QUALITY ASSURANCE WORKSHOP ON GUM ARABIC AND RESIN COMMENCES

Eighty participants, drawn from five sub-counties in Turkana County, will be attending a four-day workshop to be trained as Trainers of Trainers (ToTs) on gum arabic quality assurance and market value chain.

The participants will be expected to reach out and train 3000 collectors in this nature-based economic activity to improve the product for the market.

The training organized by Kenya Forestry Research Institute (Kefri), while working closely with the county Department of Natural Resources, comes after GIZ signed a partnership agreement with Acacia EPZ Ltd, a private export company dealing in gum Arabic for the European market.

This unique tree sap, locally known as “eminae”, is used as an additive in food and non-food items; from chewing gum to paint.

The German non-profit has also funded the training and will be conducted in three ASAL counties; Turkana, Marsabit and Samburu. The training is meant to increase employment and economic opportunities through nature-based enterprises like the collection of gum arabic and resin.

“Turkana has the best gum arabic and resin, however we have to be consistent in collecting for the market to buy the product,” said Pauline Lokuruka, Chief Officer of County Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources, while opening the workshop.

She challenged the participants to ensure that when they went back to their stations they transfer the skills learnt in the workshop to the other staff.
She also requested Kefri and Kenya Forest Service to follow-up and monitor the participants in their respective fields.
“We have officers in the field to assist in enhancing the collection of this important natural resources,” said the Chief Officer.

The Acting Deputy Director of Natural Resources, Pauline Ngoli Pusiye, said that the training has been a long time coming as it will be beneficial to the county residents.

According to Patrick Mwenja – the KEFRI Ag. Assistant Regional Director, they will also assist the communities to form a co-operative to aid in marketing.

EMERGENCY RESPONSE BEGIN AFTER HEAVY FLOODS

Governor Josphat Nanok today led a review of emergency response after heavy rainfall caused deadly flooding in a section of Lodwar town and other areas of Turkana.

The Governor commended a joint rescue team involved in rescue efforts from Friday night, who saved a number of people who could not get out of their homes after floodwaters engulfed low-lying areas along River Turkwel.

The Governor led the team which included Turkana Central MP John Lodepe, MCAs Robert Lowoko and James Ikeny in assessment visits across town and addressed residents affected.

He called for caution after reports that heavy rainfall will continue raising danger of a continuation of the floods.

The Governor informed residents that the County Government with support from national government and other partners will begin supplying clean water after the floods destroyed nine of the 12 boreholes serving the town with water. Affected families will also receive emergency kitty and relief food after completion of rapid assessment by disaster team.

County Commissioner Wambua Muthama announced that three people had been confirmed dead with additional reporting from the Sub-Counties yet to be received.

He joined the Governor in calling for caution and announced that barriers will be set at Kawalathe River to deter people and vehicles from crossing. Additional teams of police has only been deployed to beef up security of areas vacated by residents after the floods.

The emergency response team is led by Deputy County Secretary Robert Loyelei and Chief Officer for Public Service and Disaster Management Gladys Arika and includes representatives from Kenya Red Cross, UNICEF, National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA), Oxfam CARITAS, Save the Children, Word Vision among others.

COUNTY GOVERNMENT, FAO LAUNCH CROSS-BORDER RESILIENCE PROJECT

A three month livestock cross-border project that will benefit residents of Loima and Turkana West sub-counties has officially been launched today in Lodwar.

The project funded by Canadian government through United Nation Food & Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) “Building Households Resilience through Early Action and protecting livestock Assets” targets to improve resilience of livelihoods to threats and crises, through intervention and implementation of drought response by County’s Livestock Production and Veterinary Services departments.

Speaking during the Launch, Chief officer for Fisheries, Livestock and Veterinary Services Dr. Michael Eregae welcomed development partners support on livestock response, and expressed a commitment to continue addressing pastoralists’ issues through close coordination on feeds distribution and diseases control.

Dr. Eregae revealed that the County Government in partnership with Livestock Market System (a program under USAID) plans to establish market days in Lokichar, Lodwar and Kakuma to avail ready markets which and provide economic value of Livestock products to thousands of herders in the County. He called on development partners to support the implementation of the County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP) to avoid duplication of projects.

