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Fostering a culture of integrity in public service delivery

Many campaigns targeting reforms in public service focus on the structural changes, policy reformulation and the adaptation of private sector practises in a bid to improve the delivery of public service. Notably missing in these well-meaning efforts, is the focus on the custodians of public service delivery, i.e. Public Servants or Civil Servants according to different terminology.


Behavioural change campaigns, such as the adherence to the public servant code of ethics, and the declaration of wealth upon entry and on exit to or from public sector respectively, have not had the desired impact on efficiency or transparency in the delivery of public services. This has led interested parties in this area to shift from transparency to integrity as a better perspective to solving challenges of governance therein.


The Strathmore Governance Centre (SGC)is interested in this governance area both from the point of view of research and that of training, hence its work with Integrity Action in 2012 and Urgent Action Fund. One of the Nigerian Officials who attended the training in 2012 is from Benue State. He is the NEPAD coordinator and is in charge of International Relations in the office of his State Governor. He contributed greatly to establish a contact between SGC and high profile officials in Benue State. As a result, SGChas been approached by the Head of Public Services (HoS) from Benue State of Nigeria, to run its designed 5 days training module titled “Integrity in Public Leadership Program (IPLP)” for 20senior state officials. They are likely to be joined by members of a Kenyan County Service Board, who are yet to confirm their participation.


This important step in a possible partnership involving a West African country was preceded by a visit to Strathmore University in July 2014, by a delegation from Benue State. It took place in the context of a visit of the Governor of the State to the Governor of Nairobi. The delegation that came to SGC was headed by the Head of Service, Mr. TenaAhua, along with Prof. Charity Angya who is the Vice Chancellor of Benue State University; Dr. Elizabeth Ugo, Honorable Commissioner for Education, Benue State;Hon. TerkaaMamwoo, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on inter-governmental affairs & Special Duties and Mr. Sam AgwaCoordinator- NEPAD & International Relations, Office of the Governor, Benue State. The one day official exploratory meeting at Strathmore University requested,on behalf of the Governor of Benue State, involved discussions on the modality of a possible short training for members of the Service. The delegates were also keen to discuss with representatives of the Centre of Tourism and Hospitality, as this area is of great potential in Benue State. After the meeting, delegates had a tour of the University and were able to greet the University’s DVC Research, Dr. George Njenga.


From July to October discussions progressed towards a Memorandum of Understanding signed recently. It allows training the first group of senior members of the Civil Service from 17th to 21st November 2014. The IPLP covers a range of issues pertinent to the delivery of public services including: Concepts of Personal and Public Integrity, Integrity in Managing People and Measuring Integrity, and Integrity in Public Expenditure. Two key areas of building State strengths will be also covered, i.e. Agriculture/Agribusiness as well as Tourism and Hospitality. The immediate outcome of the course will be the development by each participant of a specific transformation project to implement as part of the supervised post course assignment. This is meant to ensure a follow up on the application of the theoretical knowledge acquired though the module.