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COUNTY GOVERNMENT AND UNICEF TO STRENGTHEN PARTNERSHIP FOR SUSTAINABILITY

Lodwar, 23rd February 2021 (Governor’s Press Service)— Governor Josphat Nanok and the UNICEF Representative to Kenya Mamiza Zaman have agreed on the need to strengthen partnership to ensure sustainability of programmes implemented in Turkana.

In a meeting at the County HQ, the two agreed that collaboration in education, water, health and sanitation had borne tangible results and needed to be strengthened for sustainability.

Governor Nanok said the County could use support to improve community health with capacity building of Community Health Volunteers who are critical in diagnosis and disease prevention. He said the CHVs had contributed to reduction in referrals of cases in health centres set up in rural areas and led to reduction in distance to health facilities to just 25 percent.

He said the county was working towards achieving the 5km distance recommended by the World Health Organization. In effort to end open defecation, the Governor proposed upscaling of the campaigns to target larger areas. He admitted that the Covid-19 pandemic had encouraged better personal hygiene among the public, contributing to improved health.

On water, the Governor said there was need for support in operationalization of the County Water Act, with the next phase of building structures for two rural and urban water companies to manage water provision in Turkana. He insisted that the biggest impediment to efforts to attain water sufficiency was the high levels of salinity of boreholes sunk by the County, with a solution requiring collaboration between the County Government and development partners.

On education, Governor Nanok admitted that despite the county’s considerable investment in ECDEs, there still existed over 250,000 children who are out of school. He said the problem was contributed in part by inadequate infrastructure in primary schools.

County Executive for Health and Sanitation Jane Ajele gave highlights of achievements made through the partnership. These include supply of nutrition commodities to 189 health facilities and vitamin A to 207 facilities, support to Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) and collaboration in effort to attain open-defecation free status for villages in the county. Chief Officer for Water, Environment and Mineral Resources Moses Natome gave an update on the implementation of the KOICA-UNICEF water project in Turkana Central and Loima Sub-Counties. He revealed that 25 boreholes had been sunk out of the targeted 76, with 20 of them already equipped.

Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro, who is acting CEC for Water Services, commended KOICA-UNICEF Water project for complementing county investment in water infrastructure and called for it to be extended to Turkana East and Turkana North sub-counties which he said were facing water shortages. CEC George Emojong, who is acting Executive in charge of the Education docket, outline areas of partnership with UNICEF, which include capacity building and support to draft legislation and policies. These include the Child Protection Strategy launched in 2019 and other proposed bills on ECDE and Social Protection.

Ms Zaman was accompanied by UN Delivery as One Coordinator Susan Aletia, Chief of Field Operations and Emergency Nicholas Wasunna and Chief of Lodwar Zonal Office Rotuno Kipsang. Other Senior County Government present were County Secretary Peter Eripete, County Executive for Agriculture, Pastoral and Fisheries Philip Aemun, Chief of Staff Ekuwom Nakiporo, Advisor for Gender, Partnerships and Children Affairs Phoebe Kaaman and Directors Samwel Eregae (ECDE) and Stephen Eregae (Vocational Training).

 

COUNTY GOVERNMENT RECEIVES COVID-19 COMMODITIES FROM CROSS-BORDER PROGRAMME

Lodwar, 24th February 2021 (Governor’s Press Service)— Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro today received a consignment of Covid-19 commodities donated by the Support for Effective Cooperation and Coordination of Cross-Border Initiatives (SECCCI).

SECCCI Deputy Cluster Coordinator for the South Omo- Turkana cluster Edwin Barasa handed over the commodities which include personal protective equipment (PPEs), sample collection equipment and spraying pumps.

DG Lotethiro thanked SECCCI and the UNDP for commodities which he said will support the County Coronavirus Emergency Response. The DG chairs the County Covid-19 Emergency Response Committee. He directed that the equipment be supplied to health centres immediately to benefit healthcare workers at the forefront of Covid-19 response.

The EU-funded SECCCI was a three-year project launched in February 2018 and implemented by UNDP with support from IGAD and UNEP in Southwest Ethiopia – Northwest Kenya, Marsabit – Borana and Dawa, and Kenya – Somalia – Ethiopia.

The DG also acknowledged receipt of 20 tanks, 30 beds and mattress donated by the UN Delivering as One. CEC Jane Ajele who received the items from the DG echoed the County Government’s appreciation for the support.

