WORKING TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE MOBILITY AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN TURKANA
The County Government of Turkana is partnering with the Institute for Transport and Development Policy (ITDP) to work towards an improved Non-Motorized Transport (NMT) facilities and affordable housing in Lodwar town which is in line with the county development agenda.
ITDP has received a grant from the Ford Foundation to support the planning of the project and will be working with the county government to ensure the project is implemented.
In a fact finding mission, ITDP Transport Planning Associate Cyprine Mitchel and Transport Planning Assistant Penina Ndegwa toured the county between 8th and 9th August 2018 to learn more about the county development priorities; familiarise themselves with County’s land use, urban planning, and transport policies; collect sample data on the existing transport system; and chart the way forward for the Ford Foundation-suported program.
They visited the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure and Public Works on the 8th of August to find out the Ministry’s mission and priorities in areas of roads development, public transport, NMT, road safety situation in Turkana, Kenya Urban support programme and also to identify areas for collaboration and partnership.
The two were received by the ministy County Executive Committee Member (CEC) Benson Logiel Lokwang’ and had a meeting in his office which was attended by Chief Officer (CO) Public Works, Emmanuel Ekeno Ekai, CO Transport and Infrastructure John Ariko Namoit and other ministry officer’s.
They expressed ITDP commitment to support the county government to design and implement high quality transport system and policy solutions to improve Lodwar town just like they have done with other towns like Kisumu and Kiambu town. They were impressed that the county government was bringing down buildings on road reserves within Lodwar terming this as a way of creating space for implementation of high quality transport systems.
“we are not re-developing but developing transport in Lodwar and the good thing is that we have enough space to do street design”, said Penina Ndegwa.
CEC Benson Lokwang’ said he was happy ITDP is willing to partner with the county government. According to Lokwang, the county needs much development and without money it is a challenge to implement such developments.
“As a County we had been left behind for so long. We need this money, we have to do a lot of development and be like other developed counties”, said the CEC.
Though ITDP does not support construction of vehicle packings, the CEC requested a review of this and that ITDT should consider supporting construction of packings.
“we have minimal packing and whether we like it or not there are places like Lodwar airstrip that require packing slots. It is difficult to raise revenue when there are no good packings”, added minister Lokwang’.
The CO Public works Emmanuel Ekeno requested that ITDP supports other county projects like improving the Lodwar airstrip and the construction of a helipad at the county headquarters. He also asked the organisation to share knowledge and any available information with the county team as this could help boost expertise in guiding the public.
“This is a pastoral community and people move with their animals on the roads. It is important they are guided on how to use the roads”, said CO Emmanuel.
He went further to state that the ministry is working towards having good drainage system and streetlights and that ITDP expertise in street design will be of great importance. He also stated that the ministry intends to conduct public sensitisation on road safety and encourages the use of ‘tuk tuk’for transport in a move to reduce motorbike accidents.
While speaking at the meeting CO Transport and Infrastructure Ariko Namoit said that to ease transportation the ministry has embarked on routine maintenance of road works, a project that entails bush clearing, gravelling, grading and drift constructions on roads across the county.
CO Namoit raised that public sensitisation will work well with projects being implemented and that it will be useless to have good transport facilities in place which are not utilised because people don’t know how to use them.
“it will be a waste of resources to have foot paths that are not utilised because people are unaware of what to do”, said Namoit.
Namoit reiterated that it was important to have packing for vehicles at least in Lodwar town and at the air strip. He asked ITDP to be flexible and consider supporting other county transport projects apart from the ones they have stipulated in their plan and not to compare Turkana to other counties.
“consider this as a special request from a marginalised area”, said Namoit.
The ITDP team promised to share all the requests from the ministry with their global team and to also support the county government to develop funding propasals for projects not supported by ITDP.
In his closing remarks, minister Lokwang’ asked ITDP to ensure the improved NMT facilities and affordable housing project does not come to an end before Turkana county benefits fully from it.