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Reasons why you Need to be Involved in Policy Processes

Laws and policies are the most powerful documents that can be used against someone. Just like people sign contracts and later they realize they made a mistake, is the same way people leave the policy making process to other people. But later, everyone suffers from their negligence. 

A group of men and women gathered together with a clip board and pens | © Blings Copilot

Public Participation (Blings Copilot)

5 Reasons why you Need to be Involved in Policy Processes

Recently, the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection developed the draft Persons with Disabilities National Policy, 2024, and extended an invitation for memoranda submissions and public participation. This shows that the government is doing its job by ensuring the process is inclusive and transparent.

Citizens, also have a crucial role to play. 

Reading Policy Documents

Reading draft policy and policy documents, enables citizens to know their rights and responsibilities. They will identify the gaps that the policy has and if it is a draft policy, they can be able to contribute to it in a public participation forum.

Without knowledge of the rights, citizens contribute to the violation of their rights. For example, many persons with disabilities in Kenya pay to access recreational or sports facilities owned or operated by the government, yet they are not supposed to do so by law. 

Benefits of Citizen Involvement in Policy Processes

1. Informed Decision-Making

Policies that are made with the input of citizens incorporates diverse viewpoints, leading to more comprehensive and holistic policies. This enhances the legitimacy of policies, as they are seen as reflecting the will of the people.

2. Better Policy Outcomes

By taking part in these processes, policies are most likely to be relevant to the actual needs and problems of the community. This increases the likelihood of successful implementation and compliance with policies, as people are more likely to support policies they have a hand in shaping.

3. Democratic Accountability

Public involvement creates a feedback loop. People can hold policymakers accountable for their decisions and ensure policies are aligned with their needs. This also ensures that elected officials represent the interests and needs of the citizens and are more responsive to the public's concerns.

4. Ownership and Trust

Involvement in the decision-making process promotes a sense of ownership and responsibility among citizens for the laws and policies that govern them. It also fosters greater transparency in government actions, reducing the risk of misuse of power and builds trust between the government and the public. 

5. Policy Adaptability

Citizen involvement enhances the ability of policies to evolve in response to new information and changing needs, this ensures that policies remain effective over time.

Citizens should participate in all policy processes, both at the national and county levels.  This contributes to the health and functionality of a democratic society.  Persons with disabilities should also not limit their participation to disability-specific policies alone but they should participate in all the national and county level policies. 

Article by: Emomeri Maryanne

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