An Assessment of factors influencing public participation in Kenya Urban Roads Authority projects
Community participation has potential advantages to communities ranging from; empowerment, capacity building, project effectiveness and efficiency, cost sharing and ownership. In Kenya, however, citizen participation is low, involving sharing opinions during public forums rather than participating in decision making as envisioned in the Constitution of Kenya. The objective of this study was to determine the factors influencing the level of public participation in Kenya Urban Roads Authority’s (KURA’s) projects. The specific objectives were; to determine the level to which KURA involves the public in their roads projects’ design and implementation; and to determine how organizational and institutional factors influence the level of public participation in the design and implementation of Kenya Urban Roads Authority’s (KURA’s) projects. The study was based on public participatory models and the participatory democratic theory. Cluster sampling was used whereby the regions where KURA operates in and the headquarters formed the clusters. Purposive sampling was then employed to select a total of forty five participants drawn from each of the clusters. A questionnaire was used to collect primary data from the respondents. Data analysis was conducted using descriptive statistics and correlation analysis. The study established that KURA engaged various categories of people in the public in their project designs as well as in implementation. These included; the general public, community representatives and opinion leaders. It further established that the public was engaged in various stages of the road project development ranging from the feasibility study, planning stage, project design, during tendering as well as in project implementation. The study recommends that KURA should inform the public about what projects they intend to implement, collaborate with them, involve them, consult them and empower them while carrying out their projects. The study also recommends that in order to improve public participation in their projects; KURA allocates adequate human resources to carry out public participation activities and adopts proper public participation procedures and organizational strategies for public participation. KURA should further ensure that the assigned staff are adequately trained on how to conduct public participation forums effectively.