Despite having adopted a new Constitution, Kenya is still facing a number of critical governance challenges with respect to resource devolution and other land issues. Local civil society organizations are eager to be engaged in the political process, yet they face a number of barriers, including a lack of financial resources and organizational capacity. High levels of corruption, mistrust, and slow bureaucracy, paired with the confrontational approach employed by many societal actors, make the relationship between government and citizens even more complicated.
In July and August 2014, we carried out a baseline survey in the counties of Nairobi, Mombasa, and Nakuru, which are in a critical stage of land reformation and decentralization. Our survey revealed that, three years after the enactment of the Constitution, land reform and governance still remain unaddressed, and have become a divisive issue.
While land reform remains a sensitive topic in Kenya, civil society organizations are in a unique position to shape policy formulation and implementation in collaboration with the government. Selected civil society organizations in the three regions we looked at have worked with the government of Kenya on land reform and devolution issues.