The inaugural Africa Parliamentary Researchers Conference
The inaugural African Parliamentary Researchers Conference brings together research officers serving in Parliaments in Africa at both the national and sub-national levels. Invitation to the Conference is open to Researchers serving in National Parliaments and in State, Provincial or County Legislatures as well as other interested research institutions, local Universities and individual researchers.
The inaugural African Parliamentary Research Conference will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya, from 18th to 22nd March 2019. The Parliament of Kenya shall cater for the conference costs and meals for the participants during the Conference. The costs of travel to and from Nairobi, accommodation costs and other subsistence costs shall be borne by the respective participant.
General information about the venue
Crown Plaza Hotel is situated in Nairobi, the capital city of the Republic of Kenya. Nairobi, also known as the city in the sun, is connected by two primary airports namely; the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) which connects Nairobi internationally and locally and the Wilson Airport that provides regional and local connections.
Nairobi has a population of approximately 3.5 million people, distributed over 17 constituencies. The city boasts of several fantastic venues where visitors can relax and be entertained at world-class restaurants, boutiques and leisure centres. It is the only city in the world with a national park.
Kenya has two official languages: English and Kiswahili (Swahili). You can conduct all of your affairs seamlessly in Kenya using English. However, almost all Kenyans speak Swahili.
Kenya is a multi-faith country and also a secular state. Although predominantly Christian, mainstream Muslim & Hindu cultures have also been historically integrated and welcomed in Kenya. All faiths are welcome and all visitors are free to practice their religion as they are accustomed.
The Provisional Conference Programme is here for download. You are however advised that this may be subject to changes. Conference procedures and reports will be done and delivered in English.
Participants are responsible for making their own accommodation arrangements. A list of suggested hotels is available here for download. Participants are advised to contact their preferred hotel directly and to make the necessary arrangements with the hotel.
Please note that travel should be routed to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) as the Kenya port of entry. Most major airlines fly directly into Nairobi. Flight itineraries should be communicated to the Conference contact persons at least two weeks before the arrival date for necessary arrangements.
Transport from the Airport and movement within Nairobi
Traffic and congestion are a challenge within Nairobi as well as to and from the Central Business District. Cars are the primary mode of transport in Nairobi, but as noted above, roads can become very congested.
Hotels often provide chauffeur services with professional, local drivers.
The airport also offers taxi transfer services, but again, a safe and trustworthy taxi service should be chosen cautiously. Online taxi services are available within Nairobi. The services are provided by Uber and Taxify companies.
All visitors to Kenya require a valid travel passport. Nationals of the following African countries do not need a Kenya visa to enter Kenya: Malawi, Sierra Leone, Botswana, Burundi, Mauritius, Swaziland, Mozambique, Tanzania, Namibia, The Gambia, Ghana, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Lesotho, Seychelles and Zimbabwe. If you are NOT a citizen of any of the above countries you will need to obtain a visa in advance from the Kenyan Embassy or High Commission nearest to you.
Visa applications from Cameroon, Senegal, Mali, Nigeria (if applied outside Nigeria) have to be referred to Nairobi for approval by Director of Immigration. Persons falling under this category are advised to apply at least three months before the proposed date of travel to Kenya.
Please note that changes in travel information and immigration requirements are made from time to time and the information given above is for guidance only. You must separately confirm the immigration position and requirements before you set off on your trip. Please contact the nearest Kenyan Embassy or High Commission for more accurate and authoritative visa posting and updates.
Health and Insurance:
We wish all the participants a healthy stay. However, participants are advised to have international health insurance cover for their health needs during the Conference. Any health costs incurred during the Conference will be borne by the individual participant. Liability for personal accident, medical emergencies, loss of luggage and currency and any damage or injury or loss of life resulting from unforeseen circumstances will be the responsibility of individual delegates. See attached list for preferred Conference Hospitals.
Power and Appliances
Nairobi uses the standard three point power plugs and sockets are of type G. The standard voltage is 240 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.
Most hotels will however provide adaptors to assist in compatibility.
