Community participation has remained a key concept in the development process in Kenya and many parts of the world today. Local Authority Service Delivery Action Planning (LASDAP) was meant to achieve community participation with participatory monitoring and evaluation as the driving force within the local authorities in Kenya. Many projects have been implemented across Bondo Sub County yet no study has been carried out to determine the effect of participatory monitoring and evaluation on the LASDAP project implementation. The study therefore intended to investigate the perceived effects of participatory monitoring and evaluation on the LASDAP project implementation in the former Bondo County Council now named Bondo Sub County in the new structure of county government in Kenya. Ex-post- facto design was used in the study to examine the effects of participatory monitoring and evaluation since it was introduced in 2008. The target population of the study were the beneficiaries of the LASDAP projects whereas the accessible population were 1260 LASDAP project committee members within the Bondo sub-county. Multi-stage sampling method was used to select seven wards out of the 14 wards. 42 projects were selected using both purposive and simple random sampling methods from the eight wards. Seven respondents were selected from each of the 42 projects. Purposive sampling method was then used to select 3 females and simple random sampling method to select four males respectively to yield a study sample of 294 respondents. Questionnaires were used to collect data. Validity of the instruments was examined by a team of experts from the department of Applied Community Development Studies. The questionnaires were pilot tested in Gem sub- county formerly Siaya county council for reliability and a reliability coefficient of 0.78 obtained. Data collected was analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) V.20. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze data, which included frequencies, means, percentages and standard deviations to determine the associations and trends in the interactions of variables. The study found that PM&E in general improved the LASDAP process and especially stakeholder relationships. However, there were mixed reactions regarding cost efficiency in project implementation. These findings led to the recommendation that the county government adopt monitoring structures used by the defunct local authorities in current and future projects.

Background Information
Community participation in matters of governance has remained a concern not just in Africa but in the entire world. George & Kirkpatrick (2007) analyzing Agenda 21 of the UN conference on environment and development in Rio de Jeneiro in 1992 recommended that each local authority ought to enter into dialogue with its citizens, local organizations and private enterprises and adopt a local agenda. The report further indicated that through consultation and consensus building, local authorities would acquire the information needed for formulating the best strategies for achieving sustainable development. In Africa, participatory monitoring and evaluation is rapidly gaining attention from governments, civil society, and international development agencies as an innovative platform for strengthening citizens’ voice in budgetary processes and in the delivery of public goods and services. It is increasingly recognized that participatory monitoring and evaluation is not only an effective mechanism for African cities to improve targeting of public resources to the poor, but also a new tool, in support of decentralization and social accountability (UN-HABITAT, 2008).

Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation (PM&E) in the LASDAP process borrows heavily from Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA). PRA puts strong emphasis on participatory development or people centered development and the key philosophy driving PRA was empowerment of the rural communities by way of fast tracking the development process through participatory monitoring and evaluation (Edmunds & Merchant, 2008). Similarly for purposes of ownership and sustainability of projects, it is imperative that the beneficiaries take part in the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of projects (Kibua & Mwabu, 2008). Wider participation ensures that stakeholder concerns are adequately addressed, regional development is equitable and administration and utilization of public resources is efficient.

Participatory monitoring and evaluation has gained greater use in many parts of the world. The World Bank (2005), indicates that many governments in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region had gained an increased understanding of the value of monitoring and evaluation (M&E). The report notes that monitoring and evaluating the performance of public programs and institutions can help increase their effectiveness, providing more accountability and transparency in how public monies are used. Mayors from Eastern and Southern Africa’s meeting held in Harare recommended that municipalities should work with rate payers to develop participatory budgets (Kundishora, 2004). The concept of participatory planning, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation is an annual process of democratic decision-making in which ordinary city residents and other stakeholders decide how to allocate part of a municipal budget. Embracing of this idea is welcome, since it comes against the realization that municipalities in most developing countries, Africa in particular, have not seriously considered participatory approaches in their governance programs as an important concept. Kumar (1993), notes that although in Africa participatory monitoring and evaluation is gaining ground in central and devolved governments and other institutions, many countries are still plagued by poor transparency and weak accountability. This is due to a closed-door budget process, weak accounting and reporting systems, ineffective audits and exclusion of civil society from dialogue.

The introduction of the Local Authority Service Delivery Action Planning (LASDAP) in 2002 in Kenya by the then Ministry of Local Government created an entry point for local authorities to constructively engage with their citizens on matters of planning and development and its introduction was greeted with wide local and regional acclaim (Republic of Kenya, ROK, 2009). The objective of the LASDAP was to improve efficiency and accountability in the operations of local authorities (LAs). In particular, LASDAP process had focused on improving several aspects of local authority management and these included; service delivery, financial management including budgeting, participatory planning and local governance, revenue mobilisation, monitoring and evaluation, institutional reforms, fiscal and overall decentralisation. Preparation of the plan in the first instance enables local authorities to access the Local Authority Transfer Fund (LATF) which is five percent of the revenue raised through domestic taxes by the government. LASDAP provides a planning link between county government, citizens and other stakeholders.

In addition LASDAP provides a forum for annual consultations, monitoring and feedback mechanism to communities, the then Ministry of Local Government and now Ministry of Planning and Devolution, civic leaders, the private sector and donors (ROK, 2010 b). The LASDAP guidelines also provided for project management committees (PMCs) who were the elected representatives of the beneficiaries and worked hand with other stakeholders to spearhead the PM&E within the LASDAP process. The guide lines stated ability to read, write, and minimum skills in leadership or supervisory work as the eligibility for PMC membership.