UN DaO Coordinator Susan Aletia witnessed the handing over.

KMA AND COUNTY GOVERNMENT TO DEVELOP MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR LAKE TURKANA

Lodwar, 22nd January 2021 (Governor’s Press Service)— The National and County Government will partner to come up with a management plan to guide joint management of Lake Turkana.

In a meeting with officials from the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) led by Director General Robert Njue and the Chairman of the Board of Directors Geoffrey Mwango, Governor Josphat Nanok said a management plan which puts into consideration the responsibility of all stakeholders in the management of the lake will be an important tool to spur the blue economy.

The Governor said the plan will also be used to support resource mobilization to develop the lake and revealed that this was a requirement by most potential development partners. He agreed that the National Government to take lead with KMA as a mandated agency with the oversight of the Kenyan maritime industry.

On safety and security within the Lake, Governor Nanok called for assessments and research to be conducted to determine the depth of the lake which will advise suitability of transport vessels. He urged the National Government to establish landing bays for fishing boats and other existing small boats, with the County Government prevented from developing the infrastructure as it is a National Government mandate.

The County boss insisted that the Lakes resource was largely untapped, as a tourist attraction with the three national parks within the Lake- Sibiloi, Central Island and South Island; as well as potential for water transport between Turkana and Marsabit counties.

The Director General revealed that the Agency was working with the Kenya Coast Guard to set up bases next to the Lake, with the Coast Guards expected to boost security and enforce other maritime laws. He agreed with the Governor on the need to develop a management plan, and promised to immediately begin a process for its drafting. He said the plan will spell out how the lake will be utilized. He also promised to engage with the National Department of Public Works for the construction of jetties for boats to dock along the lake.

Mr. Njue informed the Governor that the Kenya Marine Research Institute will support to provide research answers needed on the depth of the lake and other issues of interest in the development of the lake. On his part, Mr. Mwango announced that KMA had partnered with the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) to support trainees pursuing maritime courses. He said students in Turkana should take advantage of the support meant to develop skills key in the development of blue economy.

County Secretary Peter Eripete hailed the partnership with KMA and expressed hope that territorial conflicts between fisher-folk of Kenya and Ethiopia should be addressed to fully harness the Lake’s resources. County Executive for Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries Philip Aemun said Turkana County had pushed for inclusion of Lake Turkana in the National Government Development Plan and commended the idea for a joint coordination plan between agencies and departments of the two tiers of government.

Present in the meeting was County Executive for Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources George Emojong, Chief Officer for Livestock, Fisheries and Veterinary Services Yusuf Abdullahi, Chief of Staff Ekuwam Nakiporo, Advisor for Gender, Partnerships and Children Affairs Phoebe Kaaman; and Deputy Directors Hellen Nakaru (Tourism) and David Namwaya (Fisheries).

CEC AEMUN CALLS FOR TRANSPARENCY FROM IRRIGATION AUTHORITY

There is need to have a collaborative framework between the County Government and National Irrigation Authority (NIA) on engagement and implementation of programmes at Katilu and Elelea irrigation schemes.

Speaking today in Lodwar when he hosted a delegation from Katilu NIA’s office, CEC Aemun said that the framework would help unlock the full potential and provide proper coordination of operations in the irrigation schemes, that had failed to live to their expectations of being food baskets to Turkana and neighboring regions.

The irrigation agency team led by the Authority’s Katilu Manager Daniel Waweru, had paid a courtesy call to the County Executive to brief him on the progress and farm operations in Katilu ward.

CEC Aemun faulted the Authority for lack of transparency in its operations at Katilu irrigation scheme, that he said had greatly contributed to under-production in the scheme despite investment by National Government towards infrastructure development of the farm.

He assured the NIA officials of County Government willingness to collaborate with the irrigation agency to co-share implementation programs to avoid duplication of functions and projects in same farms. This he said, will help to spur crop production for commercial purposes and enable farmers generate income through sale of their produce.

County Director for Agriculture Paul Lokone acknowledged the existing irrigation scheme management challenge but regretted that despite presence of the irrigation authority,production at Katilu irrigation scheme had gone down compared to past years where it was a giant irrigation scheme known for crop production.

On his Part ,Katilu NIA’s manager Daniel Waweru said that the low production had been caused by change of farming system from basin to furrows ,that he said had partly contributed to the  delay because farmers were allegedly taking long to learn it. He committed to fast track the collaboration framework and revealed that the National Government had in this financial year budgeted 128-million shillings for expansion works at Lokapel irrigation scheme and an additional five million shillings for maintenance of infrastructure at Katilu irrigation scheme.

