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CULTURAL INFRASTRUCTURE SITES HANDED OVER TO CONTRACTORS

The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources, has handed over four project sites to contractors that are aimed at developing cultural infrastructure to stimulate and promote creative cultural industries.

Following the handing over of the Kataboi Eco-lodge site for completion, residents of Lokiriama in Loima Sub-county and Namurotung’a Lotubae in Turkana East Sub-county are set to benefit from exhibition halls alongside curio shops while Lokitaung will have a public library to promote literacy.

The curio shops are expected to be centres for growth of creative cultural industries such as beadwork, carvings and metalworks as well as collection and storage of traditional artefacts.

Leading the county team at Lokiriama project site handover, CEC George Emoru urged the contractor to work with the community especially in providing employment opportunities.

The Deputy Director of Culture and acting chief officer, Philip Lokaala told contractors that the ministry expects works be of high standards as stipulated in the BQs.

The county Public Works’ engineer team, led by Eng. Kenneth Obong’o, informed the various contractors that they would start works immediately and told them to work with the county engineers to ensure the projects were as per the BQs and to adhere to the time stipulated in the contracts.

The communities, through their representatives agreed to donate land for the projects.

COUNTY GOVERNMENT AND NMK SIGN MOU TO PRESERVE TURKANA’S CULTURAL HERITAGE

Turkana County Government, through the Culture Directorate, and National Museums of Kenya (NMK) have signed an MoU which the County Secretary Peter Eripete says will assist the county in capacity building on mapping and developing heritage sites across the county.

“The mapping will be significant in assisting the county on planning and identifying the priority areas,” added the CS, speaking at the headquarters of County Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources.

The MoU, which is also geared towards the promotion, preservation and conservation of Turkana’s rich cultural heritage and its place in Kenya’s story on the Fight of Independence, will assist the two parties identify the areas of collaboration.

“We (NMK) would like to propose that the county looks into mapping out some of the historical and heritage sites, with NMK as a consultant, in order to develop a road map for tourism investment”, said Dr Mzalendo Kibunjia, Director General of NMK, who was accompanied by top NMK officials.

He added that NMK had completed the rehabilitation of the Kenyatta House in Lokitaung and was also looking into protecting other sites such as Kenyatta House (Lodwar) and Nariokotome.

CEC George Emoru shared with the team some of the heritage sites the ministry had mapped, such as Moru Anayace, for the purpose of developing them as tourism attractions.

“The African Court has been rehabilitated to be an information center and what is left is equipping it for use,” he added. The African Court is located in front of the Lodwar Law Courts.

Deputy Director Culture, Philip Lokaala, observed that the signing of the MOU marks a new beginning for building a sustainable partnership between the County Government and the NMK on heritage restoration and conservation in Turkana.

“The county will tap on the expertise of the NMK to develop cultural facilities for tourism attractions,” he said.

After the signing of the MoU, the Culture Directorate and NMK teams carried out a public participation exercise at Namorutunga, Kalokol – Turkana Central Sub-county.
According the NMK Director-General, the institution is seeking to construct a mini museum in memory of the Late Frank Brown – a geologist who mapped the Turkana Basin.

Plans, intiated by the Directorate of Culture, are underway to construct a perimeter fence, curio shops and exhibition hall.

PARTNERING WITH SWEDISH SCHOOLS OF ART TO PRESERVE TURKANA CULTURE

Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro said Turkana County Government is in the forefront in the promotion and preservation of culture when the Swedish School of Arts delegation paid him a courtesy call at the County Headquarters.

“We want our young people to understand where they came from and to know their culture or they will be lost,” he said.

He further added that those who discard their culture become slaves to other cultures. Thus, he welcomed the delegation to explore and learn about the Turkana culture as they look for areas of collaboration on this important aspect of socio-economic development.

“We will be looking on areas like capacity building, technical support and marketing,” said CEC of Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources – Charles Lokioto, “as well as resource mobilisation opportunities.”

The Swedish institution is working to partnership with county on cultural promotion and preservation of both the host community and refugees in Kakuma and Kalobeyei.

The Chief Officer of Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources – Rosemary Nchinyei, said there was need to have fully fledged cultural facilities where the youth can rehearse, record and train on matters to do with culture and arts. She said the county through such partnership is looking at institutionalizing the Ekalees Centre to become self sustaining and that which brings all art and culture activities under one roof for both showcasing and preservation.

