Brian Too, Budget Champion, Nandi County
When I and other youth leaders in Nandi County started the citizen campaign in 2022, I thought it was going to be the most difficult task. This is because of the perennial marginalization and exclusion from mainstream decision-making in the county, especially the budget making process, compounded with unmet promises and commitments made by our political leaders.
Because of this, I was less confident that the County Assembly would give a memorandum that we submitted a chance based on existing perception that governments do not involve the youth in the decisions they make. To my surprise, the County Assembly responded to our memo which contained seven proposals and several other budget credibility issues we had asked them to consider.
The County Assembly Budget and Appropriation Committee invited our leadership to a committee meeting at the assembly committee room, where we made oral presentation of the memo and its content. This gave us an opportunity and necessary audience to pitch our ideas and proposals. Subsequently, the committee, in its budget approval report, made concrete recommendations to the executive arm of the county government which included directives to the Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Finance and Economic planning to ensure that our proposals are included in the next County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP).
As a result, my confidence and my perception of government openness and responsiveness has changed. I also have a better understanding of my roles and responsibilities, as citizen, in shaping government decisions to address the needs of the youth.
This new-found belief has also increased my confidence in articulating matters of budgeting because the submission served as a reference point that it is possible to cause change and co-create impact in my community.
I am now encouraged and confident that I can participate in similar advocacy campaigns to keep the county officials on their toes and hold them accountable for their decisions by providing evidence-backed feedback.