The Chief Officer said that the County Veterinary department had bought mobile Crush (locally known as Akoroth) in the last financial year and plans to procure more to help in treatment of Livestock in the County.

Over 1374 households in Loima and Turkana West are set to benefit from the distribution of 330 tonnes of Livestock range cubes while another group totaling 18000 households will benefit from deworming and vector control exercise that will cover 782,100 small stock,36,000 cattle and 1200 camels.

Head of FAO in Turkana, Dan Irura affirmed that the organization will continue collaborating with the County Government in its effort to achieve food security through funds support on resilience projects.

The project which will be implemented by VSF Germany from this Month to December is also being done in West Pokot County and parts of Uganda.

Also present were MCA’s Joseph Nyanga (Kalobeyei) and Elim Epuu(Letea), several county government officers and a host of Livestock stakeholders from Non-governmental organizations.

DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIONS URGED TO TAILOR PROGRAMMES TO SUIT COMMUNITY NEEDS

Development partners implementing cross-border projects have been advised to tailor their programmes to meet the needs of communities.

Speaking during the first day of Kenya-Uganda cross-border consultative meeting to promote integrated development including animal health and other resilience investments in the Karamoja cluster, Governor Josphat Nanok said the priority for communities living along the border was the establishment of water infrastructure which will contribute to the realization of the objective to commercialize livestock keeping.

“I am asking partners, let’s read the priorities of the people correctly when implementing projects. If you want to address 60 percent of problems facing the pastoralists it’s water, it used to be insecurity which forms 30 percent of the problem but the biggest is water.”

“You solve this problem then you have solved the problem of the livestock industry, and can begin thinking how we can bring livestock industries and other aspects of value addition,” he said.

He revealed that technical teams have visited the site where the government plans to set up the dam in Namoniangikaala in Loima Sub-County, while the West Pokot County had picked a site where both Pokot and Turkana communities graze. During last month’s signing of the Kenya-Uganda MOU for cross-border peace and development, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that the Government will set up three dams in Turkana, West Pokot and Marsabit to benefit pastoralists.

Governor Nanok urged IGAD to replicate in Kenya dams it plans to develop in Uganda to meet the big need for water. The county boss insisted that part of efforts to implement the MoU was to strengthen cross-border trade and build on existing good flow of goods and people across the border with Uganda.

State Department of ASALs Principal Secretary Micah Powon informed stakeholders that part of deliberations in the three days of the meeting will be developing mechanism for resource sharing along the border, infrastructure improvement for better market access, strengthening surveillance to livestock and human diseases, developing coordination mechanism and sharing of information. He revealed that a joint technical team will soon meet to develop an action plan for the implementation of the MoU signed in Moroto.

The Ugandan delegation attending the meeting is led by Assistant Commissioner for Karamoja Affairs Francis Okori.

Director for IGAD Centre for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development (ICPALD) Dr. Solomon Munyua and representatives of partner organisations USAID Kenya and FAO were in attendance.

Senior County Government officials in attendance include County Executives Chris Aletia (Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries) Chief Officers Dr. Michael Eregae (Fisheries Livestock and Veterinary Services), Ariko Namoit (Roads and Transport), Senior Advisor on Security, Peace and Borderlands Initiatives Augustine Lokwang, Directors Dr. Benson Longor (Veterinary Services) James Lokwale (Trade) and Stella Opakas (Minerals Reso) among others.

GOVERNOR NANOK CALLS FOR SUPPORT OF DEVELOPMENT AGENDA, URGES POLITICIANS TO SHUN SUCCESSION POLITICS

Governor Josphat Nanok has urged for support of the County Government’s development agenda and discouraged gubernatorial succession politics of 2022.

Addressing residents yesterday when he made stopovers at Kamuge,Lomelo and Kagiteitei on his way from Kapedo, Turkana East Sub County, the Governor called on the public to be patient as his administration works to delivers on promises made during the 2017 general elections. He assured that his concern was the welfare of Turkana residents and not about future politics.

