The EAC Partner States undertake to closely co-operate amongst themselves in the field of social welfare with respect to:
- employment, poverty alleviation programmes and working conditions;
- vocational training and the eradication of adult illiteracy in the Community; and
- the development and adoption of a common approach towards the disadvantaged and marginalised groups, including children, the youth, the elderly and persons with disabilities through rehabilitation and provision of, among others, foster homes, health care education and training.
The EAC Gender and Community Development Framework and its operational plan put emphasis on enhancing infrastructure at community level with focus on those that would enhance community development such as community access roads, community centers, rural training centers, water and sanitation and health care centers. The plan is to achieve this goal by gradually empowering communities, through their local authorities, in light of the opportunities offered by the Common Market Protocol.
Project on Empowering Border Communities through modernisation of locally shared markets
Border communities have been identified as a development priority for several reasons, key among them being that they form an important link in trade as they facilitate its passage at the entry and departure point as well as impact on how it is conducted preferably in a secure and mutually profitable environment.
Border communities in EAC among others have been identified as more likely to be marginalised and suffer inadequate service delivery partly because they are far from the centre and on the geographic margins of the respective countries. There is also a general perception of insecurity along borders within EAC partly because of comparatively limited presence of civil security personnel as well as adequate border patrols. The latter is often limited by poor infrastructure.
The most vibrant activity across borders is arguably informal cross border trade conducted by large populations of traders to be found in mostly informal settlements on both sides of the borders as well as large populations of small scale traders who pass through border points on a regular basis. Despite common knowledge and even acknowledgement in the EAC treaty and trade protocols of the importance of informal trade, the sector and traders in particular are bogged down by numerous bottlenecks.
Therefore, a project to empower border communities in the 5 Partner States to take advantage of the opportunities created by the Common Market Protocol specifically in the attainment of Millennium Development Goals has been initiated.
The following are among the activities to be implemented:
- Training in entrepreneurship and life skills
- Sensitisation of cross-border communities on formation of associations
- Development of market chains
Development of border markets
- Construction / improving shared markets within border communities
- Building storage facilities, water and sanitation
- Building hostels, health care centres, saloons, day care centres for children, restaurants
- Setting up of police posts, abattoirs, garbage collection posts, parking for cars, bicycles, etc.
- Rural electrification
- Building feeder and access roads
- Purchasing ambulances
- Establishment of information centres on EAC protocols and provisions on trade
It is expected that with more effective stakeholder participation in Local Authorities within the project areas shall make them more effective vehicles for empowering communities, and for enabling central governments achieve national goals.