The Swedish Delegation, accompanied by the Chief Officer, also had sessions with the youth in Kakuma refugee camp engaged in arts and culture. The youth shared their experiences, challenges and opportunities.

“We would like to support the county government in the development of culture through preservation and encouraging the youth explore new ways of cultural development,” said Måns Fellesson.

He led the two representatives from the schools; Camila Freedman and Åsa Lundmark.

On citing the annual Tobong’u Lore cultural festival, the County Secretary –  Peter Eripete said the county government used culture to promote peace and regional development with neighbouring countries – as they share similar traditions and customs.

The deputy governor echoed the same and added that the event had minimised resource-base conflicts.

The Department of Culture organised cultural performances to showcase the rich Turkana cultural heritage.

Also present were Hon. Daniel Emekwi – Chair of the County Assembly Committee of Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources and MCA Katilia Ward, Hon. Alice Nakawa – Nominated MCA and Vice-chair of the above committee, Hon. Bethwel Kobongin – Leader of Majority and MCA Songot, Hon. Joseph Epuu – MCA Letea.

ROAD SAFETY CAMPAIGN KEY IN CREATING AWARENESS ON SAFETY OF ROAD USERS- DOCTOR AMEYO

The upcoming Road Safety Campaign by Turkana County Government Department of Transport will play a big role in sensitizing county road users to observe road safety as a way to minimize accidents in the county. Deputy Director at Lodwar County Referral Hospital (LCRH) Dr. Bonventure Ameyo has said.

The County Department of Transport has organized for a four days Road Safety Campaign scheduled for February 4th, 5th ,6th and 7th in Lodwar, Kakuma, Lokichogio, and Lokichar respectively. This campaign is themed, ‘Road safety, my responsibility’ and is aimed at sensitizing all road users to ensure safety of others since road safety begins with self.

Devolution government in Kenya has given birth to much development in the roads sector in the county. There has been much improvement on the county major highway by the National Government through Kenya Highways Authority (KenHA). The county government has opened and improved several county roads. The county roads have been graded and graveled, while drifts have been constructed at different sections where seasonal rivers transverse the roads. In Turkana East, a bridge was constructed to connect people of Kapelbok and Nawoyeregae. All these developments have given rise to an increase of movement on the roads and thus great risks to accidents.

The planned road safety campaign will therefore play a big role in sensitizing the road users to observe safety while on the roads to prevent accidents from occurring.

SPORTS UNIFYING FACTOR IN NORTH RIFT- DG LOTETHIRO

Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro has said that communities living in the Northrift region stand to cement peaceful coexistence through sport activities.

Speaking today at Ekales centre when he officially flagged off the Northrift regional Cross-Country Championship race, DG Lotethiro said that regular sporting events would reduce banditry and conflicts that have in the past been bedridden the area economically.

DG Lotethiro assured participants of County government commitment to nurture talents through construction of a modern stadium and athletic villages that would be used for training camps ,and hosting of different games.

Deputy Governor challenged senior and international athletics to guide the upcoming ones and asked the sports department to organize similar events at the sub-counties ,so that hidden talents at the rural areas can be identified, and supported to national and international level.

Turkana East Member of Parliament Ali Lokiru echoed deputy governor’s sentiments noting of the need by Mp’s to emulate the County and organize such events at the constituencies to support talents .

On his part,County executive for education and sports Patrick Lokaimoe said that sports was an economic aspect of life that can become as a source of employment to those participating in it. He thanked the Athletics body for allowing Turkana host the cross-country that he said was a start of many great events they plan to organize in future.

County government officials present included Chief officers Jacob Lolelea(Sports) and Gladys Arika(Public service);host of directors, among other officers from different departments.

Elgeyo Marakwet County dominated the event winning both the 10km senior women and 8km junior men races. Elgeyo Marakwet County swept away the 8km junior men race taking the first seven positions .

Athletic Kenya Northrift branch officials led by its chairperson Mr.Wilson Musto are overseeing the one day event.

ROAD SAFETY CAMPAIGN KEY IN CREATING AWARENESS ON SAFETY OF ROAD USERS- DOCTOR AMEYO

The upcoming Road Safety Campaign by Turkana County Government Department of Transport will play a big role in sensitizing county road users to observe road safety as a way to minimize accidents in the county. Deputy Director at Lodwar County Referral Hospital (LCRH) Dr. Bonventure Ameyo has said.

