The University at Albany’s work with the Kenyan government to implement its 2010 constitution was rewarded Tuesday with a nearly $50 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development.
The grant will help the Center for International Development at UAlbany work on Kenyan government development for the next five years.
The center has been running a “parliamentary strengthening” program to help the country create county governments and a national senate. The 2010 constitution instituted 47 new county governments and the national senate, but creating them has been slow work.
Kenya needs to develop ways to encourage collaboration among counties, strengthen policy-making at the county level and develop tools to manage county assets, school officials said. UAlbany is working on those goals, while also helping train county government officials.
The center also will implement the Agile and Harmonized Assistance for Devolved Institutions Project, which provides nearly $50 million over five years for work in Kenya. The AHADI Project goals are to improve county governance, citizen representation and oversight and the county system through collaboration, according to USAID.
The name of the project means “promise” in Kiswahili, a language of Kenya. The promise of the 2010 constitution was to make government more transparent, accountable, effective and responsive, school officials said.
The UAlbany Center for International Development team includes many Kenyan agencies, but it was not certain the team would be chosen for the grant.
“We are humbled and honored that USAID has chosen us to work side-by-side with our partners in Kenya on this initiative,” said center Director Malcolm Russell-Einhorn.
The center has partnered with the Kenyan parliament since 2000, helping it better represent citizens and oversee the executive branch.
That work allowed the center to build strong relationships with Kenyan groups, a connection school officials said would be critical to the AHADI Project’s success.
“This project exemplifies the university’s commitment to global engagement,” said University at Albany President Robert J. Jones.
The funding will help the Kenyans “attain the next level of citizen-involved government,” he said.