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Inside Makueni’s ambitious Plan to rid off towns of street children

On Friday October 4th, 2019, governor Kivutha Kibwana led top officers from the department of gender in his administration on a day-long benchmarking tour of the expansive Mully Children’s family at Yatta, Machakos County.

The Mully Children’s Family is an internationally acclaimed children protection centre which rescues and rehabilitates street children before reintegrating them into the society. The family currently houses 3,500 rescued children in different parts of the country.

The Kibwana-led delegation was taken through the various processes of holistic life transformation of otherwise condemned street children owing to their antisocial behaviors. Many of those who have gone through Mully Children Centre are now independent citizens contributing immensely to the country’s social and economic development.

According to Kibwana, the Yatta tour was the first step towards establishing and running a sustainable Orphaned and Vulnerable Children rescue & rehabilitation centre in Makueni with a capacity of 500 (boys and girls) by the year 2020.

As a stopgap measure before operationalization of the centre, Kibwana signed an agreement with the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Mully Family Dr. Charles Mulli to undertake placement of rescued and or referred children from Makueni for protection, rehabilitation and empowerment.

The first batch of 30 street children and 40 young mothers rescued from the urban streets of Makueni is expected to report at the Yatta Centre in two weeks-time after undergoing the procedural processing for admission.

The Mully Children’s Family will also offer technical support and guidance on the establishment and management of the Children Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre in Makueni.

According to the Gender and Children Chief Officer Diana Muli, whereas there is no official figure on the number of street children in Makueni County, there are increasing numbers of such children spotted along the major highways and towns.

“These children appear ragged, hungry, ignored and or rejected by the society, and are at the mercies of well-wishers or at the whims of brutal abusers. To survive on the street, these children scavenge for food and metal debris to be sold for food.” She says.

The county government, Diana says, has enlisted the help of designated community members who talk to these children so they can embrace the idea.

In 2018, approximately 8301 child pregnancies were reported in the county, Diana says.

According to Diana, the department of Gender, Children and Social Services is alarmed by the mismatch of child abuse cases reported in the hospitals and those reported to the police service stations.

The hospital records show higher number of child abuse and defilement cases reported and treated but the same cases do not reflect on the police records for apprehension and prosecution.

Makueni steps up establishment of Food Safety Systems

In a bid to ensure quality agricultural products for both domestic and export markets, Makueni has shifted gears to building food safety systems.

According to governor Kivutha Kibwana, the aim of this campaign is to promote public health, and protecting the consumers against health hazards posed by unsafe agricultural products.

To achieve this feat, Makueni has partnered with Micro Enterprise Support Programme Trust (MESPT), and secured funding from the European Union through DANIDA to implement the campaign dubbed AgriFI Food Safety Programme.

At a meeting in Nairobi on Thursday between the Governor and officials from MESPT and the Royal Danish Embassy, it was agreed the programme will target three major value chains namely; Aquaculture, Dairy and horticulture.

MESPT acting Chief Executive Officer Charles Nyawade said the programme will involve among others:

Supporting the County Government in testing, surveillance and enforcement of Sanitary and Phyto Sanitary (SPS) regulations at the county level. This includes setting up of testing labs and provision of testing and surveillance kits and equipment.

Development and dissemination of value chain-based extension curricula modules, integrating the compliance to Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) regulations.

Drive the consumer sensitization on food safety.

MESPT will also support development of the Agricultural Training Centre at Kwa Kathoka as one of the country’s model Agricultural Technical and Vocational Education Training (ATVET) centre.

The centre will be key in offering a holistic capacity building of all agricultural value chain actors especially farmers and extension officers.

According to Nyawade, the centre has already received two million shillings for basic infrastructural installations, while the county government has already established training infrastructure such as an aquatic hatchery, a fish farm as well as irrigation farm.

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Makueni, Tangaza University partner to steer Development

Makueni has enlisted Tangaza University College, a constituent of Catholic University of East Africa as a lead research and technical capacity building institute for its development programs and projects.

In the five-year deal signed Tuesday by Governor Kivutha Kibwana and Tangaza University College interim principal Tom Kearny, TUC will carry out research on various areas as agreed by the parties, and the research outcome will serve to facilitate informed decision making by the county government.

Essentially, the county government will identify key economic stimulus projects such as setting up of an abattoir, a leather processing project, a cotton ginnery or a honey processing factory site. Tangaza will then tour these sites and help the county in clearly defining functional business models for the sustainability of these projects.

Other areas of cooperation as per the deal include:

Building the capacity of individuals under the Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO);

Business and Entrepreneurship training; Civic and Development Education Training; Community capacity building for sustainable development; Servant Leadership and Transformation Managerial Training.