“I urge you to allow me to deliver services to the larger Turkana populace first as I promised during the last election. Strengthening primary health care through the construction of health institutions, road connectivity, improvements of education standards and other development concerns that you have raised are my focus at the moment,” he said.

In Lomelo, the Governor said once completed, a project to develop a desalination system of borehole whose water was unfit for human consumption will serve close to 3000 residents of the area, who currently get supplied water through the county water bowser

The county boss made a stop at Kasarani, site of planned establishment of 40 acres of rainfed farms and affirmed that the County Government will increase the size of land under crop production as part of investments to achieve food security. Apart from routine support to pastoralists on vaccination and treatment, he revealed plans to set up a livestock market at Kapedo to benefit herders and for the value addition of livestock products as well to boost the local economy.

He promised further recruitment of ECDE teachers on top of the 300 who are being recruited; and added that he and the other Turkana MPs were pushing the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to hire more secondary and primary school teachers to bridge the current deficit of 3000.

County Executive for Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries Chris Aletia said that the Ministry will soon do restocking exercise of shoats which had been planned for the last financial year. On her part, County Executive for Public Service and Disaster Management Esther Lokwei informed residents that distribution of County relief food cycle will start in the coming weeks.

Other speakers were Turkana East Mp Ali Lokiru and Kapedo MCA Willy Nalimo.

WE WILL SUPPORT REFERENDUM PUSH THAT WILL DELIVER ADDITIONAL RESOURCES TO COUNTIES- GOVERNOR NANOK

The ongoing debate on the various proposals to ammend the Kenyan Constitution should be centered on its benefit to wananchi at the grassroots level and not stifle devolution, Governor Nanok has said.

Speaking in Kapedo during the burial of Mwalimu Nicodemus Aruoto, a former teacher at Silale Primary School, Governor Nanok challenged Members of County Assembly to put the interest of Turkana people first by considering which proposals if passed, will increase budgetary allocation to spur development in the county.

He urged MCAs to set aside political partisan politics and to interrogate what benefit the people of Turkana will get from the any proposed change to the constitution, and insisted that a referendum will not be a political contest between coalitions.

He said the Council of Governors supported the Ugatuzi proposals which advocates for the retainment of the existing counties with an additional budgetary allocation among other constitutional changes that would further strengthen performance of the devolved units.

To decentralize government services to the village level, Governor Nanok said that the new members of thr Turkana County board that were sworn recently will soon start recruitment process of village administrators who will support delivery of government services to the lowest administrative units of the County Government.

While outlining County Government plans to accelerate development, the County Boss revealed plans to establish 40 acres each of farming land in Kasarani and Lomelo as well as 2 acres of drip irrigation land in Kapedo that will mainly be utilised for horticultural farming.

On Roads connectivity, said there was a challenge on construction of feeder roads and called on other leaders to push the National government to set aside funds for the construction of Kapedo -Lokichar road and the one connecting Makutano and Kibish that he said were c
under Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA).

To curb insecurity in Turkana East and other conflict corridors, Governor Nanok said that he will work closely with the national government to end insecurity banditry attacks being witnessed.

He expressed hope that the newly trained National Police Reservists that are drawn from Turkana and neighbouring communities would help scale down the conflict.

On development of Silale Geothermal Energy, Governor Nanok informed residents that he had made it clear that the Geothermal Development Company (GDC) follows the law which protected the local community’s share of benefits from exploration of resources on their land. He promised that the County Government and leaders from the area will ensure all concerns from the community would be addressed.

Leaders present were Turkana East MP Ali Lokiru, MCAs Willy Nalimo (Kapedo/Napeitom), David Erukudi (Lobokat) and Peter Edung’ (Kalapata).

Senior County Government officials accompanying the Governor included County Executives Chris Aletia (Agriculture,Pastoral Economy and Fisheries), Esther Lokwei (Public Service and Disaster Management),Roads and Transport Chief Officer Ariko Namoit and Chief of Staff Ekuwam Nakiporo.

