Kisumu County Extension Officer Mr. James Samo instructing other extension Officers on how to construct a key hole garden at the Mamboleo Show ground (Photos by: Mikwa Emily)
The County extension officers (TOTs) converged at the Mamboleo Show ground to practically apply skills learnt on urban food systems, a week after their training in Kakamega courtesy of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The three-day practical lessons are basically to prepare them for the trainings set to begin next week, targeting local farmers across the urban and peri urban sub counties within Kisumu. These include: Kisumu West, Kisumu Central, Kisumu East and Nyando.
The focus is to drive food systems change in the urban context to boost food security, nutrition, and self-sufficiency within the county.
Some of the urban agriculture technology demonstrations the extension officers participated in constructing were: the storeyed micro/ sack garden, the key hole garden, the moist bed and the hanging gardens.
Such gardens are efficient in production of kales, spinach, onions, coriander, traditional green leafy vegetables, cherry tomatoes and each garden especially the sack garden can hold up to 300 plants.
The advantages of such gardens are that they require small parcel of land, create jobs, promotes food quality and security, empowers one economically and community building since it makes people work collectively.
By Mikwa Emily
Residents of Kisumu County joined the global community in commemorating the International Contraception Day (WCD) that is celebrated annually on 26th September around the world.
The event focuses on the vision of a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every birth celebrated and accounted for and where women, babies children and adolescents survive thrive and reach their full social and economic potential.
The commemoration was presided over by the County Director for Public Health Mr. Fredrick Oluoch representing the CECM for Health, Prof Boaz Nyunya, at St. Benedict Nyang’oma Sec School in Muhoroni Sub County.
This year’s theme is “maintaining family planning services during Covid-19 pandemic, while marching towards sustainable domestic financing for family planning” with the mission to improve awareness on contraceptive methods so that all men, women and the young people around the world can make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health.
In his speech, the County Director for Public Health, Mr. Fredrick Oluoch said that the county government of Kisumu has prioritized Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in line with the governor’s manifesto among the priority interventions, for improving maternal and child health outcomes and improving access to quality family planning services.
He confirmed that the county is working to improving access to quality family planning services in line with Covid-19 guidelines adding that on 12th August 2020, the County launched the Kisumu County Costed Family Planning Implementation Plan (FPIC-2019-2023) in partnership with KMET and other stakeholders.
In addition, the county ‘s health department has disseminated the Kenya Covid-19 reproductive, maternity, newborn child, adolescent health (RMNCAH) guidelines which will provide a practical guide for the continuity of reproductive, maternal, newborn and family planning care and services in the background of Covid-19 pandemic.
Kisumu County residents were urged to continue adhering to the Covid-19 containment measures to help curb the spread of the virus in the county as Mr. Oluoch lauded all the partners for their continued support in the delivery of the Reproductive Health Services and activities in Kisumu County.
The county government is working to increase awareness on the access to family planning services on the adolescents and the youth, while also striving to reduce sexual gender-based violence in the County.
Special appeal was made to the health care workers taking care of Covid-19 patients to exercise extra care on themselves to avoid contracting the virus.
Mr. Bernard Kigen who represented the National Council for Population and Development reiterated that they intend to ensure that family planning information is received by everyone in need of it. Sentiments echoed by the County Reproductive Health Coordinator Ms. Jane Owuor, who urged all pregnant mothers to attend antenatal care services so as to reduce maternal deaths which she said is still on the rise in Kisumu County as well as eliminating complications related to the same.
Ms. Jane also cited the need to reduce teenage pregnancies by creating awareness for the teenagers on the benefits of family planning adding that at least 16% of pregnant women who visit health care facilities are teenagers.
The partners were: Marie Stopes International, ADS Nyanza, KMET, Network for Adolescent and Youth of Africa (NAYA), Afya Halisi, Sustainable Rural Initiative, Make Me Smile Kenya, Kisumu Progressive Youth and Sexual Reproductive Health Alliance Kenya.