Governor Kibwana said the motivation behind this agreement is to improve service delivery by training people especially staff to implement development projects and programs focussing on people and to be facilitators of development as opposed to being ‘bosses’.

ICT and Development

10,000 Makueni County residents are set to be empowered with ICT skills by global technology giant, Google.

The Makueni beneficiaries are part of 10 million people Google is equipping with relevant ICT skills in Africa in the next three years.

This plan was revealed on Friday by the country director of Google during a ceremony to commission the training which Google will undertake in collaboration with Makueni County government.

“The 10, 000 people set to be equipped with various ICT skills include the 1,500 people who have already studied basic computer skills under the county government’s Tusomeei Computer Nduani programme,” deputy Govenor Adelina Mwau said while welcoming Google.

Governor Kivutha Kibwana thanked Google for choosing Makueni as the first county where the program will start.

“The online space creates tremendous job opportunities which can be tapped to address youth unemployment. We shall work with Google to make Makueni a model county on ICT enabled job opportunities”, Kibwana said.

Makueni – Kisii peer learning

A team of technical officials from Kisii County has visited Makueni County offices in a mission to learn on various aspects of accounting, procurement, health and project implementation terming Makueni as a good study ground on how devolution has worked.

​“Peer learning missions should be a dialogue for all to learn and critique one another. This way, devolution will make meaning to the people.” Said Adelina Mwau, Deputy Governor on Tuesday while receiving the Kisii delegation.

The objectives of the visit were; to study the best practices on internal financial control; procurement systems; payment system; documentation; financial reporting system; health matters and project implementation among many other areas of mutual interest.

Makueni has been hailed for implementing an efficient accounting system that has enabled the county to attain a clean audit nod by the Auditor General.

Kibwana rally residents to support the Census exercise – 2019

Makueni governor Kivutha Kibwana has pleaded with all the residents to make themselves available and share the required information as demanded of them by the census team during the forthcoming 2019 Kenya population and housing census. The exercise will commence on 24th – 25th August.  

Speaking during a courtesy call, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics delegation head Mr. Stephen Kakungu assured the governor of a continuous monitoring of the collected data through dash boards, comprehensive in-built checks and post enumeration exercise to ensure that the information collected is complete, accurate and factual. For the first time, the census data will be captured electronically through a mobile telephony device.

Kibwana also held talks with Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) Kenyan alumni that is in Makueni to share knowledge on rural development with a focus on a people centered sustainable development.

“People are responsible for their own development, leaders are just but facilitators. If Kenya wants to experience a radical socio-economic change, then she must borrow from other countries that have made it such as Korea.” Said Kibwana in a meeting held at his office on Tuesday.

KOICA concerns itself with poverty reduction, empowering women in farming, quality and inclusive educational initiatives and youth empowerment.

Hope for beauty queens behind the bars

Makueni deputy governor Adelina Mwau has encouraged inmates at Makueni women remand prison not to lose hope but rather realise their full potential in life while behind the bars.

Mwau was addressing the inmates during a beauty pageant event organised by both her office and Humanity Rescue Foundation on Saturday 10th.

She pointed out on the need for a mentorship and counselling programme to help the inmates in actualizing their purpose of living even way after their service at prison.

“Jails in Kenya should not be a scare, it should be another home where inmates get holistic rehabilitation before being re-intergrated back to the community.” Mwau said.

HRF, prisoner’s program manager Ms. Mwende said that their organization seeks to enhance psycho-social development of inmates as well as provide equal opportunity for full participation in the society.

Ms. Wayua was crowned as the Miss. Makueni Women Prison – 2019 after competing with 7 other colleagues.

Gender executive sworn in amidst high cases of gender based violence

Philip Wambua Ndambuki has been sworn in as the new Executive Committee Member for Gender, Children, Culture and Social Services in the County Government of Makueni.

Ndambuki holds a bachelor’s degree in Arts from the University of Nairobi and several other professional certificates. Prior to his appointment, Wambua had served in the County Rapid Results Initiative and the Service Delivery Unit for close to 2 years.

In a swearing ceremony graced by Makueni County governor Kivutha Kibwana and his deputy Adelina Mwau on Thursday, Ndambuki committed to work hard towards transforming the lives of Makueni residents.

“I feel privileged to join this team of top achievers. I know that it isn’t a walk in the park but I’m determined to elevate the lifestyle of the people of Makueni with cooperation of everyone,” said Ndambuki.

His appointment comes at a time when the county is experiencing a high number of reported gender based related cases.

Mwau, who has been in the forefront towards fighting GBV has asked the new CEC to ensure that the boy child is not left out in protection against sexual harassment and other social injustices.