The County Department of Transport has organized for a four days Road Safety Campaign scheduled for February 4th, 5th ,6th and 7th in Lodwar, Kakuma, Lokichogio, and Lokichar respectively. This campaign is themed, ‘Road safety, my responsibility’ and is aimed at sensitizing all road users to ensure the safety of others since road safety begins with self.

Devolution government in Kenya has given birth to much development in the roads sector in the county. There has been much improvement on the county major highway by the National Government through Kenya Highways Authority (KenHA). The county government has opened and improved several county roads. The county roads have been graded and graveled, while drifts have been constructed at different sections where seasonal rivers transverse the roads. In Turkana East, a bridge was constructed to connect people of Kapelbok and Nawoyeregae. All these developments have given rise to an increase of movement on the roads and thus great risks to accidents.

The planned road safety campaign will therefore play a big role in sensitizing the road users to observe safety while on the roads to prevent accidents from occurring.

USHANGA INITIATIVE SENSITISATION EXERCISE KICKS OFF

The Ushanga Initiative sensitisation exercise that aims to educate women in the county on the need to embrace bead making as an economic activity has kicked off today at Aposta,Songot ward in Turkana West Sub-County.

The initiative is meant to assist women attain economic empowerment through making of varied traditional and modern beaded products that can be sold to earn an income, hence fight poverty and improve their livelihoods.

So far, the Department of Culture, under the County Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources, has trained 20 Trainers of Trainers (ToTs) and sensitised 230 women in Turkana North, Central, South and East Sub-counties. The Aposta group of 50 women, brings the number to 270.

“Turkana County Government wants to help women in the county understand the economic value of beads and train them. The training will enable the women to develop modern and new designs of beaded products,” said Charles Lokioto, the County Executive Committee member of the ministry.

He said that Ushanga empowerment program is on skill development that targets not only the women, but the youth as well.
CECM Lokiyoto called on the women to form and join Cooperative societies to ease access funds and markets.

He assured them of County government plans to establish Curio shops to avail ready markets for the beaded products.

On his part, the Deputy Director of Culture Phillip Lokaala challenged the women to take advantage of Tobong’u Lore – the annual Turkana tourism Cultural Festival – to learn more about the market preferences on beaded products. He added that festival also offers an opportunity for the women group to showcase their products for sale.

Lokaala also encouraged the women, representing nine villages from the area, to form groups which would later become cooperatives.

The department is advocating for use of modern beading machines that will improve their efficiency, design development and finishing of their products.

During these sensitisation exercises, Lemmy Ejorewoia – Chief Administrator of the department – demonstrated the use of various beading machines and equipment and how they can be used.

The department will in future carry out similar exercises at Namoruputh (Loima Sub-County), Kalemng’orok and Lochor Eemoit in Turkana South Sub-county.

GOVERNOR NANOK LAUNCHES CHILD PROTECTION STRATEGY

Turkana is the first county to launch a child protection strategy after Governor Josphat Nanok today launched a four year blueprint developed by a joint taskforce to ensure children receive care and access basic rights.

Addressing child protection stakeholders during the launch today at the Cradle Hotel, the Governor said the strategy was a key milestone in efforts to address child protection concerns.

“In 2014, I requested UNICEF and partners to develop a strategy to assist our county address child protection needs and I am glad that the we are launching the document today, which will support protection of children from bad abuse including gender, sexual and drug abuse, child labour and child marriages,” he said.

He assured that the County Government will lead the implementation of the strategy by providing technical and financial support which will include developing a bill and policy on child protection.

The Governor insisted that more effort was needed from government and partners to improve children access to education.

“Very critical in the area of education is how we protect the child right to education. In Turkana over 300,000 children are out of school mostly because of budgetary issues, lack of adequate teachers, poor infrastructure and inadequate facilities. There is need for innovative ideas to increase number of teachers especially in the rural areas and for us to double efforts to support parents take children to school considering the change in attitude on education compared to before,” he said.

Governor Nanok expressed hope that the strategy will help address the street children menace which he said was caused by among others irresponsible parents, teenage pregnancies. He said there was need for sensitization campaigns for parents to play a bigger role in the upbringing of their children rather than abandon the responsibility to other relatives or politicians.

He urged civil societies to take up the role in management of children rescue centres to support the County Government investment to set up the centres for the rehabilitation of children.

On her part, UNICEF’s Chief of Child Protection Monika Sandvik-Nylund hailed the strategy which she said will provide vision and direction to be taken when focusing resources on child protection.

