The face of an exuberant Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki receiving a donation of 75 hospital beds from Kenya Connection Kids was an indications that non-governmental organisations are partners in the realisation of the Big Four agenda, and by extension the realisation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Earlier, the Christian-based organisation had donated 20 wheelchairs, tables and chairs.
In Kisumu, the African Medical Research Foundation (Amref) launched partnership with the county government to ensure attainment of Universal Health Coverage.
In May, the Nairobi County Government partnered with I HOPE International, an American-based NGO, to offer free surgeries to 100 patients residing in the City. The free medical camp ran for 10 days at Mama Lucy Kibaki, Mbagathi and Pumwani hospitals and there were at least 10 specialist doctors to offer treatment.
But it is Njuki who seems to have discovered the potential partnership with NGOs to supplement meagre county resources in service delivery. On June 10, the county boss received a refurbished maternal facility from Safaricom Foundation.
Evidently, the governments needs support from the private sector for effective service delivery. Suffice it to say that the government, the corporate sector and the voluntary sectors are distinct yet interdependent actors in development process.
One of the key outcomes of the Busan Partnership for Effective Development at the Fourth High Level Forum held in Busan, South Korea in 2011, was the recognition by governments, multilateral and bilateral agencies of civil society organisations as independent actors in development and governance processes.
It is in this context that partnerships between the international and local NGOs with the county governments of Tharaka Nithi, Kisumu and Nairobi in the provision of health services should be understood.
And in order for NGOs to play this part, there ought to be policy, legal and regulatory framework that creates and continually contributes to the realisation of an enabling operational environment for the sector to execute its mandate. This has, unfortunately been lacking in Kenya in recent years.
The delay by the National government to operationalise the Public Benefit Organisations Act has put on hold the immense potential of the law to make Kenya the destination of choice for local and international organisations that may want to invest in the country. Kenya has immense potential to attract international NGOs and their huge social investments.
The country’s highly educated workforce, mobile telephony penetration and massive investments in infrastructure make Kenya the most ideal place for international NGOs that may want to set up regional headquarters in Africa to strategically intervene in humanitarian situations in the Horn and Great Lakes Region of Africa.
In light of this, commencement of the Public Benefit Organisations Act that has been abeyance for six years will go a long way in ensuring Kenya is the destination of choice for NGOs. – The writer is the presiding convener of the Civil Society Reference Group. —[email protected]