Communication and telephone services
Kenya has a well-developed telecommunications infrastructure that is easy to access at low cost. Roaming services are available for majority of the major networks worldwide, and blackberry roaming services are also available on 3 networks in Kenya (Safaricom, Airtel, Telkom). While roaming is the most convenient it can be significantly expensive.
A pre-paid local line can be purchased for as little as US 25cents even at the airport, and top up cards purchased in denominations as low as Kshs. 20 (US 25 cents) up to Kshs. 1,000 (USD 12.5).
The government requires all sim cards/lines owners/users to be registered in order for the card to function. This same mobile line can be used to purchase data bundles to enable one to communicate and stay in touch on email, Skype or other web based service. The networks are 3G and 4G enabled.
Mobile phone providers can also provide internet connectivity, offering both GSM and CDMA services.
Participants are reminded to check with their network operators for their international roaming status.
Wi-Fi access is often available in hotels, restaurants, shopping malls and a number of other public areas.
The Kenya Country code is +254 and has to be affixed before the dialed number. When calling from Kenyan numbers locally, omit the area code and use "0."
Safety and Security
Nairobi is relatively safe and secure. However, like any other international metropolis, visitors are advised to exercise caution and due judgement. Kindly, avoid carrying large amounts of cash and valuables and avoid walking to downtown areas alone especially at night.
Visitors can walk to their intended destinations nearby. However, it should be made clear to exercise prudence and caution in:
- Not walking at night or alone;
- Keeping to safe and "red zone" areas of the secured section;
- Maintaining contact with others; and
- Notifying others of your whereabouts while walking.
Nairobi has subtropical highland climate. It is located close to the equator at 1,795 metres (5,889 ft) above sea level. The climate is typically hot and wet. Evenings may be cool, when the temperature can drop to 9 °C (48 °F) but the day is relatively warm.
Due to the projected rains in the month of March, delegates are advised to carry an umbrella especially if they intend to venture outdoors.
Please feel free to contact Mr. Bonnie Mathooko on telephone +254721519512 or Ms Annceta Gacheri, Conference Organizing Secretary, telephone: +254720393945 or email: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com for further information.
We look forward to welcoming you to Kenya!
Theme: “Realizing the potential of Parliamentary Research Services in African Parliaments”
The key roles of Members of Parliament around the World consist of oversight, legislation and representation. The ability of Members of Parliament to effectively perform these roles along the policy and legislative cycle is shaped by their access to concise, reliable, authoritative, accurate and neutral information. They require a wide range of reliable evidence to effectively scrutinize the activities of government to safeguard the intention of Parliament as expressed in legislation and policies adopted by parliamentarians.
People-centeredness is the rallying approach to formulation, coordination and implementation of policies and legislations. The legislature should be the strongest link and an enabler of democratic ideals as the custodian of the sovereign power of the people. The fledgling parliamentary democracy, therefore, requires that national priorities and policies should be publicly debated and the government should be held accountable to the citizens for its decisions.
To shape public opinion, parliamentary debates and deliberations should be supported by a meaningful framework for acquiring concise, synthesized and analyzed easily accessible facts for the members of parliament. In their quest to optimally perform these sacrosanct roles, members of parliament face the daunting task of securing access to reliable, authoritative and concise information necessary for them to intervene effectively on public policy issues. A well-resourced Parliamentary research service can play a critical role as transmitters, interpreters and synthesizers of cutting-edge information for legislators.
Parliamentary Research Service has been identified as one of the building blocks of an effective Parliament. They are of incalculable value as a source of reliable, authoritative, independent and accurate analysis. They offer a safe space where Members of Parliament from all political persuasions can ask questions and get answers they can trust.
They contribute to a parliament’s autonomy by providing a reality check on the perspectives put forward by the executive branch of government, lobby groups, academia, interest groups and the media.
Parliaments in Africa
African Parliaments, like in any other part of the World, are key institutions of democracy and they play an important role in terms of legislation, oversight and representation. Fulfilling this mandate requires an enabling environment and the legislatures to possess some essential organizational and resources capacities. Parliaments obviously require knowledge and expertise in vast array of technical areas to enable them fulfill their mandate.
