A total of (66) Kenya Revenue Authority staff volunteers across all regions in the country have been trained on how to conduct mentorship in a bid to enhance their capacity and knowledge during community social engagements. This will also provide a structured framework of conducting future engagements.
The hands-on training was conducted at Times Tower building and Mukuru Skills Training Center in Nairobi. KRA has long held the belief that community engagements such as mentorship programmes that help the youth transition to gainful employment will enable KRA secure a sustainable tax regime by raising a population that appreciates voluntary compliance.
Taxpayers have the opportunity to understand the customer-centric nature of KRA and appreciate the taxman as an open and approachable organisation focused on improving the society. This is anticipated to empower Kenyans through tax education and help taxpayers understand the role of KRA in economic development.
The theoretical part of the training was at Times Tower followed by a practical session at Mukuru Skills Training Centre. More than 150 teen mothers participated in joint a mentorship and life skills session organized in partnership with the Kenya Red Cross, YMCA, Hope Worldwide, Partners for Health and Development in Africa (PHDA) among other organizations that provided free medical check-ups to the women and their children.
Understanding KRA’s Mandate
During the plenary, the young mothers were asked to share their understanding of the role of KRA and its services. A running thread in the feedback indicated that community engagement provides a free environment for the taxpayers to openly share their concerns with KRA. One asked, “Why do have I have to renew my KRA PIN every year? Another chimed, “What should I do if I lose my KRA PIN?”
From some of the questions, it was easy for KRA to discern that taxpayers in informal areas confused PIN with Tax Compliance Certificate (TCC) The tax education team explained to the community that KRA PIN and IDs are linked, therefore a taxpayer can trace their PIN by providing their ID numbers via the call centre or digital platforms. The community freely engaged with the KRA volunteers at the ‘chapati forum’, group sessions and plenary.
Tenda Wema Initiative
The community benefited from various professional services offered by KRA staff who are trained counsellors, mental health experts, life skills coaches and peer mentors. KRA presented food, sanitary towels and clothes donated by staff under the ‘Tenda Wema’ campaign. The initiative is an anchor for KRA’s staff volunteerism programme and seeks to encourage KRA staff to participate in community development. The mentorship session promoted practical skills, guidance and support to the young mothers and young women. “Through this programme, my seven-month-old baby has benefited from a free medical check-up,” said one of the young mothers. “I would recommend we have many of these programs because some women around neither have capacity nor knowledge on how to raise a baby.”
The outreach demonstrated the power of community support and the importance of providing essential services such as healthcare to those who need it most. For KRA, it was a great opportunity to test the hypothesis that when we go to the communities at their places of comfort, they will trust us more and open up, ultimately changing their perception of the taxman.
Capacity building is a crucial component of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme as it equips volunteers with practical techniques for conducting mentorship during various community engagements. It also enhances the knowledge and abilities of the volunteers in guiding learners during mentorship and coaching sessions, which are a crucial part of the programme.
Currently, KRA has 340 registered staff volunteers nationwide and 10 implementing partners at the grassroots and national level. This financial year, KRA has implemented 3o community social engagements.
By Felgona Ochieng