By Matilda Atieno
Ahero Vocational Training Center (VTC) is set to benefit from a 2 Million ePIVOT project, dubbed Enhancing Partnerships for Industry-led Vocational Training and education in the horticulture value chain, a collaboration project with Meru University.
The ePIVOT project aims at strengthening the capacity of the TVTs through enable practical learning and innovation in the horticulture sector.
The University also donated a Television screen, laptop, LMS system to boost digital learning and a greenhouse for the set horticultural project.
This project is made possible through funding from Orange Knowledge Program through a Netherlands Fellowship Program meant to benefit students and the local community who will undergo training on horticultural farming.
The learning equipment was received by the CEC member for Education, ICT and Human Capacity development Mr. John Awiti, and was presented by VC Prof. Romanus Odhiambo at a workshop organized by Ahero VTC to demonstrate the purpose and benefits of the ePIVOT project.
The one-day workshop brought together the board of Governors, area leadership, the community and County VTC officials and was graced by CEC Member for education.
Mr. Owiti lauded the move by the project managers to ensure food security for the locals through the set training. He also pledged to support VTCs to be able to accommodate students who miss out on the university entries as well as young student mothers in ensuring that they also benefit from the project.
Prof. Odhiambo challenged the Ahero VTC board of governors to own the project and make it work for the community and county at large, saying that horticultural farming is a means to food security.
The target of the project is to reach out to at least 500 farmers within Kisumu county who will undergo sensitization boost horticultural farming in the region.
Also present was the County director for TVETs, Mrs. Pascalia Ouma, Centre Manager, Mr. Martin Owino, BOG Chairman, Mr. Victor Aduma, officials from Meru University and members of the board of Governors.
By Matilda Atieno
The county government in partnership with Family Health Options Kenya (FHOK) held a 3-day workshop in a deliberate effort to emphasize Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) and gender equality as fundamental to an individual, organization as well as to the social and economic of communities.
The training brought together key decision-makers and duty bearers including county directors, state and none state officers. The workshop was also graced by CEC member for Education, IT & Human Capacity Development, John Awiti, who acknowledged the need to create awareness on SRHR, urging the team to cascade the training to the community to create impact across the county. He noted that the training would provide a springboard for increasing knowledge on the SRHR and Gender Equality in the community.
The County Minister also challenged the duty bearers to reflect on how to capitalize on the different perspectives and mandates to catalyze and accelerate the achievement of gender equality in their jurisdiction.
The workshop confirmed important aspects of the relationship between sexual reproductive health rights and gender equality with the most encompassing the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health.
Most Importantly, the workshop signaled an integrated approach to gender equality and recognized that human rights have a crucial role to play in relation and access to quality sexual and reproductive health and were of the consensus that the right to sexual and reproductive health encompasses both freedom from discrimination, and entitlements, and in the context of sexual and reproductive health, freedom includes a right to control one’s health and body.
It was also noted that increased attention be devoted to a proper understanding of health rights, as well as gender equality, given the nature of the state policies on the right to health with the focus on understanding SRHR.
Considered together, the training was intended to contribute to the efforts by the decision-makers to exercise and champion the rights to sexual reproductive health and have an indispensable role to play in the struggle against gender inequality.
The workshop was directed by the Project Coordinator FHOK Mr. Edwine Nyanja with facilitators including State Gender Officer Joel Okumu, Patricia Orawo of KMET County officer in charge of Gender, Adah Omedi, and County Reproductive health officer Jackton Okeyo.
Members of the National Assembly Health Committee delegation on a fact finding mission to Kisumu County health sector hosted by the Kisumu Deputy Governor Dr. Mathews Owili on behalf Of KiSUMU Governor Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o and a visit to the health facilities. ( Pictures By Collins Owuor and Jacob Owiti)
By Matilda Atieno
The county government of Kisumu today hosted the National assembly health committee delegation who are carrying out a fact-finding visit to the County health sector.
The members of the delegation visited Kisumu to engage the county government with the purpose of establishing the facts on the impact of the resources delivered by the national government towards the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in the county.
