USAID/OTI Kenya Field Report July - September 2008 Program Description This report covers the second quarter of operations of the OTI/Kenya program, which was initiated following a March 2008 assessment. The FY 2008 budget consisted of $5,810,304 in Transition Initiatives funding. As OTI’s first quarter of activities focused mainly on program start-up, this reporting period represents the first quarter of full program implementation. The OTI/Kenya program was initiated in response to the two months of violence triggered by Kenya’s December 2007 elections. The program’s goal is to facilitate an enduring stability based on national unity. The program will assist Kenyan state and non-state actors to more fully exercise their capacities and, thereby, support the following objectives: Broad-based recovery from the 2007/2008 election-related violence, and Prompt steps to address the underlying causes of instability. The Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) has two implementing partners for the Kenya program: Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI), which is implementing a quick-impact small-grants program, and the State University of New York (SUNY), which is supporting the work of the Kenyan Parliament. Country Situation Independent Elections Review – The Kriegler Commission (formally known as the Independent Review Commission (IREC)), which was established to review the results of the 2007 Kenyan elections, presented its final report to Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki on September 17, 2008. The commission’s major finding was that it is impossible to establish the legitimate winners of the 2007 presidential and parliamentary elections. The report states: “The conduct of the 2007 elections was so materially defective that it is impossible – for IREC or anyone else – to establish true or reliable results for the presidential and parliamentary elections.” South African jurist Johann Kriegler, the principal author, was highly critical of the Electoral Commission and both major political parties. Security in North Rift – The security situation remained fragile in most parts of the country. Security in the northwest Rift Valley has continued to deteriorate due to cross-border killings and cattle raids. The situation in the Mount Elgon region continues to be of high concern following the withdrawal of the government military forces that had been deployed to restore peace in the face of a local insurgency. Recent reports of human rights violations by the military have raised concerns over the integrity of the army; however, these claims have been refuted by the government. Unrest in Schools – Strikes aimed at educational institutions increased in July. The actions led to significant destruction of school property and the death of a student during a dormitory fire. The post-election chaos and the subsequent delay of the start of the school year have been blamed for the unrest and violence. The delay put a strain on normal school programming, making it difficult to complete curricula in time for final examinations. Students also expressed dissatisfaction with the current grading and examination system. IDP Resettlement – Issues associated with the resettlement of internally displaced persons (IDPs) continue to put a strain on community relations. Following the post-election violence, IDP camps were set up in affected areas. The camps were in place for eight months, until the government decided to close them to quicken the resettlement process. The government’s decision to close the camps without a viable IDP resettlement plan has increased tension and fear in the conflict-affected regions and led to the creation of a number of poorly organized and poorly serviced transit camps. In the Nairobi area, all IDP camps have closed, and displaced people are being urged to go back to their homes, despite residual fears of hostility from their neighbors. The transit camps in Eldoret have also been closed, and no plans for the resettlement of returnees have been made. Compensation for IDPs in Rift Valley – Officials in some parts of Uasin Gishu district, Rift Valley province, chose the first week of September to begin distributing the compensation (10,000 Kenyan shillings or about $140) promised to people displaced by the violence. The action may have been initiated in response to U.S. Ambassador Michael Ranneberger’s visit to the area on September 4 and 5. It is unclear how the distribution will affect OTI’s activities: it could facilitate IDP return and support OTI’s work, or it could lead to greater tension between those that receive compensation and those that do not. OTI Highlights A. Narrative Summary With major start-up operations completed in the previous quarter, OTI was able to focus on grant development and implementation during the July-September period. The Eldoret field office is now fully operational, and all grants focusing on the Rift Valley, Western, and Nyanza provinces will be run from Eldoret. The Nairobi office will develop and oversee all activities in the capital and surrounding areas such as Nakuru. The Rift Valley activities have gained increasing attention, both within the local communities and from U.S. Government counterparts. Initial dialogue grants have demonstrated early impact, with local groups identifying and developing their own plans for reconciliation and reconstruction with OTI assistance and support. B. Grant Activity Summary During the quarter, 11 new grants with a total value of $632,071 were cleared and started. The table below lists grant activity by sector. Sector Number of Grants Total Amount Peace and Security 7 $354,071 Civic Education 1 $8,262 Media 1 $34,773 Institution Strengthening 2 $234,965 Total 11 $632,071 In addition to these small grants, the subcontract under the SUNY cooperative agreement for engineering