USAID Meets with MCLD-Kenya

“I’m Here to Listen and Explore How USAID Can Work Closely with Local Organizations”

Michele Sumilas, USAID’s Assistant Administrator while Meeting Kenya’s CBOs

On May 27, 2022, Movement for Community-Led Development (MCLD) Kenya Chapter hosted USAID’s delegation led by Ms. Michele Sumilas, Assistant to the Administrator of the Bureau for Policy, Planning, and Learning (PPL). The session, which involved participation from a section of Chapter member-community-based organizations (CBOs) and county and national governments, provided a unique platform for the Chapter and USAID to identify and explore potential areas of collaboration to strengthen genuine community-led development (CLD).

“I’m here to listen and explore how USAID can work closely with local organizations in Kenya to strengthen locally-led development,” says Michele “I’m also here to learn how USAID can improve its development work for all,” 

CBOs present shared their experiences on why CLD and funding of grass-root organizations are key in achieving genuine localization of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “Just with volunteerism, we are already doing a lot of transformative work by championing the rights of girls and women in the informal settlement,” says Esther Wazirana, leader of Nawiri Dada, an organization focused on empowering girls and women. “We believe that funding CBOs like us will help empower hundreds of girls and women with life skills, address gender-based violence and achieve economic empowerment,”

 “As a government, we are proud of our collaboration with MCLD to scale up CLD activities at the county. We call on donors like USAID to also work closely with county governments to strengthen devolution,” says Zippy Wambua, Director of Public Participation and Citizen Engagement at Makueni County Government. MCLD and the county are collaborating in establishing the Makueni CLD School that will serve as a resource center for strengthening the capacity of communities, county government officials, and civil society on various CLD issues.

“USAID’s Locally-Led Development initiative aligns with MCLD goals and spirit of genuine bottom-up development. We see various convergence points and we’re happy about collaborating to put communities at the front and center of their own development,” says Steve Ogutu, MCLD Kenya Coordinator.

MCLD Kenya is collaborating with over 60 CBOs spread across Kenya, addressing pressing issues around women and youth empowerment, climate change, governance, human rights, and food security among others. In addition to Makueni, the Chapter is also partnering with Bomet and Kisumu County governments to integrate CLD in their development initiatives, particularly focused on women and youth empowerment.