Access to information pioneers trained

Posted by: KSG-admin Post Date: December 20, 2020

Access to information pioneers trained

By Pauline Ngurukie

The pioneer class of the Access to Information Training kicked off at the School, in Mombasa Campus in the second week of December with participants drawn from 13 counties.

Those present were largely officers in various departments of the county assemblies as well as the executive. They included officers in Communication, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Hansard and actors in access to information.

The training was conducted by high level facilitators led by Commissioner Lucy Ndung’u, and Esha Mohammed (in charge of Mombasa Region) from the Commission on Administrative Justice (CAJ), Deputy Director Academic Affairs John Napoo, Head of the School Centre for Leadership, Public Service Values, and Ethics Joshua Ochuka, and the Manager, Corporate Communication Samwel Kumba, who also doubled up as the program coordinator.

At the opening ceremony, Commissioner Ndung’u, acknowledged that training is generally a critical enabler of an effective public servant and continuous learning of best practices of Access to Information in particular, is the key to implementation of the constitutional provision on access to information in Article 35 of the Constitution of Kenya.

The Commissioner urged public servants to muscle their effort in ensuring that there is responsiveness, transparency and integrity in service delivery. She appealed to the course participants to be champions of access to information in the areas that they serve. They were encouraged to develop infrastructure that promotes access to information.

Mombasa Campus Director, Dr. Tom Wanyama, affirmed that under the KSG Act, the School strives to realize its mandate through training programs that meet public servants needs with a wide reach both regionally and internationally. He noted that KSG was established to create a public service that Kenyans can trust and have faith in.

“Our business is capacity building and in the process of doing this, we partner with key agencies that have been mandated with specific policies and mandates,” said Dr. Wanyama.

He further elaborated that the School functions and mandate are drawn from the KSG constituting Act as well as the country development blueprint, the Kenya Vision 2030.

“We partner with government agencies to unpack policy and legislation converting them into consultancies, research and training products such as we have done with the Access to Information Act, which this training helps to unpack,” he said.

The Director disclosed that the Access to Information Act has demystified how government used to work years back when wananchi referred to it as ‘siri kali’. He expressed gladness that the narrative has now changed and that citizens will no longer be frustrated when they want to know what is going on in particular government agencies.

Ms. Esha Mohammed admitted that the program is critical in developing and enhancing access to information competency and communication in general in the counties.

“I hope that the knowledge that has been imparted in you will be impactful in your assemblies. You are now our ambassadors and experts as far as access to information is concerned,” said Ms. Mohammed.

She did acknowledge the enthusiasm of the participants and their readiness to learn as she reminded them that Access to Information is a new law that needs partnership along the journey to realize and ensure the intentions of the drafters are realized.

The School’s Deputy Director Academic Affairs Mr. John Napoo, observed that the program enables the sharing of experiences about emerging challenges in access to information on work environment and possible solutions to accessing of information.

“Ultimately, the curriculum should result in effective access to information for officers in the counties,” said Mr. Napoo.

The ATI curriculum has been jointly developed between the Commission on Administrative Justice and the Kenya School of Government in a bid to improve access to information both in the county and national government levels with subject experts drawn from Article 19 and local Development Institute with support from the international Development Law Organizations.