Community Development is an engaging process meant to deliver beneficial change to the participating members of the community. It can also be seen as a product of this so a mentioned progress. The Constituency Development Fund on the other hand is drawn from Kenya´s national kitty and is meant to foster economic growth at the constituency level. We intend to objectively look at the positive and negative impacts that this fund has had on community (constituency) development and Kenya at large.
Keywords: Community, CDF, Constituency Development Fund, Community, Development, Constituency, economic development,
The Constituency Development Fund: Merits and Demerits to Community Development
According to the United Nations, CD is a complex processes where the efforts of community members are united with those of governmental authorities in order to improve the economic, social and cultural conditions of the community and the nation at large.
The Constituency Development Fund (CDF) Act, 2003, was the law that first established the CDF fund in Kenya. Originally, according to the act, 2.5% of the nation’s total revenue collection was to be channeled directly to the 210 constituencies through their sitting Members of Parliament (MPs). This was later revised to 3.5% in the 2006/7 fiscal year. The CDF Act has undergone a series of amendments over the succeeding years in order to keep up with the dynamics unfolding in the Kenyan society; consider Kenyans adopting the constitution in 2010.
The CDF fund is defined, according to the Act’s 2013 repeal, as a portion of the national annual budget devoted to Kenya’s 290 constituencies for the purposes of infrastructural development, wealth creation and poverty eradication at the constituency level (Constituencies Development Fund Act (No 30 of 2013), 2013). From this definition, CDF can be seen as a fund that is meant to stimulate community economic development efforts at the constituency level. Community Economic Development (CED) is a subset of community development (CD) and it seeks to economically empower the residents of a community (Betterton, 2010). CDF is also a Community Driven Development (CDD) initiatives that is conjured to empower local communities by availing funds from the national government and donors to the local communities (Francis, Nekesa, & Ndungu, 2009).
Opinions regarding the fund vary from one quarter of the nation to the other; some believe that the fund has had a positive transformational effect on their constituencies while others are of the opinion that the kitty is just another one of those loopholes that greedy politicians can employ to siphon dough from the nation´s coffers, an impediment towards national development.
CDF for Community Development
CDF aims at ironing out regional imbalances brought about by patronage politics by fighting poverty through the implementation of local development projects and particularly those that provide basic needs such as education, healthcare, water, agricultural services, security and electricity (Bagaka, 2008). CDF has brought about the realization of these objectives as follows.
CDF Addresses Regional Imbalances
CDF accounts for 2.5% of the government´s ordinary revenue. 75% of the 2.5% is equally disbursed amongst the nation´s 290 constituencies while the remaining 25% is allocated as per constituency poverty levels (CDF, 2004). IEA praises the CDF for incorporating the poverty index when allocating part of the funds; it believes that this has a high impact potential in addressing historical and systemic wrongs such as regional disparities. The Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) found that Kenya was a nation with huge disparities in service accessibility, quality and efficiency and hence the CDF, being a public fund, plays a crucial role in addressing some of these disparities (IEA, 2012, bls. 10).
CDF on Access to Healthcare and Education
Since the introduction of CDF in 2003, more local health facilities have been constructed and equipped in many parts of Kenya (KNCHR, 2011, bls. 74). Many people are able to access healthcare services and education within their villages today than before CDF was introduced (Auya & Oino, 2013).
CDF currently allocates up to 15% of each annual disbursement to bursaries. Serious CDF Committees work together with secondary school bursary committees to help them identify and fund needy students in their constituencies. CDF bursary is open to local primary, secondary and tertiary institutions hence accommodating a wide span of education beneficiaries; postgraduate students included (Gikonyo, 2008).
CDF Upholds Human Rights Principles.
The International Economic Agency (IEA) noted that the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNHCR) commended the 9th parliament for enacting the Constituencies Development Fund Act, 2003. CDF advocates for accountability, public participation, equity in access and availability of complaints and redress mechanisms when it comes to its management (IEA, 2012, bls. 9).
- Quote paper
- B W Namano (Author), 2014, The Constituency Development Fund. Merits and Demerits to Community Development, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/307588