Decentralized approach to development and its effects on community livelihoods: the case of LASDAP in Kajiado County
This study assessed the impacts of LASDAP on the livelihoods of the residents of Kajiado County. Being a decentralized development approach to developqent by the LAs in Kenya, the study was informed by the lack of information on the LASDAP's core objective which is to improve citizens' livelihoods by promoting responsive development. The study 'also assessed participation by citizens in the LASDAP, its contribution in service delivery, constraints and compliance with the relevant policies. The case study was used in this research while the study site was OldonyorlYokie ward in Olkejuado County Council. Face to face interview, key informant interview and direct observation were used in collecting the primary data. The respondents included residents of the ward and LASDAP officials while observation involved visiting and having first-hand information and experience on the status sampled projects. Continuous review of the relevant secondary sources also made critical contribution in this study. The study established low participation by citizens in all stages of the LASDAP yet participation is a policy requirement. It was non-existent in budgeting and 2.6% in projects identification. These poor indicators were attributed to lack of commitment by the LA in involving the citizens in development and affected responsiveness of the services delivered .. It was because of this that only 29.9% of the respondents were satisfied with the LA's performance mainly because it failed to implement water projects which was the top priority in the ward although it had implemented some projects that served the local needs. Other constraints were resource limitations, delay in projects completion, shortage of skilled manpower and political patronage. These challenges can be mitigated by among others putting in place active mechanisms for increasing participation by citizens in development, partnership with private sector, promoting accountability and hiring adequate technical staff. The study however established that the LASDAP had improved some livelihoods mainly by constructing a girls' dormitory and providing bursary to the children from poor and needy households. These projects improved academic performance by the girls and increased access to and completion of education. The first impact was however was however not wholly attributable to the LA but also Africa Heart Foundation which furnished the dormitory building after its construction. This study appreciates the LA's contribution in service delivery but taking into consideration the concerns that were raised by the citizens which were driven mainly by the basic livelihood needs in the decade of the LASDAP's existence, it concluded that the LASDAP had not met its intended objectives successfully. The study recommends comparative research that covers more than one ward and LA with different characteristics including the rural and urban as well as best and worst performers. Findings from such comparative study would present diverse experiences and findings that could be generalized with higher degree of confidence.