277 days have gone by since 20th December 2017 when we formally launched a Community Governance Initiative at Swahilipot Hub. This initiative was intended to achieve two things:
- grant community members the opportunity to share their experiences on engaging with Swahilipot
- create an opportunity for members to participate in drafting and implementing ideas to grow and strengthen Swahilipot Hub
Since then, a Community Governance committee has surveyed the community to identify needs and criticisms that we could respond to. These responses were summarized into a report and actioned by various sub-committees. More details on this process is described in this previous blog post.
I’m grateful to the committee that has led this process this far. Thank you to Mwanahamisi Adam, Francis Ikoha, Vincent Ouma, Jamila Hassan Awadh, Kelvin Omondi (Ohms Law Montana), Simon Adeya, Rajab Salim (Malenga 001), Britone Mwasaru and Angela Mumbi.
Community Governance Transition into a Community Council
After reflecting on the lessons resulting from this process and after discussions with community members and the board, Swahilipot Hub has decided to conclude the Community Governance Initiative by adding a Community Council to our governance structure.
Our intention in creating this council is to strengthen Swahilpot Hub’s governance by giving community members a platform to participate in decision making.
We are putting our community members fully in charge of the health, growth and governance of our community.
So what does the Community Council look like and how does it work?
The Swahilipot Hub Community Council is comprised of people who care about their community and want to make it more vibrant and active. These individuals are themselves active in Swahilipot Hub community activities and programs.
The council will be composed of 5 elected councillors and 1 Executive Committee member in the person of the Director of Community and Engagement.
To be nominated to stand for election as a candidate for Councillor, one must:
- be 18 years of age or over (by the date of the close of nomination)
- have his/her name appearing on the current register of community members
- have been an active member of Swahilipot Hub for a period not less than six months
- have no criminal record
- show a record of activities one has been involved that has benefited the community in one way or another
- be nominated by 10 registered community members who have been active for at least six months
Once elected, Community Councillors will serve a one year term.
Roles and Responsibilities of the Community Council
- Resolve community conflicts and handle disciplinary cases.
It is common for a community that lives and works together to have conflicts arise among its members. The council shall convene to listen to and resolve the arising conflicts. They will do this guided by the Swahilipot conflict resolution document.
- Conduct community surveys to determine arising issues and respond to them.
The needs of the community are bound to evolve. It is therefore the mandate of the council to constantly determine the changing need and plan suitably to meet them.
- Conduct crowdfunding sessions for community programs.
The community members often come up with projects that are steered towards helping them grow and develop in their respective talents. It is therefore the responsibility of the council through various means to avail the most basic of resources to ensure their success.
- Organize community programs and activities e.g Team building, Charity, Tournaments.
To attain the goal of a vibrant community, activities are very important. It is therefore important for the council to plan for activities that bring the community together. Examples of activities they can plan for are team building, charity events, tournaments and activities to mark the world celebration days like International day of peace, world tree planting day, etc
- Highlight success stories.
Creating success stories is a key goal of Swahilipot Hub. Its however unfortunate that some of the stories go unnoticed. It will be the responsibility of the council to identify and highlight the stories of growth and success among the members.
- Spearhead the sensitization of community members.
An informed community is a resourceful community. It will be on the shoulders of the council to ensure that the community get all the necessary information they need to grow.
Other roles and responsibilities will be adopted as ideas from candidate manifestos receive acceptance and endorsement from community members
Community Council Elections
Community Council elections will be held annually and will follow a one year cycle. Where necessary, By-Elections will be conducted to fill vacancies that arise.
The first Community Council Elections will be held in December 2018 and will be conducted by the Director of Community and Engagement.
There are many innovation hub’s and communities and Kenya and the larger East Africa but we believe we are one of the few, if not the only hub that has empowered our community members and strengthened our governance by giving community members a decision making role.
We are eager to implement the council and share lessons of this process with other institutions as our contribution to developing a strong innovation ecosystem in the region.