The British High Commissioner, Dr Christian Turner in April met with beneficiaries of the Bilateral Programme Budget for the projects funded in2012. The meeting reviewed the different projects that benefitted from the fund and offered the grantees an opportunity to highlight their successes.
Speaking at the meeting Dr Turner said:
I’m happy to be here today and listen to some of your experiences based on the projects we funded last year. Our important areas of cooperation include the work we do with Kenyans (not just government) to tackle poverty and inequality .Your presence here is a good example of UK and Kenya partnership in the different fronts and I look forward to hearing from you on how we can work together in future.
Some of the beneficiaries of the grant in 2012 were Burnt Forest Choir who bought musical equipment and produced music which was used as a tool for passing peace messages. Other Grantees were the Kenya Federation of Women Lawyers who worked on improving access to justice for women, Kamiti Maximum Security Prison who benefitted from a new classroom, and the Muslim Education and Welfare Association who ran an educational camp for young people. A total of 12 projects were funded by the British High Commission and they varied from peace programmes to cultural ones – such as our support for the Lamu Cultural Festival.
The Bilateral Programme Fund is provided by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and managed by the British High Commission, Nairobi, to provide strategic support to Kenya in priority areas and improve bilateral links between Kenya and the UK. The Bilateral Fund considers project proposals that clearly show developmental benefit and are within the British High Commission’s objectives for the financial year.
Testimonials from some of the grantees:
FIDA Kenya: Legal Aid Forum
- Funding from BHC: £ 15000
- Duration of the project: 3 months (December 2012 to March 2013)
“We were supported by the British High Commission on a project that sought to seek justice for women through participation during the 16 days of activism where we held a legal aid forum, where we sensitised the women and public on the medical and legal issues surrounding sexual gender based violence. At the forum we were able to offer free legal aid services to about 60 women. And we took up 19 cases. The forums were held both in Mombasa and Kisumu. And from those forums we’ve been able to file a few cases which most have gone to mediation.”
SMART Votes Initiative
- Funding: £26,000
- Duration: 2 ½ months
“Our project was on Peace Civic Education among the host community and IDPs in the entire county of Nakuru targeting ten major IDP camps. We conducted intensive peace building, voter education throughout the pre-election period which was indeed a big success. It is the first initiative that has been conducted targeting IDPs and host community where it informs them, on the best practices in as far as their role in elections is concerned. The two communities were able to work together that is the IDPs and Host community .Previously they could not see eye to eye .The Host community was initially hostile to the IDPs , bringing them together to integrate was the biggest achievement .Also it enabled the IDPS take part in the electoral process.” Thomas Too,Representative of SMART votes initiative.”
Muslim Education and Welfare Association
- Training on Devolution targeting youth between the Age of 18-25
- Funding: £15000
- Duration: 7 days
The British High Commission funded a programme whose purpose was to strengthen county and country level strategic programmes on democracy and devolution. We mobilised 310 participants across the country, with participants from Bungoma, Nyeri, Garissa, Lamu , Mombasa, Kilifi ,Kwale, to empower them on the devolution system. This was to enable the Muslim youth understand the role they can play in the devolution system and how they can be of good use in terms of peace and development in the country.. Mariam Kasim Mohamed ,MEWA