In the heart of Jomvu Sub County, Mombasa County, a dedicated budget facilitator and civic educator, Mary Gona, has emerged as a catalyst for positive change. Her remarkable journey from being a beneficiary of Kwacha Afrika’s Civic Education Training of Trainers to empowering communities is a testament to the transformative power of knowledge and community engagement. Before Mary Gona’s involvement in civic education, the youths and women groups in Jomvu Sub County faced numerous challenges. Limited knowledge of their rights, lack of meaningful engagement in local governance, and a sense of helplessness in demanding accountability from the county government were common issues. One such group, the Mauntan Women Group in Miritini ward, was no exception.
Mary’s journey into civic education began with a simple desire: to empower her community with knowledge. She recalls, “I felt that our community deserved better. We needed to understand our rights, participate actively in governance, and demand quality service delivery from our county government.”
Mary’s journey took a significant turn when she became a beneficiary of Kwacha Afrika’s Civic Education Training of Trainers. Armed with knowledge in constitutionalism, the Bill of Rights, devolution, citizen participation, and budget-making processes, she was ready to make a difference.
She explains, “The training equipped me with the tools to inspire change. I wanted to share this knowledge with my community, especially with groups like the Mauntan Women Group, who were eager to champion for their rights.”
Mary’s impact on the community groups she worked with was profound. The Mauntan Women Group, under her guidance, underwent a remarkable transformation. They learned about their rights and the importance of actively participating in local governance. Ann Thuku, a member of the Mauntan Women Group, attests to the change: “Before Mary’s training, we were often in the dark about our rights and the budgeting process. We felt powerless. But now, we have a voice, and we know how to use it.”
One of the most significant outcomes of Mary’s civic education efforts was the enhancement of transparency and accountability in local governance processes. Community members, inspired by their newfound knowledge, began to demand more from their county government. Mary shares, “We started attending public participation meetings, asking questions, and holding our leaders accountable. We wanted to ensure that our needs were reflected in the county budget.”
Mary’s journey was not only about empowering her community but also about personal and professional growth. She gained valuable insights into community dynamics, leadership, and the importance of perseverance. “Working with community groups,” she says, “has taught me patience, resilience, and the power of unity.”
Mary Gona envisions a future where her community continues to thrive through civic education. She believes that the long-term impact of civic education on constitutionalism, the Bill of Rights, devolution, and citizen participation will be significant. She explains, “I see a community where every citizen is well-informed, engaged in governance, and holds their leaders accountable. I see a society where public participation is not just a process but a way of life.”
Mary’s journey, from a beneficiary to a champion of civic education, is a testament to the transformative power of knowledge and community engagement. Through her dedication and commitment, she has empowered her community to demand their rights, participate actively in governance, and create a brighter future for all.