ADMINISTRATION AND DISASTER CHIEF OFFICER MEETS WFP, PLAN ON WAREHOUSE MANAGEMENT

Chief Officer Esther Ikaru held a consultative meeting with a team from World Food Programme(WFP) to discuss partnership on warehouse management.

The Chief Officer appreciated WFP for their commitment in supporting the designing, fencing and construction of Rubbles for the warehouse.

She revealed that the County Government has acquired documents for the 10 acre piece of land set aside for the warehouse.

“The County Government will input resources to allow for structural set up, expansion and development of the land. Once constructed, the Rubbles will cut costs on rent and a good course for sustainability.” She noted.

WFP Head of Supply Chain, Josefa Zueco, reiterated their commitment to support the sustainability of food storage which she said will enhance food safety and capability to respond to emergencies.

She further said that the Organization will complement future food security assessment adding that they will also equip and train warehouse staff to build capacity in warehouse management.

County Director Disaster Management Vincent Palor appreciated WFP for the support on the DRM policy saying that the directorate will carry out an assessment on vulnerable drought areas to monitor its impacts.

On timelines during emergency response, Director Palor committed to push for a framework agreement with suppliers and transporters involved which he said will enhance timely emergency response and intervention.

CO Esther also led the team to a tour of the Warehouse and thereafter to the demarcated land for the proposed construction of the County warehouse situated at Kanamkemer in Lodwar.

PARTNERS ON CROSS-BORDER DEVELOPMENT LAUNCH AFRICA BORDERLANDS CENTRE

Lodwar, 11th February, 2021 (Governor’s Press Service)– A centre to boost effective planning and implementation of cross-border programmes in Africa has been launched today. The UNDP Africa Borderlands Centre, which will be based in Nairobi and act as a resource for intelligence, expertise and experience, was launched in Lodwar in an event graced by stakeholders of cross-border peace and development.

Governor Josphat Nanok who played host applauded the decision to pick Lodwar as venue for the launch and extolled the event as a recognition of the role Turkana County had played in cross-border programmes in the region. “This occasion is indeed a remarkable recognition of our efforts as a stakeholder in the Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia borderlands. It comes as a key outcome for success collaborative effort involving Turkana towards peace and stability,” he said adding that the Centre will be an additional strategic structure for enhancing policy and research.

The Governor welcomed the launch of the centre and encouraged partners to begin to pilot borderland programmes in the region. He assured of the existence of local government structures in Turkana, Karamoja District, Eastern Equatoria State and South Omo zone to support the initiatives.

He asked that resources be invested in sectors which he described as key for the socio-economic transformation of the borderlands, including water, health, trade, food security, education and border infrastructure. IGAD Executive Secretary Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu who was the Chief Guest at the launch said investment on borderlands was important due to the immense potential of cross-border communities.

He explained that Africa borderlands which has an estimated population of 270Million people had been a source of territorial conflicts, associated with illicit activity and was home to refugees. This he pointed to as key reason to invest in effective development programmes.

Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa said the launch had given voices to cross-border communities. In her virtual address, ECOWAS Vice President Finds Koroma expressed hope that the centre will boost collaboration mechanism in among others, research, knowledge provision and policy advocacy.

On his part, UNDP Resident Representative Walid Badawi said Kenya was a pioneer in advancing the cause of borderland communities and assured of continued collaboration in the implementation of the Kenya-Uganda MOU for cross-border peace and development.

Others who spoke were, the Head of the European Union (EU)Development Cooperation in Kenya Hubert Perr, UN Resident Coordinator Medhin Tsehaiu among others. Dignitaries present included Ethiopian Ambassador to Kenya Meles Alem, UNDP’s Assistant Administrator and Regional Director for Africa Ahunna Eziakonwa among others.

Senior County Government officials present included Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro, County Secretary Peter Eripete, Deputy County Secretary Robert Loyelei, County Executives Emathe Namuar (Finance and Economic Planning), Jane Ajele (Health), Philip Aemun (Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries) and Emoru Emojong (Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources) among other senior staff.

GIZ DONATES MOTOR-VEHICLE AND OFFICE EQUIPMENTS TO SUPPORT FOOD SECURITY PROJECTS

County Executive for Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries Philip Ebei Aemun has this morning on behalf of the County Government received a motor-vehicle that has been donated by the GIZ organization.

