathways that can lead to that Kenya.
The first pathway can be summed up in one word – organizing. Community organizing will enable our people to critically unearth their challenges, articulate solutions and hold leaders accountable in implementing these solutions. As such, community organizing fuels the kind of social power that enforces lasting change in a society.
To organize our community requires leaders to shepherd the nation to respond to practical socio-economic and political demands in which case we must be willing to sacrifice untenable endeavors for common good. We must not undermine each other as we all have a role to play. Every Kenyan household is looking up to our God given Natural Capital for their livelihood. You can therefore picture just like in a wedding ceremony where every small detail must fall in place, how meticulous we must be in planning because every single household in Kenya counts.
Deliberate community organizing guided by a well-designed tool such as Vision 2030 can help us to tackle a critical problem like water scarcity. It is ungodly that millions of rural communities struggle to access water in a country that enjoys 60 years of independence.
Community organizing must have a laser focus on policy. If an intervention is not captured in policy, it will never be achieved. For instance, the constitution asserts in Article 43 that every person has the right to clean and safe water in adequate quantities. In order to actualize this, Kenya launched the National Water Master Plan 2030 in 2014. To realize this Master Plan before 2030, it will take an investment of about Ksh1.9 Trillion.
Through community organizing and with efficient development plans, County Governments have a constitutional mandate to mobilize these funds and deliver sufficient clean water to the people.
This ushers me to my suggested second pathway, empowerment! Imagine a community whose organizing leads the government to introduce piped water into the locality. Each community member will realize their power both collectively and as individuals.
Trust precedes empowerment. For people to pull together for a common cause, they must trust that they have each other’s best interests at heart. If such trust is lacking, they will begin to pull apart which will disempower them. Most people assume that empowerment is confined to economic empowerment, which isn’t necessarily the case. Empowerment starts with integrity and character. Without these two, both intellectual and economic empowerment will not achieve common good. Cost of living is a misnomer. Current productivity equals to poor households. About 29 out of 47 counties are struggling in various disasters and unforeseen effects of Climate Change. Yet the same counties have vast land whose productivity can be increased a thousand-fold leading to nourishing empowerment.
Finally, security is the third pathway towards a better Kenya. Boundaries define security. Without them, anyone can do anything at any time. National boundaries help a nation to secure its citizens by securing its borders. Within those borders, the police ensure that citizens respect social boundaries and norms. Even in the family setup, boundaries provide security. Such is the holistic security that will guide us to a better Kenya.
These three pathways of community organization, empowerment and security will help us to organize Kenya socially, economically and politically. I dare say that what we are currently superimposing sanity on top of insanity in which case we are breeding an outrageous monster with 47 legs and a comical looking head. We must treat Kenya as a family enterprise that requires us to pull together, not apart. Think green. Act green!