Also, in attendance were:Nyang’oma Masogo Ward Administrator Mr.Apollo Lucy,Muhoroni Sub County MOH Rosebellah Amihanda, the Deputy Principle St.Benedict Nyang’oma Sec School Mr.Okal, Health Representatives from Muhoroni Sub County and Seme Sub County together with members of the local community.
By Jackline Apondi Omondi
Community members of Nyakach planting kales on the micro garden
The training session for the extension officers entered day two with a focus on the importance of urban agriculture.
While there is steady rise in human population, more people continue to starve globally hence prompting the adoption of urban farming technologies as a measure to sustain lives and to demystify the notion that farming is mainly for the rural folk.
Urban agriculture also known as urban farming, refers to growing plants and rearing animals that produce food within a city or town.
It also comprises processing and then distributing that produce throughout the city.
The green home technologies such as moist gardens, shade net, micro gardens, key hole garden, hanging gardens, multi storey garden and green houses are progressively emerging as sources of nutrition and food security in the urban and peri urban settlements.
Besides offering food security, urban farming also comes with an array of benefits including job opportunities in line with agri business, community building due to shared responsibilities, it is educative as it involves both adults, youths and children, an ambience of green spaces with aesthetic appeal, reduction of surface run offs and fixing of carbon through photosynthesis.
The emerging farming technologies do not require large parcels of land and the input is affordable hence can be done by anyone. They are also considered a form of exercise to town dwellers who are perceived to only engage in lighter activities.
The major challenge experienced with this kind of farming are the old legislative restrictions on urban farming that should be reviewed to conform to the changing times.
By: Emily Mikwa
Promoting Sustainable Nutrition and Healthy Food Systems in the Urban and Peri Urban during Covid – 19 Pandemic
Members of the FLAG pose for a group photo after the meeting session at the Grand Royal Swiss Hotel, Kisumu
Poultry, Livestock and Kitchen garden farmers within Kisumu are set to benefit from 11million grant from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) through the County Government of Kisumu.
5.1million of the stated amount will go toward cushioning food producing and processing enterprises affected by the Covid -19 pandemic as a recovery strategy. The remaining 5.9 million grant will go into farm inputs and value addition equipment.
The Project dubbed integrated actions for innovative food systems across rural urban communities, targets 100 farmers receiving 100 birds each in Kisumu East, Kisumu central, Nyando and Kisumu west.
A total of 10,000 birds will be distributed to the said sub counties, 400 bags of feeds, vaccination of the birds and de-worming of dairy goats will also be done.
Speaking during the event, the CECM for Agriculture, irrigation, livestock and fisheries Mr. Gilchrist Okuom noted the adverse effects the pandemic has had on the food systems hence causing migration of people from urban to rural due to food insecurity.
This has come at a time when the Food Liaison Advisory Group ( FLAG) committee is looking at the urban food systems. He advised that this will change the mode of operation of the FLAG committee from as it were at the beginning.
He called for a concerted innovativeness and that the committee to move with speed in pushing the agenda forward in order to impact on the livelihood of those affected by the pandemic.
The FAO inclusive value chains sub program head Mr. Tito Arunga on his part acknowledged the impact of Covid – 19 on food production. He added that it has opened an opportunity for agriculture globally.
He reiterated that the role of FLAG is to work as a joint stakeholder to unlock the agricultural potentials.
He called on members to work with urgency to identify the gaps and constraints the farmers have for solutions to be reached.
” FAO intends to have a more established presence in the county to improve livelihoods of the people in the region ” said Mr. Arunga
The department of Business, Cooperatives and Marketing through their Chief Officer, Mr. Joseph Oganga pledged support in terms of modelling the program as a business for sustainability of capital, and value addition.
The forum also saw a new co- chairperson Mr. Samba Nixon Otieno Omumbo appointed taking over from Dr Abel Otieno the immediate former chairperson.
