In a Dry Area of Eastern Kenya, IFIKO through Collaboration with other Development Actors Assists Rural Communities to Build their Capacities and Links them with other Experiences
01 / 1999
1- The challenge in its context
IFIKO’s challenge is to embark into Action Training with rural communities in the Machakos and Kitui dry areas. In this area, NGOs mostly provide material assistance as a package to a rural poor population. This developped a very dependent behaviour among a rural population which focuses its requests on material assistance even though it proved ineffective on the long run. As far as the Government of Kenya is concerned, training is, in practice, their last priority although they have nothing against such programmes.
IFIKO focused its intervention in few divisions when it identifies possible collaboration and synergy of impact with other development organisations. For example in Makueni, where DANIDA provide tools and seeds to small groups for them to produce trees in nurseries, IFIKO collaborates with these groups to build their capacity as groups and to look further than the immediate short term interest linked to this technical project. It encouraged the population to be prepared to really use their group for its purpose: to protect their environment the way they want this to be done and not just be satisfied with the production of tree seedlings.
3 - Ways of intervention
IFIKO is very keen on collaborating with other organisation. First, they meet in the fields to be sure that the partner is not cheating about its real implication in rural areas. Then , they agreed to coordinate training activities with concrete projects.
At the district level, it exist a District Executive Commitee but this forum is virtually dormant and IFIKO is on the frontline to dynamise it. Members tend to be laxist and there is a lack of transparence in the real implication of the operators and in their mandate.
Farmers’ organisations and groups are the beneficiaries in the village areas.
IFIKO, through various activities -public meeting, context analysis...- gets known to the communities. During this period of first contacts, IFIKO lets them understand its mission. Later on, it responds to requests sent to them.
Their ways of interventions focus on experiences and exhanges of experiences. They facilitate training programmes building on what farmers already have. Although interventions are geographically specific, IFIKO stresses on exchanges of experiences to develop new strategies.
4- Relationships with donors
IFIKO is a re-born association and it has not yet been confronted to the donors’ jungle since all its budgets are released by the head office in Abidjan.
Administrative activities inherited from the past situation hampered the smooth implementation of field-activites as sheduled during these last months. Weeks became months and fields’ visits have been delayed.
Commitment, transparency and work-group spirit should be the values leading rural communities and professionals involved in this process. IFIKO cannot do much but facilitate and encourage a dynamics borne by rural communities.
Martin and Vincent are young and dynamic new trainers recently recruited by INADES to re-launch the organisation activites. INADES-Formation Kenya, though financially very healthy and having a long experience in training rural population and publication of manuals, had to be dismantled due to an internal crisis resulting from strong disagreements between the board of directors and the executive staff.
It recently moved its headquarters from the international area of Weslands in Nairobi to the dry region of Machakos to clearly show their willingness to have a local rooting.
IFIKO is strongly linked to INADES-Formation Tanzania that actually participated to its renewal.
NGOs are fragile. International networking and links constitute a security to avoid to lose ethics. In the case of IFIKO, the composition of the association, mainly made of people who were not the beneficiaries of the association played a negative role when it came to a crisis because none of the decision-makers directly suffered from the crisis. Rural population was seen as a client group.
NGOs constantly need to build their credibility towards the society with which they interact with. IFIKO focuses on rural poor cummunities. They are the one who should be the only raison d’être of the organisation. The balance between building their capacity and surviving as advisors is a difficult exercise.
INADES FORMATION/INTERNATIONAL Kenya Office (IFIKO)- Box 1905 MACHAKOS - KENYA
Tel : 254-145-215-95 - fax : 254-145-203-19
[[Written for the public debate "Actors and processes of the cooperation", which could feed the next Lome Convention (European Union/ACP countries relations). This debate, animated by the FPH, has been started by the Cooperation and Development Commission of the European Parliament and is supported by the European Commission.]
Interview with WAFULA, Martin; OMONDI, Vincent