Dokeza (https://dokeza.mzalendo.com/) is an online Bill annotation platform established with an objective to enhance public participation in the Kenyan law making process. On the platform, we put up select Bills and encourage the public to make commentaries on. The comments are used to generate memoranda which we submit to parliament to inform the Bill. We also inform users of upcoming opportunities eg committee public hearings, call for memos & plenary sessions etc, for them to participate.
Shaping Kenya, One Bill at a time.
What problem are you trying to solve?
Public participation is a constitutional requirement mainstreamed to all of Kenya’s governance processes. Parliament has not created enough opportunities to engage the public. The law making a core function of MPs. The process is complex and people don’t know that they have the right & duty to participate. Often, those who are interested don’t know of the opportunities to participate.
The complex legal language used in Bills is a hindrance to persons without legal or expert knowledge of the field that the Bill covers
Further, when parliament calls for memoranda and public hearings on bills, it gives short notice. Consequently, they do not get sufficient/any feedback. When they get any, it tends to be from the same clique of stakeholders rather than from the general public esp. youth and women. Those who miss the memoranda deadlines/public hearings are not aware of alternative avenues to share their views. Physical access to parliament to participate in hearings is also a challenge.
What is your solution to this problem?
Dokeza will provide a platform for anyone anywhere in Kenya with a smartphone or a computer to; Access any Bill put on the platform and comment on it; Be aware of any opportunities to participate through our events calendar; and Get a simplified summary of the Bill so that they can be able to understand and comment on the main Bill.
We will also use our social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, youtube) to create awareness on the Bills open for participation to the ever-increasing youth population.
The platform will allow MPs to reach out to Kenyans for ideas to inform Bills. We will carry out public education forums in Kenya to create awareness of participation. This will achieve civilian awareness and empower them with the skills to participate.
We will target individuals or institutions including a civil society that could be of interest to specific Bills affecting them for opportunities to make informed commentaries.
What is your latest update on your innovation?
Mzalendo is in the process of carrying out some minor upgrade to our Dokeza website for it to be more user-friendly.
We frequently add Bills of interest, call for memoranda and public forums and summarized analyses of Bills.
We summarize key concerns captured in Bills into a question which we share via Short Code SMS. This takes our outreach offline and reaches the underserved especially youth and women in grassroot areas. Responses have been impressive in gender representation often at 50;50. Their views are analyzed and inform memoranda which we submit to parliament. We are also actively submitting memoranda on Bills on our own capacity.