Local governments supported by The Challenge Initiative (TCI) need to stay up to date on the latest practices and strategies in financial management to successfully manage their family planning programs once TCI’s direct support ends. So TCI recently facilitated a learning exchange exclusively for local government officials in Kenya called a knowledge cafe – an innovative approach to learning and networking.
This event was designed to share insights, best practices, and success stories in financial management, ultimately leading to better financial outcomes for the communities they serve. Clara Kerich, the Reproductive Health Coordinator in Nakuru County, Kenya, said:
Unlike traditional conferences or seminars, the knowledge cafe provided us a more interactive and participatory experience. We actively engaged in discussions, shared our own experiences, and learned from our colleagues.”
Through this open exchange of ideas, local government officials gained valuable insights into various financial management techniques shared by TCI’s partners ThinkWell, Nakuru County and the Council of Governors. By bringing together experts in the field, TCI ensured that participants have access to the most up-to-date information and strategies. Levis Onsase, TCI’s Manager for Nakuru County, noted:
The main objective of the knowledge café was to equip local government officials with the necessary knowledge and skills to improve financial management and learn how to mobilize resources within their respective communities.”
During the knowledge cafe, participants had the opportunity to learn from Nakuru County stakeholders that have successfully implemented innovative financial management practices. ThinkWell and the Council of Governors facilitated the conversations and shared best practices from their extensive experience working with different governments. Both organizations have been instrumental in coaching local government implementers on financial resource management. Dr. Mutakha Kangu said:
One of the key takeaways from the knowledge cafe was the importance of transparency and accountability in financial management. Participants emphasized the need for clear financial reporting mechanisms and regular audits to ensure that public funds are utilized efficiently.”
Participants also highlighted the significance of engaging citizens in the budgeting process and seeking their input on priority areas for investment. Such inclusive approaches not only enhance financial management but also build trust between governments and their constituents.
Dr. Joy Mugambi, the Acting County Director of Health and Planning in Nakuru County, also highlighted the financial successes and challenges faced, and how they have been able to address them. Dr. Mugambi shared:
Political and technical leaders are the decision-makers needed on the table. However, they need to see the impact the strategies you are proposing to them. This exchange of ideas has helped us as an idea to even sharpen our skills on resource mobilization. For example, we have the corporate organizations supporting us during health outreaches to the community.”
The exchange of ideas and experiences among participants also fostered a collaborative learning environment where everyone benefitted from the expertise of Council of Governors and ThinkWell presentations on Harnessing Facility Improvement Funds towards implementation of family planning and adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health interventions.
This networking aspect is crucial in building a strong community of practice where local governments can support each other in their pursuit of better financial management. TCI aims to create more opportunities like this so local governments can continue to improve their financial outcomes and ultimately serve their communities more effectively.