However, like most countries in the World, there exist peculiarities in most African Parliaments which have affected the design of both short-term and long-term policies and legislative initiatives. Legislation for instance frequently requires expertise and capacity whereas legislators are drawn from a diverse background with varying levels of experience and technical capacity. Further legislators do not have sufficient capacity to seek and acquire evidence. The problem is further compounded by inadequate research evidence in legislatures.
It is therefore critical that the Parliamentary Research Service as the cutting-edge information producer creates the necessary partnerships and networks that will shape its response to the varying needs of parliamentarians.
IPU and IFLA co-sponsored ‘Guidelines for Parliamentary Research Services' identified building useful partnerships and networks of parliamentary research colleagues in other jurisdictions as an essential step in establishing the desired Parliamentary Research Services.
In line with this evidence, Parliament of Kenya is hosting the Inaugural African Parliamentary Researchers Conference 2019 under the theme “Realizing the potential of Parliamentary Research Services in African Parliaments”.
The main objective of the conference is to provide a platform for Parliamentary Research Services in African Parliaments to establish mutually beneficial partnerships for sharing best practices, information and knowledge; build capacity of its members and promote evidence-based policies and legislations.
The key objectives of the conference will be to:
- Deliberate on place of Parliamentary Research Services and its organizational models in African Parliaments;
- Strengthen capacity of legislative Researchers through exchange and sharing of best practices, knowledge and experiences;
- Promote evidence-use in decision making in African Parliaments;
- Forge and maintain strong network and linkages with Parliamentary Research Services, Research colleagues in other jurisdictions as well as research and policy institutions, and relevant stakeholders at national, regional and international level; and;
- Establish an association for the African legislative Researchers working in African Parliaments.
The Conference will bring together researchers from African Parliaments (National and Sub-national levels), and researchers from related research institutions. The Conference is also open to the researchers working with other parliaments outside Africa and related institutions.
The Parliament of Kenya is pleased to invite proposals for short, engaging and inspiring presentations for a knowledge sharing, interactive open session discussions during the conference. Participants intending to present papers at the conference are welcome to submit abstracts tailored towards addressing any of the following thematic areas.
- Institutionalization and management of research services in legislatures: Overview of the various Models.
- Capacity strengthening of parliamentary researchers: Mechanisms and best practices.
- Transforming research services uptake and evidence use for decision making in African Parliaments: status, challenges and opportunities.
- Partnering with Parliaments: The role of Research and Policy Institutions.
- Emerging practices and innovations in parliamentary research.
- The abstracts not exceeding 300 words should be submitted online to the following email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com by 11th January, 2019.
- Abstracts should clearly highlight the objective, problem, methodology, key findings/results, conclusions and recommendations. Also purely theoretical papers focussing on the sub themes will be accepted.
- The abstract should include the name of the author(s), affiliation(s), postal address, and email and telephone contacts.
- Each paper should not exceed 5,000 words (excluding abstract, references and footnotes), single spacing font size 12, times new roman, tables and figures inserted where cited, Ms Word format.
- The abstract and the full paper should have the APA format of referencing.
Note: All proposals will be reviewed by a panel and the author(s) informed of the outcome by 25th January, 2019 and submission of full papers by 28th February, 2019.
- All papers must be submitted preferably in English;
- All papers will be peer reviewed; and
- Published papers will be posted on the open access online conference archive.
- The conference proceedings will be in English.
The inaugural African Parliamentary Research Conference will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya Road, UpperHill
Director, Information and Research Services,
Parliament of Kenya,
Tel: +254 20 2221291 or 2848000 extension 3665
Conference Registration Form
The Conference registration form is available for download below.
Participants will be responsible for their individual Conference expenses, including the following:
- Airline booking and return travel to Nairobi, Kenya.
- Personal expenses, including accommodation and medical during their stay in Nairobi.
- Visa fees.
- Travel insurance.
- Conference registration fees.