Mobilising the Poor for Decision Making: Experiences from among the Ogoni of Taita Taveta District, Kenya

By Mary Omosa and Linet Misati.

Published by The Organization Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper is drawn from a bigger study investigating the dynamics influencing community participation in decision making and whether or not this is likely to serve as an escape route out of poverty. Specifically, the study seeks to establish the nature and extent to which the grassroots are mobilised and get to participate in development initiatives and, the possibility that the poor will be able to take part in decision making. The study is informed by the participatory development approach. In line with this approach, participatory techniques of data collection are applied. These included in-depth key informant interviews, focus group discussions, community meetings, case and life histories and use of available records. The paper uses a case study from Taita Taveta to demonstrate that a critical contribution of participation to development is in its ability to counter social exclusion.

Keywords: Poverty, Participation, Decision Making, Community, Water Development

International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 9, Issue 10, pp.29-40. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.337MB).

Prof. Mary Omosa

Associate Research Professor, Institute for Development Studies (IDS), University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya

Mary Omosa is an Associate Research Professor at the IDS, University of Nairobi with over 20 years of experience in social science research, teaching and training. She specialises in Rural Development Sociology, focusing mainly on rural livelihoods with a special interest in the interplay between development theory and practice and how this impacts on our understanding of development and change in Africa. Some of her ongoing research activities include a three year project on ICTs and poverty in Eastern Africa and a five year programme on chronic poverty in Kenya.

Linet Misati

Programme Assistant, Programme Assistant and researcher at the IDS, University of Nairobi, Kenya

Ms. Linet Misati has over five years experience in development research gained through her participation in research in different capacities. She participated as a researcher in the following projects: Kenya Leadership Month in the Media (March 2006-December 2006) Re-hydrating the Earth in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (REAL) UNESCO Project (April - May 2005); Social cultural Institutions Influencing Participation in User-owned Micro Finance Organisations: The Case of Bondo District, an M.A. (Development Studies) Project (2004-2005); and The Errors made by Kisii Learners of English as a Second Language, a B.A (Linguistics) project. In addition, she has also worked as a Research Consultant with Steadman Research Services in Kenya (May 2005) and as a Field Supervisor for Afro-Barometer Round III Kenya National Survey (August- Sept. 2005). She has participated as a research assistant in the following projects: Biotechnology Innovation in Kenya: Where are the Small Scale Farmers? (November 2004-March 2005); Universal Access to Communication Services in Kenya Baseline Survey (May June 2004) and International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (Feb, 2003). Prior to these, Ms. Misati worked as an English and Literature Teacher (January 2000 to April 2001) and English and Social Ethics Teacher (1999) in two different secondary schools in Kenya. Ms. Misati holds an M.A in Development Studies (2005) and a B.A in Linguistics and Sociology (1998) from the University of Nairobi. Currently, she works as a Programme Assistant and researcher at the IDS, University of Nairobi. Her research interests include: poverty and chronic poverty, microfinance, livelihoods, natural resources management, human rights, and HIV/AIDs.

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