The team led by Hon. Joshua Kutuny was in the county to seek clarification on the efforts put in place by the county government and the challenges on the fight against the pandemic. Other members included Hon. Gideon Ochanda of Bondo, Dr. James Nyikal of Seme, Hon. Tongoyo, Gabriel Koshal of Narok West and Hon. Martin Owino of Ndhiwa.
Upon the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the national government embarked on an intensive program to impact the spread of the pandemic across the country through the various mechanism, including mobilization resources, improvement of infrastructure and resource allocation to the counties.
160 million was the confirmed allocation to the county government of Kisumu as part of the national government support in the fight against the pandemic in Kisumu as well as other benefits dispatched to the county through KEMSA and other agencies.
Following the support from the national government, the delegation sought information on the use of the funds received, relations with the National Agency KEMSA, the County interventions and the status of COVID-19 in the county.
The delegation met with the Deputy Governor Dr. Mathew Owili who chaired the meeting on behalf of Kisumu Governor, Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o, CEC member for Finance and economic development George Okong’o, Kisumu County COVID-19 response committee chair, Chief officer health, Mr. Alphonse Ouya, County Assembly health committee Chair Hon. Vincent Jagongo, County Director Health Fredrick Oluoch Dr. George Rae and CEO JOOTRH Dr. Peter Okoth.
The delegation then proceeded to Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH), isolation center and later on to Kisumu County Referral Hospital (KCRH).
Kisumu County Secretary Mr. Geoffrey Kigochi (2nd right) exchanges documents with CCAK CEO Mr. David Njugi (2 nd left) after the signing of the MOU . They are flanked by County Energy and Industrialization Department Chief Officer Mr Daniel Okia (right) Victor Gathogo (left) from the SNV (Picture by Jacob Owiti)
By Jacob Owiti
County Government of Kisumu department of Energy and Industrialization has today signed a two-year Memorandum of Agreement with the Clean Cooking Association of Kenya- CCAK under the Voice for Change Partnership.
The partnership aims at supporting the clean cooking sector through collaboration in capacity building through evidence generation, awareness creation and strengthening clean cooking engagement frameworks by mainstreaming clean cooking agenda into county policy and regulations structures.
The parties undertook to work together in evidence generation and dissertation on issues of clean cooking Energy in Kisumu County, Development and inclusion of clean cooking into policies, regulations, County strategic plans and support their implementation.
The collaboration is on clean cooking awareness creation, capacity building activities for clean cooking entrepreneurs and clean sector forums and events at the County level.
The Agreement follows the county government’s efforts in ensuring safe and clean cooking technology among its populace. According to Ag. County Director for Renewable Energy Technologies Mr. Laban Okeyo, the directorate has embarked on encouraging the residents to move away from unclean sources of fuel which contribute to 79.8% of energy in Kisumu County households of which Firewood tops at 49.6, charcoal 22.2% and Kerosene at 7.8%.
CCAK on its part agreed to provide material (clean cooking budget tracking and fiscal incentive briefs), communication material for joint events convened by V4CP and other parties, present and exhibit on events convened by Kisumu County and other partners on areas of clean cooking, jointly facilitate building and awareness creation on the clean cooking sector for the County officials and private sector.
On the other hand, the Energy and Industrialization Department agreed to convene a Clean Cooking policy and strategy for development stakeholders’ forum at the county, facilitate capacity building and awareness creation forums on clean cooking in the County including farmers field days and other related events, convene joint review meetings on the progress in addressing clean cooking agenda at the County level, coordinate evidence generation actions at the County in collaboration with V4CP and other stakeholders, facilitate private sector investment in clean cooking through a conducive policy and business environment.
The aim of the County Department is to attain a 100% transition from unclean sources of energy to clean and affordable cooking solutions to reduce pollution pressure on our environment.
The documents were signed by County Secretary Mr. Geoffrey Kigochi and Chief Officer Eng Daniel Okia for the department and CCAK CEO Mr. David Njugi and Victor Gathogo for SNV.