GOVERNOR NANOK LAUNCHES NAPUU WATER PROJECT

Napuu, September 16th, 2019-Residents of Kanamkemer Ward are set to benefit from the Napuu Water Project whose first phase launched today by Governor Josphat Nanok.

The project which is undertaken by National Water Harvesting and Storage Authority (NWHSA) will include installation of an elevated 300m³ steel tank in Narewa and a water distribution system to 16000 residents in Narewa, Lokitela, Ekaales, Masewan, Kasarani, Juluk and Trans Africa as well as supply Kisumu PolyTechnic, Turkana University College.

Speaking during the launch at the Napuu Aquifer, Governor Nanok said the County Government will utilize water from boreholes in the aquifer to support the development of Lodwar Municipality and the expansion of existing irrigation schemes.

“This is going to increase the development of this part of Lodwar Municipality as we refocus how the aquifer will best be utilized for irrigation agriculture,” he said.

He revealed that the County Government was engaging the community living around Napuu to find best ways to secure the land within which the aquifer was located.

“The aquifer runs from the Turkwel River 5km downstream and 3km upstream and we are discussing with the community living on securing the aquifer and even if it requires legislation to ensure the aquifer serves the community for many years to come,” Governor Nanok said.

He added that the involvement of the Water Authority, a government parastatal, was an assurance that works on the projects will be undertaken with professionalism and achieve expected standards. These sentiments were echoed by Chairman of the County Assembly’s Water, Environment and Natural Resources Committee James Abei, who said the Authority had better expertise to implement the project to completion.

On his part, National Water Harvesting and Storage Authority Chairperson David Nkedianye said the Authority had signed a Memorandum of Understating (MOU) with the County Government to undertake the project which is planned to take three months and will cost of Sh72m.

Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro who attended the launch said the project was part of the County’s implementation of one of the five transformative development priorities of Water Development aimed at solving water challenges faced by residents.

Others who spoke were Deputy County Secretary Robert Loyelei, CECM for Water Services Emathe Namuar and Kanamkemer MCA James Ikeny among others.

COUNTY MOH RECEIVES SIX LAPTOPS TO BOOST TB LABORATORY DIAGNOSTIC REPORTING

The county MoH has received a total of six specifically programmed laptops from the national TB program to reinvigorate and strengthen laboratory TB diagnostic reporting

The laptops have also been programmed to support monitoring and evaluation of progress made towards reducing the TB burden in the county

Speaking during the handing over of the machines to the ministry, the County Medical Laboratory Coordinator (CMLC) Mr. James Maragia noted that TB is diagnosed through laboratory procedures by gene expert and microscopy hence the need for specialised tools for reporting the results

He further noted that the laptops have been fully installed and configured with tools for forecasting and routine quantification of TB reagents and other consumables to mitigate against service interruptions

This initiative is in tandem with Sustainable Development Goals 3.3 which aims at ending global TB epidemics by 2030

The receipt of the laptops also places Turkana county at a privileged position to fulfill the vision of the national strategic for TB, Leprosy and Lung health (2019-2023) which envisions a Kenya free of TB and Leprosy and, reduced burden of lung diseases

While receiving the laptops, director Emanman communicated the appreciation of the county towards the myriad of support from the national TB program

Director Emanman noted that the national TB program has been supporting county TB initiatives which includes but not limited to; quarterly review meeting, targeted workshops, UNION, commodity supply, equipment supply, support supervision and technical assistance among others

The laptops will be distributed to the Sub County Medical Laboratory Coordinators (SCMLC) with immediate effect to serve the intended purpose

Worth noting is the support of the EGPAF in facilitating transportation of the laptops from Nairobi to Turkana

TURKANA AND KAPOETA LEADERS ENDORSE KENYA, SOUTH SUDAN BORDER AGREEMENT

Turkana and Kapoeta leaders endorse Kenya, South Sudan border agreement

Kapoeta, August 18th, 2019 – Leaders from Turkana County and Kapoeta State of South Sudan have endorsed an international border agreement signed between Kenya and South Sudan, to solve border conflict between the two countries.