The meeting was also graced by Chief Officer Crops Dr. Paul Omanga, Chief Officer Livestock Madam Rosemary Raluoch, Facilitators : Rebecca Wanjiru Project manager FAO, Winnie Yegon FAO, Mr Erick Ogadho project liaison Officer, Madam Rose Achieng Owenga the county FLAG coordinator and members of the FLAG. By: Emily Mikwa & Lorraine Anyango
CECM Agriculture, irrigation, livestock and Fisheries, Mr. Gilchrist Okuom addressing FLAG members during a meeting at the Royal Swiss Hotel in Kisumu yesterday ( photo: David Wadulo)
The FAO inclusive value chains sub program head Mr. Tito Arunga giving his remarks during the FLAG meeting at the Royal Swiss Hotel in Kisumu
The FAO project manager, Rebecca Wanjiru making a presentation during the FLAG meeting at the Royal Swiss Hotel.
Winnie Yegon from FAO making a presentation during a flag meeting.
Mr Erick Ogadho project liaison Officer, making a presentation during the FLAG meeting at the Royal Swiss Hotel.
Mr. Samba Nixon Otieno Omumbo the newly appointed co – Chairperson of the FLAG giving his acceptance speech yesterday at the Royal Swiss Hotel.
Mr.George Wasonga CEO of CSUDP- UNHABITAT handing a 20 litter Jerrican of hand sanitizer to the chairperson Manyatta market (Photo: David Wadulo)
The Kisumu Covid 19 Multi Agency Technical Group on Informal Settlements (KCMTGIS) today visited the hand wash stations in Kondele, Obunga and Manyatta to inspect their functionality and to sensitize the users on the importance of observing the MOH protocols on Covid 19.
It is during the visit that the team gave groups of bodaboda riders, lorry drivers, market chairpersons1,000 re – usable masks, 300 surgical Masks to the CHWs, and 10 jerricans of hand sanitizers, each containing 20 litters
The team was led by County Director Culture and Arts Mr. Gabriel Osendo, Mr George Wasonga CEO of CSUDP- UNHABITAT, Director TVET Pascalia Ouma, Director Sports Madam Valarie Onyango, Director Trade Eng. Bovince Ochieng and the Coordinator Mr. Thomas Ouko among others.
By: Emily Mikwa
County Public Health Director, Mr. Fred Oluoch in the company of MCA Hon Steve Awiti during a media brief on Mental health gaps meeting at the Grand Royal Swiss Hotel in Kisumu ( photo: Emily Mikwa)
The county has glaring mental health limitations as revealed by the findings of a study on the status of mental health policy, rights, financing and service delivery in Kisumu 2019.
Some of the gaps highlighted included: lack of mental health policy framework, under staffing of mental health practitioners, inadequate financing of mental health services and infrastructure such as beds, a case in example where KCRH only has 30 beds, among others.
This was brought to the attention of the participants during a stakeholders mental health meeting convened by TINADA youth organisation at the Grand Royal Swiss Hotel.
The aim of the meeting was to disseminate the research findings and to introduce Imarisha Mental Integrated Initiative project to the stakeholders in Kisumu.
Being cognizant to the facts of the study, the chairperson of budget committee at the County Assembly Hon. Steve Awiti stated that as members of the assembly, they are committed to enact the mental policy framework once the proposal is presented to the Assembly and that in the current financial year they appropriated 1.5million for the same and would not hesitate revising it upward come FY 2021/22 budget. Sentiments echoed by his counter part Hon. Seth Owuor chairing the health committee.
While addressing the media, Public Health Director Mr Fred Oluoch, noted the existence of such gaps and stated that currently the county has brought in additional two psychiatrists from Maseno university to improve the services.
