Gender participation in Local Authority Service Delivery Action Plan (LASDAP) process in Limuru Municipal Council, Central Kenya
Local Authority Service Delivery Action Plan (LASDAP) process is a participatory approach to development used by local authorities in Kenya while budgeting for the Local Authority Transfer Funds (LATF). Equal participation of males and females in the planning, budgeting, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of development projects and programmes such as those funded through LA TF has become a serious concern to development practioners. This is what led to this study on gender participation in local authority service delivery action plan process in Limuru Municipal Council, Central Kenya. The study addressed three specific objectives, namely, to determine whether decentralisation advances gender equality in the participation of the LASDAP process, to examine the extent of gender participation in LASDAP and to establish the barriers towards equal participation of males and females in the LASDAP process. The participatory planning development theory framework was used to guide this study. In order to address the study objectives, both qualitative and quantitative approaches were used. Quota sampling and random sampling were used for the survey method of data collection whereas purposive sampling for the focus group discussions and key informant interviews. The quantitative data collected in this study were analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) whereas qualitative information was transcribed, coded and analysed according to themes and emerging issues. The findings of the study showed that there is remarkable gender disparity in the participation of males and females in the LASDAP process. There is low participation of females with comparison to males. There was moreover low awareness among females on LA TF and LASDAP which could be seen to partially contribute to their low participation. The findings also revealed that the process has been gender neutral with no gender disaggregated data. This has led to identification and prioritisation of pro-poor projects that are assumed to benefit females i without analysis of their impacts on both genders. The study similarly found that some barriers towards equal gender participation in the LASDAP process are: multiple gender roles as well as low levels of education of females and the Agikuyu culture as a whole. The study recommends more sensitisation, education and training of males and females on their roles and the LASDAP process with particular attention paid to the participation of females in the process. The LASDAP guidelines should also be reviewed to take into consideration pertinent gender issues.