KENYA DIASPORA ADVISORY COUNCILS
The Embassy of the Republic of Kenya in Washington D.C. is encouraging Kenyans in the USA to join together and form Diaspora Advisory Councils in their respective regions/states.
Kenyans in the US have traditionally tended to shy away from the Embassy. This was mainly due to the perceived notion that the Embassy was involved in activities that could be unfavorable to their well-being, and also due to the poor services they sometimes received when they approached the Embassy. In this regard, many Kenyans in the US only approached the Embassy when in need of help, which was not available from other quarters.
For social support and interaction purposes, many Kenyans had formed or joined associations in their cities/regions/States. However, in the run-up to the disputed general election of 2007 and following the post-election violence of 2007/8, many of these associations broke up as Kenyans in the US were balkanized along ethnic lines and this created a vacuum that has not been filled to date.
It is with this background that the Embassy is encouraging the formation of Diaspora Advisory Councils (DACs) which would serve both as a machinery to unite the Kenyans in the US and encourage them to play a role in the development of our country Kenya, working in partnership with the Kenya Embassy in Washington D.C.
A structure that is inclusive and open will go a long way in facilitating unity among Kenyans and bring about the much needed cohesion. Our beloved country urgently requires Kenyans who want to be a part of the solution.
It is suggested that the Councils be organized in such a way that they are all inclusive: youth, gender balance, community leaders, religious groups, students, business people and professionals. It is also recommended that the leadership be rotational.
The numbers of representatives in a Council may vary; however, for ease of communication, membership need not be more than 30 representatives. Note that the Council DOES NOT replace the smaller interest groups that already exist in various places. On the contrary, it provides a platform for the diverse groups and interests.
The Councils will act as a platform for brainstorming on Kenya’s development agenda (Think Tanks). This will also be a safe space for Diaspora to engage in the affairs of Kenya. In addition, it will be a focal point for organizing Kenya’s events, a platform of advocacy as well as a “vehicle” for communication from and to Kenyans in America.
The number of Advisory Councils in a given State will depend on the population density of the Kenyan community and size of a particular State. It is recommended that a city should not have more than one council. Councils within any particular State will be expected to closely interact. Some States may well decide to join the Advisory Council of a neighbouring State depending on the vicinity and number of Kenyans in their State.
Kenya has a new constitution. We have a Vision of where we want to be by the Year 2030 (Vision 2030). Our biggest challenge in Kenya, and here in America, is “Uniting Kenyans.” It is our sincere hope that the proposed structures will contribute positively to uniting Kenyans. This is not going to be easy!! But with a few men and women of goodwill, Yote Yawezekana!
Kindly share your thoughts and the status of the Diaspora Advisory Council in your State/City with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
God Bless Kenya!