The training exercise of the COVID-19 border surveillance volunteers at Sun Set Hotel ( Picture By David Wadulo)
By Jackline Omondi
At least 34 volunteers to the Border Surveillance team under the Covid-19 Management Committee have undergone a one-day training to help in manning the county border points to help curb the spread of corona virus in the County.
The training held at the sunset hotel in Kisumu was graced by the Director for Special Programs and Disaster Management, Emeritus Ruth Odinga and the Executive Director Lake Hub Mr. James Odede.
The training program was meant to equip the new Surveillance team with adequate skills needed to help them in their work.
Key areas of study included COVID -19 Protocols, COVID -19 signs and symptoms, preventive measures, various testing methods together with customer care tactics.
The surveillance team members will be stationed at the three border points in Kiboswa, Ahero and Kisian border points where they will work on a daily basis for a period of one month, as from 8 am to 6 pm.
Also present were Merab Ochieng, trainer and consultant on Matters COVID-19 and members of the Kisumu county COVID-19 secretariat.
Chief Officer for Energy and Industrialization Mr. Daniel Okia speaking to ACTS on Kisumu County’s Green Energy initiatives (Picture By Jacob Owiti)
By Matilda Atieno
As Kisumu moves towards embracing the green energy concept, addressing disparities in access and affordability have been determined as the solution towards a sustainable and equitable future.
The existence of the county directorate of green energy is a positive step towards setting up Kisumu with a greater focus on Renewable Energy (RE), green jobs and sustainable development path.
Often referred to as renewable energy/Clean energy, originates from natural sources or processes that are constantly replenished which principally includes, hydropower, wind, solar, geothermal, and bioenergy.
In Kisumu, 45% of households have access to clean energy, with most preferred being solar energy as 60% of households use wood as a source of energy.
According to the chief officer for Energy and industrialization, Mr. Daniel Okia, there are many opportunities in RE that can be explored, noting that with sunshine hours in the region, solar potential has continued to dominate renewable capacity expansion all over the county and that Biogas as renewable energy is an affordable domestic energy source and solutions to meet the energy need in rural areas.
In an interview with African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS), Mr. Okia also pointed out that the county government has given energy a big boost in terms of financing, which will go a long way in propelling Kisumu to the level of being energy efficient.
With the adoption of the policy energy master plan which calls on government to promote the development of RE as an alternative source of energy to mitigate climate change and to boost energy efficiency in the county, the department of energy has so far established energy centers in Nyang’oma in Muhoroni and holo in Kisumu west.
However, there are challenges in achieving the county government’s goal of renewable energy, which includes poverty level and lack of awareness on clean energy opportunities. To confront these barriers, the department of energy welcomes partnerships to co-identify clean energy projects and investment opportunities that will ultimately benefit the community with low-cost, affordable and sustainable clean energy solutions.
In this regard, efforts towards achieving sustainable RE have kicked off in Kisumu through the project dubbed “100% Renewables Cities & Regions Roadmap” which offers support to national and regional level governments to promote a move towards 100% renewable energy strategies with increased awareness and stakeholder engagement.
The project was endorsed by the ministry of energy for implementation in the County Governments of Kisumu, Mombasa and Nakuru with the aim of building a path for focus cities to finance and implement renewable energy projects, through the assessment of local RE potential and project concepts, as well as the development of financeable projects.
As Kisumu moves in this bold new direction, the 100% RE project calls on stakeholders to be active participants in providing valuable input and guidance on the formulation of processes that will promote renewable energy strategies at the local level.
The county government is particularly focused on ensuring that clean energy is affordable to everyone, and particularly to the highly energy-burdened households.
“With collaboration from stakeholders and partners we can ensure Kisumu reaches its energy goals while also helping vulnerable residents,” Says Mr. Okia.
CEC Member Gilchrist Okuom launching the Kisumu County Agricultural call center
By Nancy Juma
Farmers in Kisumu County will no longer require physical contact with the extension officers to get farm related information following the launch of the Countywide Farmer Helpine Call Centre by the County Government with support from U.S Agency for International Development (USAID).