In a bilateral meeting held in Kapoeta, the leaders unanimously declared their support for the boundary delimitation and demarcation MoU which was signed by Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Monica Juma and her South Sudanese counterpart Nhial Deng Nhial in Nairobi last month.

Led by Petroleum and Mining Cabinet Secretary John Munyes and Governor Josphat Nanok, the leaders held consultations with the South Sudanese delegation headed by Governor of Kapoeta State Louis Lojore Lobong, and were sensitized on the contents of the MoU whose implementation agreement was signed by Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta and Salva Kir in 17th June.

The leaders committed to embark on joint community sensitization exercise and drum for the support of boundary delimitation and demarcation as a solution to inter-community conflict the Turkana and Toposa and to deepen existing relations between the two countries. A community sensitization committee was formulated to spearhead the drive, comprising of elected leaders from both sides.

In his remarks, Governor Nanok informed the leaders that the meeting was a directive of Presidents Uhuru and Salva Kir who had insisted upon the interaction of two sets of leaders. He acknowledged that the two communities had held extensive previous engagements on peace and security of the border.

He said: “I know there will be issues to do with colonial history on boundaries and migration patterns but there are mechanisms set in the MoU for the communities to express themselves and for bodies formed to look at that and make a decision.” He said the diplomatic framework of the MoU depended on joint sensitization of the communities to ensure delivery of one message.

CS Munyes said the leaders’ meeting was important to build consensus on the MoU and develop teamwork ahead of the boundary delimitation and demarcation. He assured leaders that the MoU had been drafted in the spirit of friendship and the process of its implementation tailored to jointly seek solutions to the boundary issue.

Host Governor Lobong thanked the two presidents for the wisdom to seek for a resolution of a long-standing problem over the boundary. He reiterated the calls by other speakers that the border demarcation should encourage communities to “build bridges rather than barriers”.

The meeting set the joint community sensitization exercise for the last week of this month in Nadapal, Kibish town, Nasinyono and Napak in Kenya and Narus, Naliel, Napwatasigira, Nanyangachor and Lotimor/Nakuwa.

The leaders also addressed emerging security issues along the border and passed resolutions to foster peaceful coexistence in the course of the boundary delimitation and demarcation initiative.

Members of Parliament who were part of delegation included Senator Malachy Ekal, who urged the leaders to rebuild the sense of brotherhood between the two communities according to their shared ancestry as members of the larger Ateker. Others were Daniel Epuyo (Turkana West), Christopher Nakuleu (Turkana North), John Lodepe (Turkana Central), and Mohamed Ali Lokiru (Turkana East).

Speaker of the County Assembly Erastus Lokaale led a host of MCAs were also present in the meeting, who included Leader of Majority Bethwel Lochor, Leader of Minority Benedict Lokamar among others.

County Secretary Peter Eripete who accompanied the Governor said the Kenya- South Sudan border remained one of the least developed of Kenya’s borders but said the MoU if well implemented will solve the problems that had hampered development. Other officials were CECM for Public Service and Disaster Management Esther Lokwei.

From the national government were the Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya, Director of the Kenya International Boundaries Office Jasper Nkoroi, Kenya Ambassador to South Sudan Pius Mburu and other officials from the Office of the Attorney General.

AUDITIONS FOR TOBONG’ULORE CULTURAL TEAMS UNDERWAY AT THE WARDS

Thirty traditional dance teams from across Turkana County are currently auditioning to perform at this year’s Tobong’ulore Cultural Festival to be held on the 14th – 17th August, 2019.

For the next 10 days, Department of Culture – working closely with ward administrators – will be looking to prepare the teams to give their best performance during the festival. The auditioning teams have been selected one per ward to ensure an inclusive representation in all important festival.

“We are listening to the songs to ensure that they conform to the theme of the festival and check on their attire or costumes,” says Philip Lokaala, Deputy Director of Culture.

This year’s theme is “Celebrating cultural heritage for tourism, peace and regional development”.

The festival is about preservation of cultural heritage; people, nature and archaeology. It is also seeks to promote Turkana County as the preferred tourist destination and for investment opportunities.

In the coming days, the department will be looking to audition the other performances, individual and groups; both secular and faith-based ones.