The county government of Kisumu in partnership with the Kenya Female Advisory Organization ( KEFEADO )and the National Taxpayers Association (NTA), held a community forum to engage residents of Manyatta B on Tax justice conversations. The forum was hosted by the area MCA, Ms Pamela Odhiambo.
The main objective of the forum was to equip the residents with information on how their taxes were being put to use by the governments.
The forum was attended by the governor’s advisor on People Living with Disability Affairs, Hon. Caroline Agwanda, who urged the participants comprising small scale business people, boda boda riders, to utilize the funds provided by the county government including, the trade fund and the women, youth and PWDs Fund by the county government to boost their livelihoods.
The meeting also educated residents on the need for paying taxes in addition to demanding for quality service delivery. National Taxpayers Association, Executive Director, Madam Irene Atieno emphasized on the need for the local community to be educated on the importance of paying tax and also ensuring equity for those who pay tax to the county government, adding that NTA seeks tax Justice by ensuring transparent, accountable revenue generation to restore the taxes to whom they are due.
While acknowledging the importance of the forum, executive director of KEFEADO, Madam Easter Okech, noted that strengthening essential public service delivery to ensure equal provision of the rights to health, access to water and sanitation, decent housing and sufficient mass transportation services, especially in the context of the unprecedented global crisis COVID-19 can solely be achieved through tax justice.
Ms Odhiambo, on her part said that the forum was meant to engage the voices of Manyatta B residents, in addressing challenges within the community, promising that the various projects by the county government will soon be completed, having been budgeted for.
The forum was an opportunity to underscore the need for a people-driven taxation system that promotes progressive taxation as well as the provision of quality and adequate resources, especially for the low-income residents.
The residents were also educated on the need for paying taxes in addition to demanding for quality service delivery.
By Jackline Omondi
Governor’s Advisor on PWD Affairs Hon.Caroline Agwanda (centre) joined by National Taxpayers Association- NTA Executive Director Ms Irene Otieno (left) and Kenya Female Advisory Organization -KEFEADO Executive Director Ms Easter Okech (3rd left) presenting Kangas to Manyatta “B” women who turned up for a Community Tax Justice engagement forum. The event was a organized in partnership with County Government of Kisumu, KEFEADO, NTA and County Assembly brought together Boda-boda operators and women traders from Manyatta B Waerd who also engaged in various sporting activities. (Picture By Jacob Owiti)
Officer in-charge of gender Mrs. Adah Omedi flanked by Director services, Madam Fiona Okwri during the sensitization against early pregnancy and distributing of sanitary towels to the young women in Seme
The County gender team paid a visit to the GENO Community Home based Care (CBO) on a Youth and adolescent sensitization forum in North Seme Ward, Seme Sub-County.
The team, under the directorate of Women, Youth and PWDs Affairs and which was led by the Officer in charge of Gender Mrs. Adah Omedi, flanked by director Social Services, Madam Fiona Okwiri, conducted a sensitization forum on early pregnancy and early marriages and also issued free sanitary towels to the young women in the area.
Speaking at the forum, Mrs. Omedi called on parents and the community to collectively stop early marriages adding that a wraparound social support can be a safe space for children, especially girls, who will be supported to navigate issues they face at school and home and to help them realize their full potential to boost their own well-being and that of the communities and County as whole.
“With greater opportunities, focused group discussions (FGD) and support from parents and communities, girls won’t be driven by circumstances into early marriage.” said Mrs. Omedi.
The early pregnancy rate and Early marriages in Kisumu county is troubling even with a strong healthcare system that guarantees confidentiality, a non-judgmental approach, and support of the adolescents.
Since COVID-19 containment measures were put in place in Kenya, Media reports have confirmed that several adolescent girls may have visited health facilities for antenatal services, including closing schools and restricting movements, access to sexual and reproductive health information and services.
Amid the pandemic, girls and women have continued to suffer SGBV cases and early marriages causing devastating consequences. The pandemic made it difficult for women and girls to access sexual and reproductive health (SRH) information and services, including contraceptives.
According to the WHO, complications relating to pregnancy and childbirth are already the leading cause of death for girls aged 15-19 globally. Adolescent girls face heighten risks such as early marriage in the world of COVID-19 that may cause them to become mothers earlier than is desired or recommended.
The team also called attention to the importance of continuity of sexual and reproductive health services during COVID-19, particularly for the adolescent girls.
By Matilda Atieno
Sober discussions on reproductive health must take center-stage in public forums to help reduce teenage pregnancies in the County, Kisumu Deputy Governor Dr. Mathew Owili has said.
Dr Owili said that cases of teenage pregnancies have risen sharply in Kisumu since mid-March when the government ordered the nationwide shutdown of schools following the Covid-19 outbreak, with the county recording at-least 3,500 cases since January.
Speaking at Hippo Point near Dunga beach, during an anti-teenage pregnancy campaign, the Deputy Governor called for a robust approach to address teenage pregnancies, as he expressed concern over the rising numbers.
Dubbed Linda Kesho, the campaign spearheaded by the Mama Ida Odinga Trust aims to halt new cases and stir up national debates against the prevalence.
In her address Assistant County Commissioner Madam Joan Chebet issued a warning to individuals preying on minors.
The government, she said would act swiftly to ensure such individuals are prosecuted, she urged the girls to focus on education and report any harassment cases to relevant authorities.
Joining the discussions were area MCA Joseph Olale, Public Health Director Fred Oluoch, his Trade counterpart Bovince Ochieng, Adah Omondi, from Mama Ida Odinga Trust were Hon. Caroline Ogot,Tuli Tulitu and Hellen Opiyo among other officials.
By: Collins Owuor
Mama Ida Odinga Trust is seeking out partnerships with County Governments’ nationally to roll out a three-month campaign to address rising teenage pregnancies and child marriages.
Dubbed Linda Kesho, the program aims to halt new cases and stir up a national debate on the prevalence.
Kisumu is one of the four counties involved in the program, piloted by the NGO, others are Siaya, Kilifi and Narok.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the last four months have seen an upsurge in the percentage of teen pregnancies countrywide with Kisumu recording 3500 cases between January and June this year, according to reports from the Health Department.
In a meeting today with a delegation from the Trust, Deputy Governor Dr. Mathew Owili expressed concerns over the rising number of teenage pregnancies in the county.
According to statistics from a recent survey by the National Council on Population and Development, one in five girls aged between 15 and 19 in Kenya is either pregnant or has given birth already. He called for a collective responsibility and active engagement at the grassroots to ensure all cases are recorded, following a national directive issued by the Head of State.
President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday ordered a probe on the rising cases of teenage pregnancies and gender-based violence across the country. This will ensure all pregnant school girls are registered to access free and post-natal care offered by the government.
To stem the wave, the County Government through the Department of Gender has brought onboard key stakeholders to actively engage and sensitize the youth on reproductive health. In addition, the county government has laid out an elaborate approach to expedite judicial processes in dispensing justice to affected victims.
The project will be spearheaded by County First Ladies through administrative structures with support from their county units.
By Collins Owuor