It was a long journey from the shacks of Nairobi’s Korogocho slums to the marble floors of the five star Grand Regency Hotel’s ball room.
Yet the young men and women of the People United for a New Korogocho beat the odds – and a host of competitors – to be crowned the 2006 winners of the national Mashariki Innovations in Local Governance Award Programme (MILGAP).
Against the background of music and the whiz of camera shutters, the group on Thursday rightfully earned the chance to go on to the regional round of the competition, which UN-HABITAT was sponsoring for the second time in a row. MILGAP is an initiative that seeks to recognize those initiatives contributing to poverty reduction across the country.
The gala night was preceded by a two-day exhibition where 50 projects were at hand to showcase various initiatives undertaken to tackle poverty alleviation.
People for a New Korogocho is a project initiated in January 1990 by St. John Catholic Church, Korogocho, headed by Fr. Daniel Moschetti. The project is situated in the sprawling Korogocho slums, home to some 150,000 people in one of the most densely populated and unstable slums of Nairobi. The project addresses key public sector concerns such as education, health, debt repudiation, environmental conservation, unemployment and marginalised groups".
Initiated in 2002 by UN-HABITAT with support of the Ford Foundation, MILGAP contributes to excellence in local governance, by recognizing and rewarding poverty reduction projects both at national and at sub-regional level in East Africa.
Its main objective is to identify, document and confer recognition on outstanding innovations in local governance and decentralization in the East Africa sub-region. Implemented in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, it provides participating organizations and communities the opportunity to take part in sub-regional networking for improving local capacities for good local governance, publicize and popularize their innovative practices in local governance, and generate media interest and potential private sector partnerships in the projects that are awarded.
Overall winners of this year’s National awards will receive certificates, trophies and a cash award of US$ 3,000, 2,000 and 1,000 respectively for those coming in first, second and third. They will then proceed to compete regionally with those from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania during the 2006 Africities Conference in Nairobi in coming weeks.
In this second round of MILGAP 2006 a total of sixty-one applications were received from around the country. Set against the backdrop of the sprawling Korogocho slums, and the Arid and Semi Arid Lands of Kitui and Lokichar, which are synonymous with famine, are remarkable community-driven projects striving to address the unique local challenges.
MILGAP applicants came from among Local Authorities, Community Based Organizations, Faith Based Organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations, Private Organizations and Research & Training Institutions.
The scope of the winning project included environmental sustainability and ecology, participatory governance, poverty reduction and economic empowerment, infrastructure, communication and transport, social services, gender and inclusion.