Other assets donated were Laptops,office furniture and knowledge materials that included training manuals for bee-keeping and Fall army-worm as well as strategy for bee-keeping and honey value chain in Turkana.

The equipments were handed over after completion of a 4-year drought resilience project in Turkana which was aimed at improving framework conditions for enhanced drought resilience through policies domestication and capacity building.

In his remarks,CEC Aemun said that partnership the County Government and Development organizations was key towards attainment of the food security agenda that covers Crop production,Livestock production and Fisheries.

The partnership,he said, would help in pooling of resources and bridging technical capacity of livelihoods resilience programs in the County.

He acknowledged the support from GIZ and assured of Government commitment to partner in implementation of other projects with focus on completion of the Kakong flood-based farm in Turkana South Sub-County.

Others who spoke in the brief event held at Mifugo Complex included County Chief Officers Abdullahi Yussuf(Pastoral Economy and Fisheries) and Jacob Lolelea(Agriculture and Land Reclamation).

Also present were Agriculture Director Paul Lokone, Deputy Director for Administration Geoffrey Apedor and other staff drawn from the department of Pastoral Economy and Fisheries.

LCRH TO BEGIN COVID-19 TESTING WITH NEW GENEXPERT MACHINE

Lodwar, 4th February 2021 (Governor’s Press Service)— The Lodwar County Referral Hospital is set to begin testing for coronavirus with new testing machines donated by UNHCR.

Governor Josphat Nanok today received a GeneXpert machine used to test samples for Covid-19 which will be installed at LCRH.

Speaking at the County HQ after the handing over by the UNHCR Head of Kakuma Sub-Office Kahin Ismail, the Governor said the machine was a big boost the County’s Covid-19 emergency response.

“The GeneXpert machine will go a long way to support efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus by cutting cost incurred to transport samples to labs in Eldoret, Nairobi and sometimes Kisumu for testing,” he said.

The Governor revealed that there were four specialists with expertise to handle the GeneXpert machines. He said the county will continue partnership with UNHCR to improve health infrastructure especially of Sub-County hospitals and increasing ICU capacities of the facilities.

Kahin announced that UNHCR had donated two GeneXpert machines- one for the LCRH and another to be installed at IRC hospital in Kakuma to serve the host and refugee communities. He said while vaccine breakthrough had raised hope of an end to the pandemic, robust testing was still required until the vaccine rollout and to address risk of new covid-19 variants.

UNHCR also handed over 400 testing kits and a consignment of personal protective equipment.

Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro who chairs the County Covid-19 Emergency Response Committee said with testing at LCRH and Kakuma, the county will get to know the extent of spread of the pandemic within Turkana.

County Executive for Health Services and Sanitation Jane Ajele said the machine will be installed at LCRH labs and facilitate quick tests of samples.

Governor Nanok also hosted the new Head of World Food Program (WFP) Kakuma office Olivier Nakadulu and reiterated the county’s commitment to continue partnership especially on developing surface water harvesting infrastructure in Turkana West. This he said will support investment towards food security and called for extension of the projects to other sub-counties.

Mr. Nakudulu said WFP would continue supporting implementation of the Kalobeyei Integrated Socio-Economic Development Programme (KISEDP) and assured of continued development of water harvesting systems to boost food security.

In the meeting was Deputy County Secretary Robert Loyelei, County Executives Emathe Namuar (Finance and Economic Planning) and Philip Aemun (Agriculture, Fisheries and Pastoral Economy); Chief of Staff Ekuwam Nakiporo; Directors Gilchrist Lokoel (Medical Services), Charles Ekai (Resource Mobilisation), Deputy Director for LCRH Dr. Yvonne Musa among others.

Also present was UN Delivery as One Coordinator Susan Aletia and WFP Head of Office Lodwar Ruth Amatalo.

TURKANA TO HOST LAUNCH OF NEW UNDP AFRICA BORDERLANDS CENTRE

Lodwar, 2nd February 2021 (Governor’s Press Service)— Turkana County is set to host the launch of a new centre for cross-border peace and development for Africa.

Governor Josphat Nanok was today briefed on the UNDP’s new Africa Borderlands Centre, ‘dedicated to provide research, policy, analysis and programming dedicated to Africa’s borderlands’, by ABC’s Team Leader Zeynu J. Umer amd UNDP Crossborder Advisor Asfaw Kumsa.

