Britain to vet Kenyan education NGOs

March 18, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 18 – Britain has assured Kenyans that it will strictly vet non-governmental organisations to be used in channelling funds to the education sector.

In a statement, the UK Department for International Development (DfID) Communication Officer Amanda Lawrence-Brown said that they “are aware that not all NGOs are above board and transparent with funds.”  She said details are still being worked up on how this money will be spent.

“The overall aim is to ensure that our funds benefit school children across the country, supporting the quality and equity of education as well as improving accountability and transparency within the sector,” Ms Lawrence-Brown said in a response to a blog by Capital Group Chairman Chris Kirubi posted on our website and which is calling for a strict credibility test for NGOs to be involved.

DfID Head Alistair Fernie on Tuesday announced that Britain would bypass the government in disbursing its funds after the government failed to show sufficient commitment to address corruption allegations at the Ministry of Education in which over Sh100 million is said to have been lost.

He said the UK would instead release Sh2.3 billion through non-governmental organisations and other channels starting this April.

In the statement, however Ms Lawrence-Brown clarified that his government was not completely “walking away from the Government.”

“We are working with them to make sure they can resolve these problems because we would like to continue providing our funding through the Government in the future,” she said.

Ms Lawrence-Brown outlined three avenues his government will be using to disburse the funds.

“What we are currently considering includes: 1 – A programme of school grants paid through an independent managing agent but aligned with the Kenya Education Sector Support Programme system. This mechanism would provide funds directly to schools with appropriate financial safeguards and avoid the risks of disbursement through the Ministry of Education. The criteria for the selection of schools are being worked on by the DFID education team.

2 – A challenge fund aimed at strengthening transparency and accountability in the education sector, helping local people hold to account head teachers who steal funds or indulge in corrupt procurement, absentee teachers, and District Education Officers responsible for monitoring expenditure etc. A variety of organisations will be eligible to put forward proposals including civil society organisations, NGOs, the media, and private sector foundations

3 – Support for strengthening Government systems to build the Ministry of Education’s capacity to make essential improvements in financial management, and support to innovative projects that will improve the quality and equity of education provided in Kenyan schools, particularly the targeting of resources to the neediest children. e.g. using ICT in schools.

She said that DfID will be discussing the detail of these ideas with the Government and potential partners over the next few weeks but added that final decisions on the focus and balance of spending will rest with DfID ministers in London.

“The education fraud is an opportunity for Government to take action, by carrying out a full and detailed audit covering the period when it happened, and then holding staff to account for what they did,”  concluded the statement.


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