The Environment, Social Justice and Social Enterprises Program

This program aims to resource and expand the Ujamaa movement i.e. the social forums, the cooperative structures, the resident associations, the environmental justice network, the community mobilisers network to enable Ujamaa Center continue to be the model and learning organization for community based social justice advocacy. Long term local development requires that the initial investments in the natural resource enterprises so far are scaled up after feasibility studies and business plans are developed. The Market Access Centre already established will continue to provide support to small scale producers and artisans to exploit the tourism market but stretch further to the fair trade movement.

This should grow to a full fledged social enterprises unit to spearhead the development of economic alternatives for communities while at the same time support ownership and self generation of local resources and entrepreneurship in areas such as coconut enterprises, Mathenge pilot project, aloe cottage industry etc. These will add value to the enterprises the Center has assisted community groups to set up i.e. in bee keeping, crab farming, and community tourism initiatives among others. The revival of farmers cooperatives for producers will continue so that issues of equity are constantly addressed.

a) Rasilimali Foundation

These community initiatives required new sources of funds that is available locally and accessible for a step change to happen. Such funding was crucial t help the natural resource enterprises develop business plans, feasibility studies, small scale implementation and scaling up. It is on this basis that Ujamaa and Allavida the funding partner launched Rasilimali a private foundation committed to making grants towards community-based natural resource and environmental management enterprises and initiatives. With an initial focus on the Coast of Kenya, the Foundation seeks to bring funds closer to environmental and natural resource grassroots projects, with the intention of empowering local groups to play a more active and powerful role in managing, caring for and benefiting from their environment.

The Foundation has rolled out small grants to community based social enterprises and environmental justice campaigns to the tune of close to 1.5 million Kenya Shillings in the region through two programs, the Rural and the Urban Environmental programme both of which have two components i.e. social enterprise development and securing rights. Two sets of seed grants have been made both in the Rural Environment Programme. The first was to 39 groups totaling Kshs 715,025 and the second to 46 groups totaling 824,900. Total of 85 grants worth Kshs1.539.925 to over 80 communities (some were repeat grants). In the urban programme the “Youth in the Community Initiative” in Kibera has supported waste management projects i.e. garbage collection, composting and recycling. 15 youth groups have been targeted and two have been granted Kshs 283,000.

b) The Ujamaa Market Access Centre: Impacting on lives of the poor

Ujamaa Market Access Centre is a project of Ujamaa Center established with support from the Travel Foundation. The project was started in May 2007 but the access centre was launched in July 2007. The market, based in Nyali in Mombasa Kenya, aims to promote responsible tourism in the coastal area to directly benefit communities, and enrich the lives of tourists by accessing to them not only environmentally friendly crafts, home ware, textiles and jewellery among other innovative products but also a memorable experience of interacting with producers, feeling the production process, understanding recycling and dealing with ‘green guilt’ as some have termed the impact of leisure travel. Since its launch the project has made extensive strides in tipping the balance in favor of producers, enabling access to producers of the tourist market but also to tourists of the producer communities directly.

c) Public Accountability in the Management of Public Affairs for Good Governance

The Government launched a Strategy for Performance Improvement in the Public Service in April, 2002 with an objective of introducing results-oriented management in the public sector to improve quality, efficiency and effectiveness of services and performance on a continuous basis and the setting of various parliamentary committees which act as watchdog committees.

Ujamaa Center with financial support from the Foundation for Open Society of East Africa (FOSIEA) is undertaking the campaign for public accountability in the management of public affairs for good governance. The campaign, whose overarching goal is to enhance sustainable development through good governance that values accountability to the public, the main objective of the project is to promote a culture of accountability in the management of public affairs and promote the idea of constitutionalism through enhanced capacity for the promotion of administration of social, economic and political justice. The project is being implemented in Malindi, Kilifi, Kaloleni, Mombasa and Kilindini with a focus on the Municipal council of Malindi, Kilifi town and Council, Mariakani and Mombasa Municipal Council’s LATF, CDF and related devolved funds.

d) Strengthening local governance institutions and processes

The goal of this initiative was to enhance the right of ordinary citizens to participate in local government planning and decision making. In particular, the Center facilitated a working committee that strengthened the civil society’s participation in the Local Authority Service Delivery Action Plans (LASDAP) process in which national tax collections are ploughed back to the local authorities for service delivery. This effort has led to the establishment of the Mombasa Citywide Residents Association (MCRA), Malindi Residents Association, Mariakani Residents Association as key citizen institutions with capacity to dialogue with the local authority in the delivery of services that are effective and efficient. With support from the Transparency International the Center established the Pwani Coalition for Good Governance to address integrity issues amongst public agencies and local authorities that has led to the establishment of an advocacy and legal awareness centre at Ujamaa to receive corruption related cases from the public that can be pursued through public interest litigation. A national monitoring project with support from South Africa based African Monitor has targeted social watch committees at ward level and provided training and support for public funds monitoring under the leadership of Ujamaa Center.