The County Government and non-governmental organisations have launched an Integrated Complaint Referral Mechanism dubbed ‘Uwajibikaji Pamoja’ in West Pokot County today. ‘Uwajibikaji Pamoja’ aims to improve service delivery to the residents of West Pokot County and facilitate the referral of complaints among service providers.
The service will enable members of the public to submit complaints or feedback concerning aid and service delivery through: a toll-free SMS line, a web-based portal, or by filling out paper forms. People with no access to a mobile phone or internet can visit the nearest office of a participating partner or speak to any field staff of a participating organisation to lodge their complaints. The walk-in option will thus allow people who cannot read or write to report their cases.
In the Humanitarian Aid sector, when organisations have accountability systems in place, their complaints’ response mechanisms are entirely established for their own use. Therefore if someone has a complaint on services or aid delivered by one organisation, he/she can only complain to the same organisation, but gatekeepers within the entity may impede action. In addition, complaints are often cast to the wrong organisation and not referred to the organisation concerned due to lack of referral systems between them. ‘Uwajibikaji Pamoja’ will therefore serve as one-stop point for people to file their complaints regardless of the organisation concerned.
‘Uwajibikaji Pamoja’ was launched in Turkana County in April 2014, where it has recorded considerable success. Participating partners expect similar positive public response to this initiative in West Pokot County.
“Majority of Kenyans acknowledge corruption as one of the main impediments to sustainable development but reporting of corruption cases is still generally low, mainly because most people don’t know where to report corruption or feel that no action will be taken to resolve their complaints even if they are reported,” said Transparency International Kenya Humanitarian Aid Integrity Programme Coordinator, Nicolas Seris during the launch.
“Giving people an avenue to air their grievances is an important step towards improving service delivery by both public and non-public actors,” he added.
‘Uwajibikaji Pamoja’ follows TI-Kenya’s Food Assistance Integrity Study (FAIS) conducted in 2011, which identified the lack of accountability mechanisms to people affected by calamities such as the 2011 drought as a key challenge in humanitarian operations. This platform will also be rolled out in Wajir County in the course of the year.
“Our accountability, transparency and effectiveness can be measured by the complaints received,” said World Vision’s Programme Manager, Orwa Integrated Programme Area, Josiah Rotino at the launch.
“For devolution to bear fruit, accountability through checks and balances is paramount by the West Pokot County Government, NGOs and all humanitarian aid organisations,” said John Lodinyo, the Political Advisor to the West Pokot County Governor.
The initiative brings together numerous aid and service delivery institutions in West Pokot County. These include the West Pokot County Governor’s Office, Office of the West Pokot County Assembly, County Commissioner‘s Office, the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), Action Aid, ACTED, Action Against Hunger (ACF), CHEKODIP, FEP-Group Company, LIDS NGO, POKOT ICC – CBO, West Pokot Council of Elders, Pokot Karamoja Turkana Sabiny (POKATUSA), SIKOM, Tegla Lorupe Peace Foundation, World Vision Kenya and Yangát Resource Girl Child Potential Sensitization Group and Transparency International Kenya.
The system works as follows:
• Complaints are fed into the web-based system and referred to the organisation concerned. All complaints will be treated confidentially.
• Complainants receive a tracking number by SMS and a notification each time any update or progress is made in addressing the complaint.
• If no action is taken or response is given after seven days, the concerned organisation receives a reminder by email from the convener of the Integrated Complaint Response Mechanism.
• The system also generates data and reports regarding the type of complaints received, geographical areas and the duration between the lodging of complaints and subsequent actions or resolutions.