The year 2017 has been quite eventful not only for Kenya but also Kara. The prolonged political climate impacted on a number of plans we had for the year. Nonetheless, with your unwavering support we were still able to record a number of milestones aimed at enhancing access to quality service delivery. Thank you for your partnership, friendship and support.  

Following successful enactment of the Nairobi City County Community and Neighbourhood Associations Engagement Act, 2016, Kara is now represented in the Planning Approval Committee of Nairobi County. We intend to exploit this representation to have a stronger say on development planning for the City. Additionally, Kara signed a cooperation agreement with the County Government detailing specific areas of partnership that are of interest to our members. We also held two Governor’s Roundtable forum with Resident Associations to deliberate on service delivery issues as provided for in the new law.

The successful enactment of Resident Associations law for Nairobi County led us to work with key stakeholders in Kiambu County and the Kiambu County Community and Neighborhood Associations Promotion of Participation and Engagement Act was formulated and enacted during the year. Our focus now shifts to supporting full implementation of the laws. We also intend to work with more Counties to have similar legislations in place and we have already started actively engaging three Counties on the same.  

In regard to the general elections, we were keen to ensure that citizens made informed choices and elected individuals capable of providing transformative leadership for better service delivery. We therefore hosted a series of gubernatorial candidates debate in various Counties ahead of the 8th August 2017 elections. The debates provided an opportunity for County residents to interrogate candidates for governor position and make a decision on the right person for the job.

We also worked with a number of our members to organize debates for Members of Parliament and Members of County Assembly for their respective constituencies and wards. We were also honoured to be accredited by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission as an observer in the 8th August and 26th October 2017 elections. We appreciate our members who volunteered to be observers under Kara.   

Our Bimonthly Talk Series (BTS) forums continue to flourish and we hosted several distinguished speakers from the government, private sector, academia and civil society, who engaged our members, partners and friends on key service delivery issues. We have so far hosted over fifty forums in the past seven years and intend to make future forums better and more value-adding to participants.  

After successfully advocating for the enactment of Solid Waste Management Act for Nairobi County, we embarked on formulation of regulations for the Act to facilitate its implementation. That process is now complete and the regulations will be handed over to the County Government to take it through their internal processes. Due to the success of this initiative, we have commenced a project that will see us partner with 11 Counties to support them in developing Solid Waste Management Bills and Policies in order to facilitate effective management of solid waste.   

As you may be aware, Section 12 of the Urban Areas and Cities Act requires that Urban Boards shall be established to manage service delivery in Cities and Municipalities. The Boards are expected to have representation of neighbourhood associations. The process of establishing the boards is expected to commence in 2018 and Kara is a co-convener of the Urban Boards Non-State Nominating Agency (UBNA) that will play an active role in nominating representatives to the Board. We will soon request members to indicate their interest to be nominated to the Boards in various Counties. 

Kara was appointed to sit in the National Addressing System (NAS) Committee which is charged with the role of ensuring the establishment of a NAS with consistent and uniform standards throughout Kenya. NAS provides a framework through which service providers can deliver quality, efficient and effective services like security, postal, ambulance, fire, health, water, electricity, telecommunication services, which will be made easily accessible. More details on your roles and responsibilities in development and operationalization of the system will be shared in due course.

We successfully hosted the 2nd Kara Business Expo & Conference event on 1st to 3rd December 2017 under the theme: Enhancing quality of urban life through Resident Associations. The event provides a platform for Resident Associations and the wider public to network and directly engage service providers both from the private and public sectors on service delivery issues. The key activity of the event was the hosting of the first ever Annual Resident Associations Excellence Awards ceremony designed to celebrate the work of Resident Associations in Kenya and reward those that have done exceptionally well in influencing provision of better services and championing the interests of their members. We appreciate Prof. Judi Wakhungu, Cabinet Secretary for Environment & Natural Resources for presiding over the awards ceremony. We congratulate the winners and look forward to making the awards even bigger and exciting in 2018.

Finally, in order to streamline our activities and serve you better, we will be launching a new strategic plan in 2018 that gives a roadmap of our plans for the next five years. The draft plan will be shared with you soon for your input before we finalize the process. We are confident that with your steadfast support and the strategic plan in place, we will be able to achieve greater milestones in the coming years. More details of the achievements on our advocacy work will be shared in our annual report and at the Annual General Meeting.

We appreciate all our partners from the government, private sector and donor community who worked very closely with us during the year to realize our successes. We are most grateful to our members for their feedback, support and confidence in the Association. We also appreciate the Kara Governing Council members for their guidance to the secretariat and strong commitment despite serving on a voluntary basis. Last but not least, I’m proud of my team at the secretariat who have gone beyond call of duty on numerous occasions and worked tirelessly to deliver impressive results.

Please note that the Kara secretariat offices will remain closed from Monday, 18th December 2017 and reopen on Wednesday, 3rd January 2018. We will however have intermittent access to emails incase of any urgent matters that require our attention. We thank you for your support in 2017 and wish you a merry Christmas and a prosperous new year.