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Public Policy and Administration


Morris Bidjerano


The Constitution of Kenya mandates public participation to be observed in all processes of policy review and policy design. Despite the well-intended provision, far-reaching meaningful involvement of the public in policy development has largely failed to materialize; yet, the voice of the public in policy design remains an important success factor to inclusive and sustainable development. The purpose of this case study was to understand how public participation was influenced by the relationships between nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and the Nairobi County government, while designing the Nairobi City County Public Participation Act of 2015. The theoretical framework for this study was Kingdon’s multiple streams approach. The research questions focused on understanding whether meaningful public participation in design of the policy in Nairobi County was achieved through established relationships between the county government and nongovernmental organizations. An interpretivist research approach was adopted, using data from 20 purposively selected policy stakeholders who participated in development of the policy. Data from the interviews were coded, categorized, and thematically analyzed. Results indicate that policy relationships between NGOs and the county government influenced how the voice of the public informed the design of the policy. The policy relationships created a suitable environment that enabled bottom-up policy development. The implications for positive social change include using these results to strengthen public participation approaches in policy design. This sustained application will progressively contribute to implementation of the Constitution to the letter and spirit, thereby improving the quality of life of the residents of Nairobi.

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