The 6.4 million USAID – KCDMS funded toll-free call centre, the first in the whole country and coming just weeks after the launch of E – Voucher system will help farmers receive virtual extension services, advisory services and market information as they carry out their business.
This marks a great milestone in the transformation of agriculture through technology and will go a long way in realizing increased productivity across the county. The centre domiciled at the County Department of Agriculture will be manned by four technical officers from the county government with expertise in crops, livestock production, veterinary medicine, and fisheries who will respond to questions from farmers providing them with the required information and support.
For a long time now, farmers have been complaining about the few number of extension officers in the fields and thanks to the call centre, they will now be able to receive assistance on whatever information they require.
In the recent past, the county was affected by the perennial flooding along the Nyando basin that swept a number of crops and livestock affecting many livelihoods. The Covid – 19 pandemic also hit hard, and Kisumu was not spared. This has had great negative impacts especially on the household economies supported by small scale farming as it hampered agricultural productivity. Several farmers were unable to access extension services resulting from restriction of movements as part of the protocols in containing the disease.
Speaking during the virtual launch, Kisumu Governor Prof. Peter Anyang’ Nyongo said that the call centre is an intervention that could not have come at a better time especially when the country is dealing with the Covid – 19 pandemic that has compromised food security and nutrition through the interruption of food related logistic services.
He reiterated that there is need to continue providing support to producers and step up monitoring for stock, prices and distribution systems to ensure that the county government can step in where the technical capacity in production is inadequate and market mechanisms fail.
He acknowledged that extension service provision despite being essential in ensuring food value chains function optimally has been greatly affected by inefficient extension services, poor infrastructure and inadequate personnel.
Effects he says will now be resolved by the call centre which he highlighted will help in reaching out to large population of farmers, address the existing shortage of extension officers and allow for real -time access to farmers in areas with poor road network like Nyakach, Muhoroni and Nyando.
He however rooted for enhanced and consistent transfer of current and relevant agricultural and climate technologies at the rural level where they can be implemented to increase productivity.
“There is need to capitalize on fast developing ICT technologies such as media, mobile phones and mobile applications which are becoming high valued communication channels for policy makers, extension workers and value chain actors for efficient and fast transfer of information and knowledge”. The Governor said adding that the extension approach will play a critical role in market linkages among value chain resulting in improved market information that will eventually lead to improved food and nutrition security, reduced poverty levels and improved living conditions.
The USAID Deputy Missions Director Heather Schildge who also joined the Governor for the launch lauded Kisumu for the continued strong partnership and demonstration of commitment towards the journey to self-reliance. She mentioned that the partnership to put up the call centre is part of USAID’s commitment to support Kenya’s response and recovery efforts to ease the immediate and long-term challenges of Covid – 19 pandemic. She applauded the Governor for his efforts towards ensuring the resilience of food suppliers and markets. She also noted that the partnership will greatly enhance Kisumu County’s ability and capacity to respond to the needs of the people of Kisumu.
Agriculture CEC Gilchrist Okuom on his part said that the call centre will go a long way in sensitizing farmers on different extension messages noting that lack of enough farmer information on best agricultural practices has greatly affected agricultural production within the county.
He however reiterated that agricultural transformation requires a robust enabling environment that attracts private sector investments.
“Investors tend to consider the agricultural sector as risky, especially at the primary production level’. He said
To this end, he pointed that the department is working closely with development partners such as USAID through the Kenya Crops and Dairy Market Systems Project (KCDMS) and other stakeholders to reduce the risks for the private sector to encourage more and better investments within Kisumu.
He says KCDMS is working with the department to strengthen market systems, enabling farmers to intensify and diversify into higher – value crops, value addition activities, and non – farm employment and enterprises. The project, he said has so far supported various initiatives by the county including training and capacity building, supporting public participation, provision of grants to private businesses with a total of 18 grantees in all the value chains, as well as offering ICT support for efficiency, and providing 534 farmers with certified avocado seedlings across 5 sub counties among others.
The helpline to run for the next 12 months will operate from Monday to Friday between 8 am to 5 pm serving farmers in Swahili, English, and Dholuo. It is is expected to directly benefit an estimated 40,000 smallholder farmers in Kisumu County.