The centre to be launched on February 11, will develop and offer expert knowledge and technical advice for stakeholders in cross-border peace initiatives, for better implementation of the programmes.

Governor Nanok said the choice for Turkana as a host for the Centre was a recognition of the County Government’s investment in cross-border peace and unity of communities. He stated that events such as the annual tourism and cultural festival, Tobong’ Lore, had given communities and leaders confidence for engagement, and pointed at the Kenya-Uganda MoU on cross-border peace and development as a fruit of close contact.

The centre to be based in Nairobi will have a office in Lodwar.

The Governor agreed that despite their huge economic potential, borderlands in Africa were characterized by cattle rustling, illicit trade, proliferation of illegal firearm and some home to political rebels. He said solution had to be found to turn the areas into thriving economies and centres of cross-border trade and movement. He said development of mechanism to ease movement by breaking down restriction of national boundaries was key focus for government to build cohesion of the communities, as they shared a common ancestry and spoke the same language.

The county boss called for convergence of cross-border initiatives, for better results and increased benefits to communities. He commended the upcoming Borderlands Centre for its objective to develop targeted approach and expressed hope that the centre will support pooling of resources by stakeholders to target specific initiatives.

Mr. Umer said current and past borderland programmes lacked dedicated programming at regional level in policy development, with more focus on national development plans. He said the Centre will offer a new model for borderland programming, create evidence-based policy and support governments and partner organisations to mainstream borderlands issues.

Mr. Kumsa said the Centre will encourage empowering of communities as they believed full participation was critical for the sustainability of initiatives. UN Delivering as One Coordinator Susan Aletia termed the Centre as transformative and noted that the programme will pick lessons from past programmes to develop best initiatives.

Senior County Government officials who participated in the discussions were County Secretary Peter Eripete, County Executive for Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries Philip Aemun, Chief Officers Moses Natome (Water Services) and Dr. Michael Eregae (Trade); Chief of Staff Ekuwam Nakiporo and Advisors Protus Akuja (Security and Borderlands Initiatives), Phoebe Kaaman (Gender, Partnerships and Children Affairs), Norbert Okumu (Legal), and Rebecca Lowoiya (Political and Intergovernmental Relations).

BISHOP MAHON TTC TO OPEN DOORS TO FIRST TRAINEES IN MAY

Lodwar, 2nd February 2021 (Governor’s Press Service)—Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. George Magoha is set to officiate over the opening of Bishop Mahon Teachers Training College in Lodwar, in May.

Governor Josphat Nanok has revealed that the CS had agreed to officially open the institution in May as the college prepares to welcome its first set of teacher trainees.

In a meeting with the Board Members of the TTC led by Vice Chair Susan Aletia, the Governor observed that the county had worked hard for the institution to open and assured of support to ensure its growth.

The support will include bursaries to trainees through the County Skill Development Fund under the County Department of Education.

He said the TTC, based at the current resource centre, was a realization of its original aim by the Norwegian Agency for Development (NORAD) who develop the infrastructure, who intended it as a teachers’ training centre.

Governor Nanok said infrastructural development of the TTC is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education. The facility, he said will help train more teachers from the county, who will then be posted to schools across Turkana and help solve the high rate of teacher shortage.

The TTC’s Principal Leah Losuru agreed that the institution will be key in contributing to solve teacher shortage in the county which was revealed last year to be over 51 percent.

She informed the Governor that the institution will welcome 200 students admitted by the Ministry of Education, and asked for support from leaders to raise awareness of the institution across the county to attract more trainees as well as in development of the facility.

Mrs. Susan Aletia said she had reached out to the Norwegian Ambassador to explore possible development support.

County Secretary Peter Eripete called for development of a framework of partnership with the County Government on sharing of assets at the institution.

Acting County Executive for Education, Sports and Social Protection George Emoru committed the ministry’s support to grow the institution which has been a training centre for ECDE teachers.

Others in the meeting were Chief Officer for Education, Sports and Social Protection Pauline Lokuruka, County Public Service Board Chair Dr. Teria Ng’asike who also sits on the TTC Board, Chief of Staff Ekuwam Nakiporo and Advisor for Gender, Partnerships and Children Affairs Phoebe Kaaman.

TTC Board Members present include Losike Wilson, Brizan Were, Doreen Kaaga, Caroline Lopatio and Doris Kaari.