Understanding Kenya’s Democracy Through Rigorous Evaluation

Kenya’s 2010 Constitution revolutionized the system of governance in Kenya, creating 47 new devolved government unite and creating a multitude of new challenges and opportunities for governance programming. DFID Kenya’s Deepening Democracy Program (DDP) seeks to enhance accountable governance in Kenya through integrated support to electoral processes, institutional capacity building on anti-corruption, climate change governance, and citizen-led social accountability initiatives. Sayara was contracted to undertake a mid-term review of DDP to provide feedback to DFID on the program’s strategic approach, theory of change, successes, and lessons learned. 

Sayara designed a rigorous evaluation approach based on OECD/DAC’s evaluation guidelines and DFID’s programmatic needs. The primarily qualitative methodology included interviews with DDP implementing partners, downstream partners, program beneficiaries, and external experts. Key informant interviews were tailored to each of the DDP workstreams and focused on relevance, learning, value for money, effectiveness, sustainability, and future program planning. Review of scholarly literature on best practices in DDP’s workstreams also informed Sayara’s interview guides and analysis of qualitative data. DDP’s approaches were benchmarked against evidence of what works in the fields of social accountability, electoral systems strengthening, and climate change. Sayara also conducted observation of program activities and extensive analysis of program documents from the DFID’s management service provider and implementing partners. 

Finally, Sayara selected two case studies to provide in depth analysis of key issues in relation to social accountability and climate change. Focusing in on (1) DDPs climate change governance programming in Turkana County and (2) layered interventions on social accountability in Busia County, Sayara highlighted the contextual nuance about how DFID’s investments in Kenya are impacting at the hyper-local level. 

Climate Change Governance Expertise

Of Kenya’s 47 counties, a significant number are extremely vulnerable to climate change impacts. Recognizing this, DDP included $6.5 million in International Climate Finance funds for programming in Kenya. Analysis of climate change programming is a highly technical area, requiring specialized expertise to review program approaches. Sayara’s Regional Advisor for Climate Change led the research and analysis related to DDP’s theory of change, program interventions and future programmatic directions for DFID’s climate change governance programming in Kenya. Sayara’s findings highlighted the importance of science-based interventions, vulnerability assessments, and integration of communities’ indigenous knowledge into climate change governance initiatives. Insights from Sayara’s analysis during the mid-review helped to inform new directions for the remainder of DDP’s programming implementation on climate change governance. 

Sayara’s analysis across DDP’s workstreams provided insights to inform DFID’s design of new programs in the area of elections, anti-corruption, civil society strengthening, and climate change governance. As Kenya begins its second decade of implementing a new constitution, these programs form an important part of supporting the government and people of Kenya achieve the promise of devolved governance.