The Constitution mandates the Commission to determine, publish and regularly review a policy in which it sets out the criteria by which to identify the marginalised areas for purposes of the Equalisation Fund. The first such policy was published in 2013 and applied subsequently.
Two key factors contributed to marginalisation: colonial policies and practices, and inadequate post colonial corrective redistributive policies. These factors limited access to services by some ccommunities /areas. In effect, marginalisation in Kenya is largely matter of exclusion from participation in integrated social and economic development.
This policy is anchored on five key principles; namely: subsidiarity, equity and inclusivity, distributive justice, transparency in resource distribution and use, and public participation in the application and management of public finance.
The first marginalisation policy used county as the unit of focus. The Policy used information on historical injustices, a survey of the 47 counties and an index of county development calculated from information on poverty levels, status of roads, access to and use of electricity, clean water, improved sanitation and health, and levels of literacy.
The policy also included revenue sharing criteria. The Equalisation Fund Advisory Board gave guidance to beneficiary counties on identification of projects. Key considerations in project identification included the completion of stalled or on-going projects, those beneficial to more than one constituency, projects included in the County Integrated Development Plans (CIDPs) and those with potential for creating jobs and promoting economic growth.
However, using the county as a unit of focus masked significant intra-county differences
that compromised opportunities for preference matching and impact optimization. In addition, field visits revealed that projects proposed under the first policy failed to benefit from broad public participation, spanned too many sectors, were not well targeted and suffered from slow disbursement of funds. Because functions identified in the Constitution for benefitting from the Equalisation Fund are concurrent, the management arrangement should have made provisions for better project- implementation coordination between the national and county governments. These shortcomings of the first policy and the experiences drawn from other countries informed the design of the second policy.
In this second policy, focus has shifted from the identification of marginalised counties identification of marginalised areas, guided by the smallest administrative unit1 for which data is available. This meant that deprived areas in otherwise well-developed counties had a chance of being identified as marginalised. Similarly, developed areas in otherwise poor counties would be excluded from consideration.
To identify marginalised areas, an index of deprivation was constructed by using information on access to safe water, school attendance, access to improved sanitation and electricity, using the principal component analysis. The deprivation index was used to rank 7,131 areas from the most deprived to the least deprived.
The Commission recognised that even within marginalised areas, there are some minorities that need special consideration. Using a combination of selected anthropological approaches, the Endorois, Ilchamus, Sengwer, Waata, Elmolo, Aweer-Boni, Makonde, Yaaku and Ndorobo-Saleta were identified as minority groups resident in Kenya. Of these minority groups, the Elmolo, Makonde, Waata and Dorobo-Salieta were found to be the most deserving of special consideration in improvement of services to the levels enjoyed elsewhere in the country.
Taking the modest size of the Fund into consideration and noting the existence of other mechanisms for improving service delivery across the country, interventions under the Equalisation Fund should target bottom 20 per cent of the deprivation ranking. This second policy therefore identifies 1,424 areas as marginalised.
The Policy recommends for the strengthening and rationalisation of implementation mechanisms by: setting up project implementation units at the divisional level with Assistant County Commissioner as the Chair, financing of only three priority areas, preparing operational guidelines, strengthening public participation, deliberately targeting minorities within marginalised areas, and ensuring timely disbursement and utilisation of funds.