Factors influencing public participation in the county integrated development planning process. A case of county government of Meru
Mutwiri, Gideon K.
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Public participation is a principle that has been given prominence in the Constitution of Kenya 2010. Participation should imbue all public affairs and be promoted by both Non-State Actors and the State acting in public interest. The Constitution sets key requirements for the legislature at both levels of government to provide frameworks for public participation in governance processes. This emphasis for citizen participation underscores the fact that the election of representatives does not negate the need for people to continuously be involved in governance processes. The purpose of this study was to determine the factors that influence public participation in the County Integrated Development Planning Process in County Government of Meru. The study was guided by the following objectives: to assess whether community awareness influence their public participation in the county integrated development planning process, to examine whether the demographic factors influence public participation in the integrated development planning process, to access whether behavioral factors influence public participation in integrated development planning process and to find out whether economic factors influences public participation in county integrated development planning process. The target population of the study included the County Government of Meru officials who include 45 ward administrators, five officials from the Public service and Public Administration department, ten local opinion leaders from each of the nine sub counties selected randomly and the ten Meru county Assembly committee that was involved in the Public Participation in the FY2013/2014 and FY2014/2015 and the public. The target population is 160 participants and the sample size is 113. The study established that the level of community awareness determines the level public participation in county integrated development planning process. The study also revealed that behavioral factors like the quality of policies guiding citizens participation process through aspects such as public attitude toward local government, allocation of resources, level of coordination and engagement and the perceived community value in the participation process all determines the level public participation in county integrated development planning process. Further the study noted that economic factors like the perceived economic benefits to from the county development project, estimated time for revenue generation, level of individual income, and awareness on the other economic generating opportunities all determines the level public participation in county integrated development planning process. From the findings, it was concluded that behavioral factors had the greatest influence on Public Participation in the County Integrated Development Planning Process followed by demographic factors, then economic factors while the level of community awareness had the least effect. The study recommends initiation of strong measures that promote public awareness in integrated development planning, CIDP program should be tailored to encompass the dynamic nature in demographic characteristics of citizens. CIDP program should endeavor to initiate projects that are of economic benefit to the local communities and that the county government needs to improve on public relation, reporting as well as policy communication as this was found to be positively related to public participation levels in CIDP.
University of Nairobi
A research project submitted in partial fulfillment for the requirements of the award of the degree of Master of Arts in project planning and management of the University of Nairobi