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.