The Linguistic Factor and the Millennium Development Goals: A Lesson for Future Sustainable Development in Kenya
Mary, K. Lonyangapuo, Ph.D.

This paper looks at why the MDGs were never fully achieved by the year 2015; with a focus on Kenya; and the lessons learned for future sustainable development. Specifically, it focuses on the place given to language in the implementation of the set goals. The hypothesis in the current work is that language factor is so important that it cannot be ignored in any sustainable developmental agenda. Failure to take cognizance of this is synonymous to planning to fail. This assumption follows from history which has proven that economies that have succeeded in the past in implementing their developmental agenda had to get this fact right. This is because development relies on knowledge and knowledge is created and disseminated through language. This knowledge only becomes relevant when it is disseminated through the most effective and efficient means; that is, in a language that is well understood by the target population. Data that is used in the analysis is provided by 8 policy makers, 8 policy implementers; that is, technocrats and 20 citizens (from five Counties); who are all purposively selected. Findings show that the non- utilization of the generated knowledge, which is caused by low receptive rate, that derives from the type of medium that is used negatively worked against the achievement of the MDGs in Kenya. With lessons learned from the implementation of the MDGs, the paper proposes that for the existing and future developmental agenda (including the achievement of the SDGs), policy makers as well as development partners have to consider language as a paramount strategy in the implementation plan; if they have to succeed. It is argued that the starting point has to be in education, where quality and equity is ensured through a common and well understood linguistic system. This study is guided by the constructivism theory of learning that was proposed by Dewey (1916), Piaget (1950), and Vigotsky (1978).

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/ijlc.v6n1a1