The Global centre for Civic Education (GCCE) is a grass root civil society organisation that works to empower the marginalized and vulnerable citizens to claim their rights space in local development and governance processes. As an organization, GCCE was first formed as a Community Based Organization to advocate for socio-economic rights of the marginalized groups and disadvantaged ethnic minorities in former Wajir East and South Districts in the year 2011 and has since legally existed as a fully fledged national Non Governmental Organisation. With head office in Wajir Town, Wajir County and support office in Garissa, Mandera and Tana River Counties in the Republic of Kenya.
Our operations cover mainly Northern Counties i.e. Wajir, Mandera, Garissa and Tana River Counties and our core business that we seek to address in the community is the low capacity of the marginalized and vulnerable groups to engage with and participate in the decision making processes around the constitutional reforms and the development process in general.
Governance and Implementation
In terms of governance, GCCE has two major structures namely the board of trustee (BT), which is the supreme decision making body including policies direction and sets operational systems for the organization. The members of this board (who are 9 in number) are elected from among the CSOs sectors, and the community members we serve.
Below the BT is the Secretariat which has the Management Team (MT) and various cadres of staff (head of Programme, Programme Officers, Finance/Accounts, ICT and Corporate communication and digital marketing). The Secretariat is charged with the implementation of the policies and programmes, and the running of the organization on a day to day basis.
The organization implements its mandates through well established collaboration with other like-minded organizations and hence has developed a large network of community based organization (CBOs), Faith based organization (FBOs), non-governmental organization (NGO) and other state practitioners, including county government, county assembly, office of controller of budgets. At national level GCCE works and collaborates with peers and major civil society organizations like Clarion, VSO, SUPKEM, Kenya Human Right Commission, Amkeni Wakenya, Uraia Trust, Budget partnership international, office of auditor general.
Our Membership and Involvement
GCCE is a founding member of The Devolution Forum (TDF), a network of CSOs that is non-partisan organized and established to secure devolution at national and county level. GCCE is a member of Wajir County CSOs consortium (Umbrella for civil society in Wajir).
We are also a waiting member of the constitution and reform education consortium (CRECO), a network of civil society organizations that seeks to have a just governance, constitutionalism and respect for the rule of law, and the Social Audit Learning Platform (SALG) a network of CSO’s promoting social accountability and management of decentralized funds in Kenya.
GCCE is a voting member of CIVICUS, the world alliance for civic participation, an international alliance of members and partners which constitutes an influential network organizations at local, national, regional and international level, and spans the spectrum of civil of civil society.
The Mandate of GCCE is that of empowering vulnerable groups through training, advocacy, networking and collaboration in areas of human and constitutional rights, and equitable distribution of resources and governance in general.
Constitutional-ism and Devolution
The Constitution of Kenya 2010 provides for a devolved system of governance, however, devolution like other forms of decentralization does not automatically lead to improved governance and economic performance. For instance, devolution may lead to capture of local governments by the political elites, especially if devolution rules and systems are not well designed, and hence allow the local politicians to use the public resources to consolidate their support and hold onto political power through patronage.
By moving all decisions further out from the national limelight, devolution risks permitting greater levels of corruption and mismanagement of resources. This is prevalent where community members lack awareness as to their roles and capacity to claim their rights. The risk of corruption is higher in the absence of mechanisms to enable the community to effectively monitor and evaluate the usage of the devolved funds that go hand in hand with devolution. This is exactly the situation that the people of northern Counties are likely to find themselves in if nothing is done to empower them on the already established county governments.
Good Governance and Accountability
The root causes of the low capacity for engagement among the marginalized and vulnerable groups include lack of political goodwill from the elites who control the power for societal decision making. There has been historical injustices and exclusion of ethnic minority communities by successive governments from colonial times to date. The communities themselves are faced with lack of awareness on the constitution, legal and developmental frameworks hence are unable to claim their rights. There is generally poor governance practice among state and non state actors. The policies for rural development such as the CDF Act, are not pro-poor and hence not supportive to the emancipation of the marginalized and vulnerable. This is further complicated by the fairly entrenched public apathy to injustices.
Some of the side effects of this low capacity of the marginalized and vulnerable communities to participate in decision making and claiming their rights has been; negative ethnicity, spiraling poverty, corruption and wastage of public resources; inequitable development, high prevalence of human rights abuses, impunity and lawlessness.
Beneficiaries of GCCE include disadvantaged ethnic minorities, women, youth, children, Persons with mobility challenge (PWMC) and the poor in general.