Where the horizontal meets the vertical

Janet Mawiyoo and Caesar Ngule

From 1997 to 2010, Kenya enjoyed a significant share of foreign aid with many organizations depending entirely on it for their operation. Following the recession and the subsequent reclassification of Kenya as a low- to middle-income country, aid flows have fallen off. Through these changes, Kenya Community Development Foundation (KCDF) and similar groups have persisted in promoting a model that seeks to entrench local giving and to support this horizontal form of philanthropy by using the funds it raises to catalyse funding from external sources.

An illustration of the way this works is our Pamoja4Change programme (P4C) for community-based organizations. The idea of P4C is to promote, through local giving, sustainable community-driven projects which then lead to greater self-reliance in that community. It brings together horizontal and vertical forms of giving. Supported by a matching grant, communities pool their own resources to begin projects and are mentored and assisted with organizational development by KCDF to promote local giving from a range of sources, including low-income individuals, giving from the better-off and local government funds.

Community members were excited to see what their local fundraising efforts yielded and even volunteered to give their time and labour in digging trenches and laying pipes.

One recipient was the Malaa Self Help Group (MSHG). This community’s greatest problem is lack of access to clean potable water. Initially, the group had struggled to raise funds locally, but, following a two-day training session by KCDF, MSHG was able to rally support for a borehole project, first among the parents of students at the local secondary school, where the lack of water was particularly felt, then among other local institutions like churches and shopkeepers, and finally among key external stakeholders such as the Water Services Trust Fund and the county government. With KCDF’s pledge, 2.9 million Kenyan shillings (US$28,600) was raised to successfully implement and launch the water project.

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