Civic action by youth group improving accessibility in village

Members of a quarry business group in Baringo County have enhanced business performance, due to improved road accessibility to the site for their customers, where they sell ballast and stones. The repair of a two-kilometre road was because of advocacy engagement of the group that made the county undertake the works.

Currently, Kapsergong Quarry Youth Group in Baringo County have four lorries to the site on daily basis, up from one lorry, a year ago. Kapsergong Quarry is now more accessible from Kapsoo Trading Centre, about five kilometres away, where there is a tarmac road linking it to urban centres such as Kabarnet Town.

Judy Ruto, 25, says improved accessibility is changing the fortunes of the youth group’s members. “Currently, lorries can easily get to the quarry, and there is ready market for ballast and stones. Our income has greatly improved,” an excited Ms. Ruto says. The group has 18 members.

These improved fortune of the group is as a result of opening of the two-kilometre Kapsoo – Kiptusmoo – Kapsergong quarry road by Baringo County Government in mid-November 2017. The roadwork was an outcome of sustained advocacy by Kapsergong Quarry Youth group that paved the way for the road project to be budgeted for and repair works undertaken. The road had been in a bad state for several years and, resultantly impassable, especially during the rainy season. Besides, the economic activities, and access to facilities such as schools was a struggle.

‘‘We supported repair work of this road through public participation. We wrote a memorandum to the county administration. This is led the budgeting for the road, and eventual works,’’ says Jonathan Chemuna, the Chairperson of Kapsergong Quarry Youth Group.

The local community has benefited from the youth group’s advocacy as other amenities such as Kipkogel Water Point, Kapsergong Primary School and Kapsergong Slaughter House have also become more accessible. “We (quarry group) are not the only beneficiaries of the road, but all the residents. Even fetching water from springs and rivers has been made easier,” says Chemuna. In December 2016, Kapsergong Quarry Youth Group presented a memorandum to Baringo County Government during the 2016/17 Budget Forums. The memorandum (which is documented) built a case for opening up of the road as a critical enabler of economic activities in the locality. Through Ms Lillian Kiptui, the Civic Educator, who is also budget monitor, they learnt that the project had been factored in the 2016/2017 financial year as per their memorandum. However, the implementation did not start as planned, raising concerns among residents.

The 18 members of the Kapsergong Quarry Youth Group mobilised opinion leaders and paid a courtesy call to the office of Baringo Central Sub-County administrator, Julius Bolei. During the visit conducted in mid-September 2017, the delegation raised a complaint on delayed implementation of the road project. Mr Bolei informed them that the county government had just completed the tendering process and the project implementation would commence in October 2017.

Kapsergong Youth Group was targeted for quality civic education provided by Centre for Enhancing Democracy and Good Governance (CEDGG) with support from Uraia. The CEDGG civic educator Lilian Kiptui reached out to the group having noted their high level of commitment.  The group acquired knowledge and skills on opportunities and tools for civic engagement through sustained civic education in September 2016. Soon after the sustained civic education, the group registered with Baringo Department of Social Services as a self-help group. The objective was to get more organised and gain legitimacy for advocacy purposes. It showed interest in budget advocacy, through memorandum writing, as tool they would apply to engage the county government on issues of their concern.

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