and design services was awarded. Through the SUNY activity, OTI seeks to enhance the legitimacy and transparency of the Kenyan Parliament by providing live television and radio broadcast capabilities for its proceedings. The subcontract covers the technical design of the project; procurement activities will begin in the coming quarter. C. Grant Activity Highlights Results of Grassroots Peace Building – A visit to Eldoret, Rift Valley province, by the U.S. Ambassador to Kenya provided OTI with an opportunity to roll out its newest and arguably most ambitious project in the country to date: the rehabilitation of the common market in Burnt Forest town. OTI’s activities in and around Eldoret, one of the areas hardest hit by the violence, have focused on reconciliation and peace building between displaced populations (primarily Kikuyu) and host communities (mostly Kalenjin). One of the program’s first efforts in the area involved supporting interethnic dialogues for women and youth, which were organized and facilitated by the local community-based organization Rural Women’s Peace Link. Participants from the dialogues jointly designed a project to rehabilitate the town’s common marketplace, which had been damaged and deserted during the post-election violence. The two tribal groups had been conducting business in separate areas on opposite ends of town. The dialogue participants proposed to rehabilitate the market and encourage its use by the entire town in the interests of reconciliation and economic advancement. The Ambassador broke ground for the project at a ceremony on September 4. Parliamentary Support – Phase I designs for improvements to enable the Kenyan Parliament to manage live broadcasts from the floor of the legislature have been completed. Preparations for a grant to procure and install Phase I equipment began on September 18. D. Indicators of Success From Reconciliation to Reconstruction – One of the greatest indicators of success seen in OTI’s initial activities is the willingness of participants in multi- ethnic reconciliation dialogues to design and implement joint reconstruction projects with formerly estranged groups. In Uasin Gishu district, the Community members clear ground for the Burnt Forest epicenter of the post-election violence, OTI- Common Market. supported groups are now building upon initial programming to identify concrete activities to heal the physical and psychological damage of the crisis. Reconciliation through Joint Business Ventures – OTI has also noted an increasing cross-fertilization between the activities it supports. For example, participants in peace dialogues are also taking part in OTI’s business skills trainings. Some of these participants intend to pursue business endeavors with contacts made during the dialogues. Policy Leveraging – During Ambassador Ranneberger’s visit to the Burnt Forest market project, he pledged to bring the Kenyan President and Prime Minister to see the transformation. The Ambassador’s speech generated high-level media coverage and considerable attention from both U.S. Agencies and local governments. Program Appraisal OTI achieved full operational status in this quarter, opening an office in Eldoret and hiring and fully training implementing-partner staff, including most of the key personnel for grant development and management. Kenyan program development officers are increasingly taking the lead in identifying, vetting, and developing new grants. In addition, a clear geographic focus has been established. Activities will concentrate on an area stretching from Nairobi to Eldoret, with potential key points for programming in Kisumu and Nakuru. Focusing primarily on reconciliation activities in the Rift Valley, the first phase of the OTI program has proven successful in developing community-driven recovery projects by bringing different ethnic groups together and, through facilitated dialogue, allowing them to identify barriers to reconciliation and design joint projects to address their differences. However, interethnic distrust remains high, and OTI’s progress achieved at the grassroots level is vulnerable to discord sown by national-level political competition. For the program to be successful, activities will need to be replicated on a broader scale and receive a degree of support from the Government of Kenya. Next Steps/Immediate Priorities In the coming quarter, OTI will focus on accommodating a number of major emerging issues into its program objectives and evaluating the ramifications of a swiftly changing political context. Chief among these emergent issues are the following: The Commission of Inquiry on Post Election Violence (a.k.a. the Waki Commission, after commission chair Justice Philip Waki) will issue its report on the post-election violence. Its conclusions and recommendations could divide the Grand Coalition Government. How to respond to the report will be a major question. The program will need to determine what role, if any, it will take in supporting or bolstering any calls for justice, accountability, and reform coming from the commission. The eviction of families from the Mau Forest could provoke major demonstrations. It could also lead to a weakening or fracturing of the Orange Democratic Movement, a partner in the coalition government. The Parliament will go on a three month recess in mid-December, which leaves it little time to deal with a number of extremely important issues, most notably the need for a new constitution. In the next quarter, OTI will – Conduct an orientation for all implementing partner staff on OTI values, methods, and procedures, and Further develop its country strategy in response to high-level political developments, including the Kriegler and Waki reports, the Truth and Reconciliation Bill, and progress on the constitution.
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