In Uganda, for example, whilst civic organizations are anxious to participate in budget and monitoring meetings, the culture of suspicion and confrontation between them and local authorities created acrimonious relationship between the two sides. Matovu & Mumvuma (2008) note that councils are able to get away with this because the legislative framework is not definitive on what the involvement of civic organizations entail. The researchers further argue that in order to implement decentralization successfully, challenges and constraints that influence governance must be overcome. The researchers further add that absence of transparency and accountability in local government has led to corruption and outright abuse of public office. A well empowered citizenry they note is needed to ensure accountability and the prevention of corruption. Introduction of participatory budgeting can be a sound vehicle in realizing good governance and fighting poverty.

Bondo sub-county was chosen because it had implemented several Local authority service delivery action planning (LASDAP) projects since 2008 with PM&E as the guiding vehicle. Bondo sub-county is divided into 14 wards within which at least 5 projects have been implemented per ward. Participatory monitoring and evaluation has been carried out through setting up of project management committees who oversee the project implementation. The projects include classrooms, health facilities, roads, environmental and sanitary facilities. It is expected that quality, cost and rate of implementation as well as stakeholder/beneficiary involvement in Bondo is enhanced. Many projects have since been initiated and implemented across the sub-county through the LASDAP process and a lot is expected to have changed over the past five years in terms of service delivery. In Bondo no study has been carried out to establish the impact of PM&E in the initiation and implementation process in of the various projects hence this study.

Statement of the Problem.
Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation (PM&E) is a major concept in the Local authority service delivery action planning (LASDAP) process basically designed to improve good governance and proper utilization of resources for the benefit of the wider public. The objective of the local authority service delivery action planning (LASDAP) process was to improve the process of development planning by creating an all-inclusive, accountable and transparent development process. Since the inception of PM&E on LASDAP in 2008, several projects have been implemented but no study has been carried out to determine the effect of PM&E on LASDAP project implementation in Bondo sub-county and whether there is change in the management of project implementation hence this study.

Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study was to investigate how participatory monitoring and evaluation contributed to the Local Authority Service Delivery Action Planning (LASDAP) process within Bondo sub-county.

Objectives of the study
The objectives were to:

i. determine the perceived effect of Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation (PM&E) on the relationship between the service providers and the beneficiaries in the Local Authority Service Delivery Action Plan LASDAP process,

ii. investigate the perceived effect of PM&E on the quality of projects implemented through the LASDAP process,

iii. determine the perceived effect of PM&E on cost efficiency in the implementation of the LASDAP projects

iv. determine the perceived effect of PM&E on the rate of completion of the LASDAP projects.

Research Questions
i. What is the perceived effect of PM&E on the relationship between the service providers and the beneficiaries in the LASDAP process?

ii. What is the perceived effect of PM&E on the quality of projects implemented through the LASDAP process?

iii. What is the perceived effect of PM&E on the cost efficiency in the implementation of the LASDAP projects?

iv. What is the perceived effect of PM&E on the rate of completion of the LASDAP projects?

Significance of the study
The study was expected to generate crucial information to various stakeholders and players in the development sector. Key among them was Bondo sub-county and by extension the Ministry of Planning and Devolution who are the main players in the LASDAP process. Several Ministries and organizations concerned with welfare matters and whose clientele have been beneficiaries of project undertakings were also to benefit from the study. These welfare providers and government departments would use the findings to scale up the bottom-up planning methodologies in the wake of introduction of devolution in Kenya. Learning and research institutions from Kenya and beyond would also benefit from the findings of the study as the research topic is one of the contemporary issues in modern management in Kenya and the world as a whole.

The findings can be used to advance knowledge and training on participatory monitoring and evaluation. The general public was also expected to benefit as new methods of fostering and improving relationships during LASDAP projects undertakings could be discovered or the existing ones strengthened. In particular there was need for gaining more insight in developing and improving the framework for reporting, establishing and strengthening partnerships, collaborations and more so put emphasis on realizing the desired level of satisfaction from implementers and beneficiaries. Above all, the study could add to the existing body of knowledge in participatory monitoring and evaluation as a contemporary subject with regard to improvement of quality, cost efficiency and rate of completion of projects.

Scope of the study
The study focused on participatory monitoring and evaluation activities and the role it had played in LASDAP project implementation within Bondo sub-county. The study was expected to take a review of the implementation of sampled projects funded through LASDAP in a period of 5 years and the impact the aspect of PM&E had on it. In particular, the study focused on the effect PM&E as conducted by LASDAP project management committees had on stakeholder relationship, project quality, cost efficiency and rate of completion of projects. The study engaged various project management committee members within the wards where the projects were implemented.

Assumptions of the study
The study was based on following assumptions:

i. That the respondents were honest and that they provided accurate information to the research questions presented.

ii. That the project data and information provided by the relevant institutions were genuine and credible

Limitations of the study
i. Unavailability of project financial reports or and busy respondents. The researcher in these circumstances made prior arrangement such as flexible time schedules that took care of very busy respondents as well as issue prior requests in good time for availing of reports.

ii. Unprecedented circumstances such as extreme weather conditions and geographical terrain. Reliable transport arrangements were made and a good network was created with the local security apparatus that would take care of emergencies cases.

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Item Type: Kenyan Topic  |  Size: 64 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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