It is no doubt that since the establishment of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), tangible projects have been undertaken in most constituencies across the country. CDF has helped construct classrooms, bridges, roads, hospitals and paid school fees for many among other noble tasks.
However over the period, allegations impropriety have abounded. First, low public consultation in projects prioritization is often mentions. Secondly, social audits have revealed the amount allocated to the projects are often excess. Thirdly the public has raised concerns that leaders do not prioritize integrity and qualifications in the selection of CDF committee members but reward their cronies.
Before the next CDF allocations are decided upon, Kenyans need to know that:
i) The CDF Committee exists to serve constituents interests so the public should influence its membership selection and be proactive to have a say on project prioritization;
ii) Each CDF office presents their budget with projects to the CDF Board for consideration. Projects are considered based on amounts requested. At this stage the CDF Board assumes that the projects are what the public want. In some instances, some projects are rejected as unfeasible;
iii) Once the projects are approved by the board, the details are then published in the CDF Board website. If you check it, you will find all the allocations and projects proposed; and
iv) The public can use the projects approved by the CDF Board to check fidelity at implementation.
On the other hand, Uwezo Fund exists to enable women, youth and persons with disability access finances to promote businesses and enterprises at the constituency level. MPs are patrons of the fund and the public has a say on the funds distribution.
Constituency Uwezo Fund Management Committees oversee implementation of the Fund in each Constituency. The committee has representatives of Women, Youth and persons with disability.
Applying for this fund requires strict adherence to the following procedures.
i) The first thing is to sign up for a Capacity Building Programme and ensure you get a certificate. This provides access to training but also preferential tenders under the 30 percent Public Procurement tender opportunities for Youth, Women and persons with disability. Many youth groups forget this first crucial step and fail to get the funds.
ii) The fund has a cap of Ksh. 500000 to a youth group at one time. Groups that access the Fund have a grace period of six (6) months and thereafter pay the loan in eight installments. And;
iii) The amount loaned does not attract interest but a 3 percent administration fee is charged.iv) Funds for Youth and Women living with Disabilities are given special consideration. More details on Uwezo Fund.
Women Representatives will soon be controlling Sh2.03 billion for social empowerment in their counties, about sh7 million per constituency. Kenyans must look out for the regulations guiding it in order to capitalize on it.
Only vigilance will ensure these funds are prioritized properly and utilized diligently.