He reiterated that the health public unit is focused on reviewing the policy to capture mental health services and to ensure the formation and operationalize the secretariat and the technical working group.
on infrastructure he promised to have improvements for better service delivery. He however requested for another research on the same post Covid 19 that will give an informed data before implementation of the current findings
In an effort to improve the mental health services, it was resolved that all the partners to pull together in implementing the recommendations in the study.
Since health is a devolved function, it was discussed that the CHWs be roped in to handle the cases at the grass roots not forgetting the non conventional healers such as the herbalists and faith based healers.
The facilitators brought on board included: Beryl Arogo from TINADA, Mr Dancan Omondi TINADA, Mr. Sospeter Mumbo TINADA, and Mr. Jeremiah Okuto County mental health coordinator .
The meeting was graced by participants drawn from different organizations, CBOs, CSOs, and Institutions.
By: Emily Mikwa
SUPPLY AND DELIVERY OF CROP SEEDS BY SEED COMPANIES AND AGRO DEALERS TO THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE & IRRIGATION KISUMU COUNTY HEADQUARTERS
County Executive for Roads, Transport and Public Works Dr. Joyce Osogo during the launch of machine based road maintenance at Ong’ayo in Kisumu West sub county(Photo: David Wadulo)
Residents of Kisumu West sub county can now breath a sigh of relief after yesterday’s launch of the machine based roads maintenance pilot program in the area by the County Executive for Roads, Transport and Public Works Dr. Joyce Osogo.
The program dubbed “accessibility our priority” will ensure that at least 5km access roads in each ward within the county are excavated, reshaped, side drained, gravelled and compacted.
Kisumu west is the third sub county where the program is set to be implemented after Muhoroni and Nyakach as the rest to follow suit.
The action plan comes at a time when the access roads have been rendered impassable due to heavy downpour experienced in the recent past.
Roads maintenance is an intergral component of Governor Prof Anyang Nyongos development Manifesto.
Residents of Ong’ayo ward who will benefit from the road projects, doing business, taking patients to hospital and even transporting corpses home for burial has been a daunting task due to the poor conditions of the road.
Speaking during the launch, CECM for Roads and Public Works, Dr. Joyce Osogo, outlined the access roads to be maintained to include:Ong’ayo Otonglo-Pombo, Obambo -Kabibi, Obambo -Ogal, Wadhguen- Kawiti Otete, Rabuor -Nametsa, Kadidi Wanguola Maringo, Nyahera-Geta, Awach bridge – Ndemra and Sianda – Gee.
She cautioned the community members not mix development with politics but always consult her office on matters that may require her attention for amicable solutions to be reached.
She further called on the residents to support the project by ensuring the security of the machines.
The County Executive for roads was flanked by her counterparts from Marketing and cooperatives Professor Judith Attyang who promised to build a modern market in the area to boost trade. The county Executive for Education Mr. John Awiti on his part pledged to put up an equipped Vocational Training Center in the area to sharpen the artisan skills of the youths.
The County Assembly Speaker Hon. Elisha Oraro who is also the immediate former MCA of the area called on the people of Ong’ayo ward to know the roles of both the MCAs and the Executive so that they are not confused over roles of the two.
He reiterated that the role of the MCA is representation, legislate, and oversight while the Executive is implementation.
He urged the people to attend public participation meetings where they can prioritize their needs for purposes of budgeting.
He added that the pilot program on road maintenance is a trial to see the much that can be done with the limited budget given compared to the works done by contractors that is quite expensive and covers only a few kilometers.
After completion of the access roads, youths and women in the locality will be engaged to maintain the roads as a source of livelihood.
The function was also attended by a host of MCAs, representatives of the area Member of Parliament Hon Olago Aluoch, Hon Rosa Buyu, the sub county administrator, the five ward administrators in the sub county, Assistant Chief of the area Mr John Ndege , Chief Officer Roads Eng. Moses Ogeda with a team of county Officials
from the department among other invited dignitaries.
By: Emily Mikwa