PROMOTING NATIONAL COHESION, INTEGRATION
Strategies are approaches aimed at achieving specified goals. A strategy can also be a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim. To succeed in promotion of national cohesion and integration we require deliberate strategies.
The strategic importance of national values and principles of governance is explained in several articles of the Constitution of Kenya including Article 10. Promotion of the national values and principles of governance among individuals, families, communities, workplaces, and the nation is aimed at achieving social, economic, and political transformation.
The Sessional Paper No. 9 of 2013 on National Cohesion and Integration identifies the following strategies to promote national cohesion and integration:
Strengthening vital institutions for cohesion and integration, addressing socio-economic inequalities, management of ethnic and socio-cultural diversity, conflict prevention, management, and reconciliation. This includes national and county legislative institutions, the Judiciary, and public service institutions.
Addressing socio-economic inequalities through devolution, fight against corruption, developing specific economic zones, addressing youth unemployment, access to quality public education, access to quality healthcare and effective management of natural resources.
Management of ethnic and socio-cultural diversity by promoting inter-ethnic social activities, inter-religious dialogue, dispute resolution, and cultural activities. In addition, establishing exchange programmes across diverse groups, cultural centres, and use of media to broadcast messages of social cohesion.
Conflict Prevention, Management and Reconciliation: This can be achieved by revitalising traditional reconciliation, mainstreaming peace education, encouraging inter-communal dialogue, developing early response systems, and, more importantly, ensuring balanced economic growth.
Ensuring the rule of law, security, and order: Implementing the Constitution of Kenya, streamlining the flow of communication between security agencies and decision-making bodies, continuous training of law enforcers, enhancing use of intelligence information in conflict resolution, and institutionalising use of alternative dispute resolution.
Addressing the unemployment challenge through:
Developing robust career guidance and apprenticeship programmes and offering demand-driven training and certification for young Kenyans.
- Using digital platforms to broaden geographic scope of job opportunities
- Financing small and medium enterprises and extending such financing to rural areas.
- Expanding opportunities for the youth in jobs training and employment; enhancing industry attachment, internship and volunteerism opportunities; increasing access to basic business skills training; and improving access to credit.
Entrenching positive value systems in all segments of society: All government agencies and stakeholders should ensure national values are mainstreamed in everyday life of Kenyans by:
- Sensitising all stakeholders on national values.
- Upholding and nurturing national values and principles of governance.
- Enhancing systems, programmes and guidelines for the promotion of national values.
- Identifying and using role models to promote national cohesion and integration and recruiting change agents.
- Entrenching national values in performance management system.
- Implementing key policies to enhance a values culture that promotes harmonious ethnic relations
- Recognising and rewarding values champions to foster national cohesion and integration.
Establishing mechanisms for communication and information sharing. Government agencies and stakeholders should implement a participatory communication strategy to facilitate sharing of information, dialogue, and feedback on national cohesion by:
- Encouraging/sponsoring cross-cultural study tours and exchange programmes.
- Strengthening grassroot structures such as council of elders to promote national cohesion.
- Expanding and supporting fora and avenues that allow for the exercise of the freedom of expression through traditional and digital media platforms.
- Monitoring and evaluating the impact of the communication strategies.
Promotion of national cohesion and integration requires implementation of effective strategies by all actors.
In subsequent Irrigation News’ issues, we shall unpack what the Authority is doing to promote each strategy. These insights shared by the Directorate of National Cohesion and values./p>
Dennis Muchora is a national cohesion and values focal point person for the Authority.