County Executive for Education,Sports and Social Protection said the Ministry will work together with the National Government’s Child Protection Department to ensure objectives of the strategy are realised.

Others who spoke include County Public Service Board Chair Dr. John Ng’asike, Chief Officer for Education, Sports and Social Protection Dr. Lolelea Natade as well as members of the taskforce which developed the strategy under the Turkana Gender and Child Protection Network (TGCPN).

Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro later chaired panel discussion on the provisions of the strategy.

CREATIVES’ WORKSHOP TO INSPIRE TURKANA CULTURE DOCUMENTATION

The first ever creative writers’ workshop, sponsored by the Turkana County Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources, was organised today to equip the participants with the writing knowledge and skills to document the different aspects of Turkana culture.

The two-day workshop’s objective is to fulfil the Department of Culture’s mandate to promote, preserve and develop Turkana indigenous knowledge. However, there is much to be documented thus the selected participants interested in writing and publishing in this subject were brought together.

In his opening remarks, Charles Lokioto – the County Executive Member for Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources, said that the workshop was a start to spur the county writers, storytellers, poets and narrators to create creative or historical works that go to preserving and conserving the Turkana culture.

“We wanted to open your mind with this workshop and to start the process of getting ideas on this important issue of documenting our culture,” he said.

He added that, like Tobong’u Lore, the county creatives too needed to seize the opportunity to educate the new generation about their Turkana cultural heritage.
“We realised that there is gap in the documentation about Turkana. Our intention with the workshop is to engage these facilitators to inspire this team [participants] to bring what they have documented so far and to go produce,” said Philip Lokaala, the Deputy Director for Culture.

The 30 participants, under Professor Michael Lokuruka and author and publisher Alex Nderitu, were taken through a program that focused on sharing their writing experiences and techniques.

professor, Lokuruka whose 2016 article ‘Ramifications of the Turkana patrols of 1917-1918’ has been quoted over 40 times, advised the participants to take advantage of the low hanging fruit that is recording of the oral literature. While Nderitu cautioned the participants not to allow other people to tell their story instead they should take charge and do it themselves.

“We have realised that little has been documented on songs, wildlife, icon sites and the Turkana culture in general. Hence, we thought the best way to address this gap was to bring the creatives on board for culture documentation,” said Titus Ekiru, Deputy Director- Heritage.

In closing the workshop, Pauline Lokuruka – Chief Officer of Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources revealed that the ministry had already begun the formal documentation of Moru Anayece – one of the legends of the Ateker clans.

“The Turkana history was written a long time ago, let’s question those books and rewrite. We need to stand out and tell our stories,” she said, “I challenge you [participants] to start small and write children books of our stories and to teach them the Turkana cultural heritage.”

At the end of the workshop, the participants will have learnt academic and creative writing, translation and research techniques, writing tools and publishing options/opportunities.

NEW TURKANA COUNCIL OF ELDERS OFFICIALS ELECTED

The Turkana Council of Elders has new elected officials after their first official elections was conducted over the weekend to replace the interim officials who had served for four years since its formation in 2015.

The election was conducted at Ekaales Cultural Centre in the presence of Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources County Executive Committee member (CEC) Charles Lokioto, Chief Officer (CO) Pauline Lokuruka and Department of Culture staff.

The 146 members, representing all the sub-counties, agreed to elect the officials through secret ballot with the County Social Development Officer, James Kiptoo, presiding over the elections. They elected Charles Lorogoi Ejore, unopposed, as the new chair.  They also elected Abraham Lokueom (vice chair), Emmamuel Lotiir Maraka (secretary), John Kaatho Echwa (vice secretary), Margret Achom (treasurer) and Nichodemus Ekai (vice treasurer).

“We appreciate the outgoing team as well as the incoming team. The future is here because this election shows that the Council of Elders has been born,” said CEC Lokioto. “However, the by-laws of the council need to be reviewed to suit your needs.”

The CEC appreciated the members for electing Achom – the only woman – as the treasurer, however they need to do more on gender representation as stipulated in the constitution.

The incoming chair, Ejore, said that the formation of the council would help in streamlining the Turkana cultural policies. He challenged the council to fast track to identify emerging issues in the communities and find possible solutions.

“Culture is the heart beat of our county and it should be guided on how it can be enhanced especially the Turkana language,” said CO Lokuruka.

The outgoing chair Philip Lobelu appreciated the ministry for conducting a transparent election and its support during his tenure.

The new officials are expected to serve for three years.