Others joining the Governor for the launch were Chief Officers Dr. Paul Omanga, Rosemary Raluoch and USAID – KCDMS representatives Beverly Shitandi – Nyanza Regional Manager, Seth Yake – USAID KCDMS project Productivity and Bonface Musembi – Communication Specialist.
Lead photo, Kisumu Deputy Governor Dr. Mathew Owili flags of the relief items donated by UNICEF to be distributed to families affected by floods ( Picture by Collins Owuor)
By Collins Owuor
Kisumu Deputy Governor Dr. Mathew Owili has today flagged off water, sanitation and hygiene supplies worth Ksh4.6 million from UNICEF to assist communities affected by floods.
Speaking on behalf of Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o, Dr. Owili lauded the developments as he thanked UNICEF for their great support.
The donations will supplement the county government’s efforts to address recurring floods by opening and desalting of drainage to prevent water back flow.
According to the Deputy Governor, the county government through the special programs department has already set up evacuation centers to house the displaced families.
The county government he said had extended operations to engage its partners in assisting vulnerable households.
UNICEF will partner with the county government to increase water accessibility in Kisumu through the restoration of 13water supplies affected by floods to minimize Covid-19 infections.
Present were CEC’s, Salmon Orimba, Prof. Judith Atyang, Prof. Boaz Nyunya, UNICEF WASH expert Abdi Maalim Hassan, Chief Officer for Water and Sewerage Services Eng. Zacheus Okoth among other officials from the county government and UNICEF.
Deputy Governor Dr Mathew Owili (left) receives a consignment of PPEs from UNFPA Country Representative Dr Ademola Olajide (2nd right) at the Kisumu County Hospital today. The consignment which consisted of Hand Sanitizers,Surgical gloves, gumboots, aprons, gowns, face masks and disposal bags will be used by the county’s healthcare staff in the fight against Covid-19. He was flanked by the County CEC Member for Health Prof. Boaz Otieno Nyunya (right), County Director for Public Health Frederick Oluoch (centre) and UNFPA Program Analyst Ms Lilian Langat (left) (Picture by Jacob Owiti)
By Jacklyn Apondi
The County department of health today received personal protective equipment’s donated by the UNFPA in partnership Kenya Red Cross and Ability Trust set to boost the fight against COVID-19 in Kisumu
The Deputy Governor Dr. Mathew Owili received the donations on behalf of the county government issued by the UNFPA Country Representative Dr. Ademola Olajide in a ceremony held at the Kisumu County Referral Hospital (KCRH)
Dr. Owili was grateful for the donations and for the partnership that will guarantee support to the health workers in the fight against the pandemic. He called on residents not to down their tools on the fight against COVID- 19 pandemic adding that COVID- 19 cases are now rising at the county level with Kajiado Kitui county recording high numbers of COVID 19 patients.
The Deputy Governor noted that Kisumu County is not left behind as he made a special appeal to the residents to follow the Ministry of health guidelines to help curb the spread of the virus. He also assured quality care to the people of Kisumu County and especially people living with a disability.
The County UNFPA representative Dr. Ademola Olagide on his part applauded the efforts of the county government and the health department, pledging continuous support to the health workers in the fight against the pandemic.
The Kenya Red Cross regional representative Ms. Hellen Rotich also echoed the need to keep up with the Covid-19 protocols by the ministry of health to help curb the spread of the virus in the county.
In addition, the Kenya red cross is currently offering training of health care workers on issues of mental health as well as creating awareness on matters COVID at the community level, training people on home-based care program, proper use of masks, social distancing rules and screening in public facilities.
On his part, the CEC Member for health Dr. Boaz Otieno Nyunya acknowledged the challenges faced by the health team including low testing capacity, logistical constraints, contact tracing, and citizen’s negligence on the COVID- 19 rules, which could result in unprecedented effects.
The county department of health together with its partners has continued with awareness creation on recommended hygiene practices and measures aimed at minimizing the spread of COVID-19 in communities, including setting up hand washing facilities in various public spaces across the county.