Rais Mashinani signals shift to bottom-up approach to issues

A section of Huduma Centre in Nairobi. [File: David Njaaga,Standard]

Traditionally, the Government has been offering public services from static offices situated in major towns or county headquarters.

To access the services, most citizens travelled long distances, which was expensive and inconveniencing.

The situation is compounded by citizens’ lack of information or misinformation in regard to various services offered by the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs.

This is why we initiated the Huduma Mashinani model, which has significantly addressed these challenges by bringing public services and information to the grassroots.

However, Rais Mashinani, a new initiative which will be launched in Kiambu today by President Uhuru Kenyatta, moves a step further to bring the Presidency to the grassroots.

Rais Mashinani will enable the President to engage with citizens directly, listen to their needs and articulate Government policy and direction.

It will also enhance direct engagement between State officials and citizens at the grassroots.

Citizen’s access

The programme will further improve citizens’ access to pertinent public services offered by the ministry through Huduma Centres and the Affirmative Action Fund while creating awareness of the Big 4 Agenda to the general public at the grassroots level.

The President’s efforts in ensuring that all Kenyans are made aware of and access Government services at their convenience using the Rais Mashinani programme is in line with the constitutional requirement that all citizens must have access to high quality services.

The ministry has identified 50 National Youth Service (NYS) service men and women who have already graduated as Huduma Champions.

These champions will move from house to house sensitising citizens on Government services, where they are provided, their requirements and cost.

The Huduma Champions have been trained in what they are expected to do and will refer citizens to various service delivery points, including Huduma Centres.

Kiambu County, like all the 47 counties in the country, has a Huduma Centre which has deployed many services, including issuance of national identity cards, National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) registration, issuance of birth certificates and Kenya Revenue Authority services.

Through the Huduma Centre in Kiambu, we have organised a number of Huduma Mobile outreaches in various parts of the county to ensure that as many people within the area have been reached and served at their convenience.

The ministry is very alive to the Big Four Agenda and we are doing everything possible to contribute to its achievement.

Under affordable health care, we have deployed health services in all Huduma Centres.

These services include: NHIF registration, HIV and Aids-related services, blood pressure and Body Mass Index testing and advice on nutrition.

Birth certificates

Additionally, we are supporting the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in selected pilot counties by ensuring that citizens receive their birth certificates through Huduma Mashinani programmes as this is one of the requirements to qualify for the programme.

In doing so, we shall be supporting the UHC objective, which is to ensure that Kenyans receive quality health services.

In contribution to the agenda on manufacturing, we have deployed various services in Huduma Centres.

These include the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, issuance of Access to Government Procurement (AGPO) certificates, business registration services, electricity services, Affirmative Action Funds and registration of self-help groups.

In support of the agenda on affordable housing, we have deployed National Construction Authority services in Huduma Centres so that citizens can easily access them.

On the agenda on agriculture and food security, we have deployed agricultural extension and National Drought Management Authority services as well as the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service.

To effectively enhance Huduma Mashinani services at the grassroots level, we have launched Huduma buses, which will make it easier to reach more Kenyans in the country.

The ministry will continue to deploy more services in Huduma Centres to ensure that Kenyans continue to receive public services that they deserve, easily and conveniently.

Prof. Kobia is the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs.