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Increased power connection to boost county business fortunes

Makueni electricity grid is expected to rise to 70% from the current 30% following a discussion to increase power connection to several institutions in the county.

In a discussion held on Thursday between Makueni County Governor Kivutha Kibwana, her deputy Adelina Mwau and a delegation from the energy and KPLC sectors led by Dr. Fredrick Kasomi, it was agreed that several institutions and facilities without power will be connected.

Facilities targeted for connection include health centres, County Technical Training Institutes, market centres, primary and secondary schools, street lighting, and boreholes of at least 10 Cubic Meter-capacity 

Densification of power supply across the county will stimulate a desired economic growth as well as create job opportunities by allowing more day-and-night time stretches to conduct businesses.

The teams agreed to complete data mapping, costing and designs within a period of one month.

Embrace open contracting to curb corruption-Kibwana

Makueni governor Kivutha Kibwana has asked institutions to adopt open contracting as one of the ways to curb rampant corruption in the country.

Kibwana said that open contracting ensures transparency and accountability in all government’s processes hence locking out any chance for corruption and ill practices.

“There are other ways of dealing with corruption apart from jailing and that is open contracting. Let us get into transparency systems,” Kibwana said.

Kibwana was speaking on Friday when he hosted the Hivos Foundation director Edwin Huizing during an open contracting debriefing on Makueni’s progress.

The county in partnership with Hivos embarked on open contracting in 2018, a move to ensure transparency, accountability and integrity in government processes.

In 2018/2019 financial year, the county government used open procurement for tendering processes.

Hivos East Africa regional director Mendi Njonjo disclosed that Makueni is the second world wide documented case to ever use observers during the evaluation stage in open contracting.

The county invited observers to take part in the evaluation stage during the construction of Wote green park and purchase of reconstitution line for Kalamba Fruit Processing plant tenders.

Makueni together with Hivos are in the final stages to launch the open contracting data standards, a platform that will enable the masses to interact with all the tendering information online.

Makueni deal a blow to non-communicable diseases

Makueni has yet again registered another first on its healthcare provision following signing of a multilateral agreement to combat non-communicable diseases in the county.

The county government in collaboration with Sandoz Pharmaceutical, Medtronic Inc and Management Sciences for Health, a non-profit corporation shall deliver an end-to-end non-communicable disease care model to achieve improved patient outcomes.

The 2-year partnership deal was arrived at on Friday by Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana, Cluster Head Norvatis Social Business Dr. Nathan Mulure, Medtronics Regional health head Africa, Chemutai Langat and Management Sciences for Health Country project director Ndinda Kusu at the governor’s office in Wote.

The care model will include; awareness and education on the chronic diseases; screening for the diseases in the community; capacity building and health system strengthening through training of community healthcare workers and volunteers; diagnosis through existing, identified health facilities and provision of quality and affordable medications.

Governor Kibwana welcomed the deal saying it was going to strengthen the County’s Community Health Strategy as well as revolutionize the Universal Health Care program.

Makueni CEC for Health Dr. Mulwa who witnessed the signing of the partnership disclosed that the County is the first to sign the deal. The model is expected to be rolled out in Nyeri and Kakamega counties.

The County Health Chief Officer, Dr. Patrick Musyoki said, “This partnership has come at the right time. NCDs are silent killers causing 55% of deaths in hospitals yet most of the African countries have not taken up the challenge.”

Controller of Budget lauds Makueni for clean audit report

Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo on Tuesday lauded Makueni for earning unqualified audit report for 2018/2019 financial year.

Odhiambo was awestruck that Makueni was among the two counties in the entire country saying it is not a mean achievement to qualify for a clean bill.

“I thought it was almost impossible to get unqualified audit report after getting disappointments from many counties. I never imagined it could happen. I must congratulate Makueni County, that is excellent,” observed Odhiambo.

Makueni and Nyandarua earned clean audit reports in the just closed financial year.

She further urged other counties to benchmark in Makueni instead of travelling abroad for the same since the county has made enviable strides in delivering services to the citizenry, especially in health and agriculture sectors.

The controller of budget is in Makueni to assess the milestones made by the county in a bid to perform her roles of oversight and advisory as stipulated in the constitution.

Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana while hosting her and her team in Wote, congratulated her office.

Odhiambo and her team visited various development projects among them the Mother and Child Hospital, Kwambila and Katili earth dams and the Makueni fruit processing plant.

Community-led development projects attract millions of World Bank fund

Over 160 community-led development initiatives in Makueni have received Sh 33 million funding by World Bank through the National Agricultural and Rural Inclusive Growth Project (NARIGP).

The overarching goal of the project is to increase agricultural productivity and profitability of targeted communities in selected counties, and in the event of an eligible crisis or emergency, to provide immediate and effective response.

The small-scale farmers, drawn from 20 wards across the county,​ have ventured into tomato, mango, indigenous chicken and green grams value chains and were competitively identified through vetting of proposals which had to meet set eligibility criteria.

According to the Agriculture CEC Lawrence Nzunga, priority was placed on micro-projects that have the potential to increase agricultural productivity and incomes, value addition, and links to markets; and sustain natural resources base and returns to targeted communities.

Makueni County Governor Kivutha Kibwana, while presenting the cheques to the successful groups at ATC Kwakathoka on Friday, urged farmers to focus on community-led agriculture as the surest way of enhancing food security at household level.

“I urge farmers in all the wards to venture into community-led agriculture that will help us achieve food security and save us from poverty and “Mwolyo” menace,” said Kibwana.

Kibwana asked the farmers to use the funds prudently towards implementing the proposed projects and ensure that they are successful enough to attract more funding.

A County Technical Advisory Committee is already in place to provide the monitoring and evaluation component while Community-Driven Development Committees will assist the communities to plan, implement and manage the interventions.

By the end of the project in 2021, 570 project proposals will have been funded to benefit 17,100 small holder farmers across the county.

Ukambani to benefit from agribusiness initiative

Farmers from Makueni, Machakos and Kitui counties are set to benefit from an irrigation agribusiness program, an initiative geared towards enhancing food security through irrigated agriculture.

The church community based project, launched at Vyulya village in Machakos is a brainchild of ABC Archbishop in charge of East Africa Timothy Ndambuki and supported by TIMADA LTD and Church Capacity Building and Support Centre (CCCBSC).

The program was unveiled by Archbishop Ndambuki, Makueni County Governor Kivutha Kibwana and Machakos Deputy Governor Francis Maliti on Wednesday.

According to the Archbishop, a successful model, tried and proven in Vyulya shall be replicated in the South Eastern Kenya Economic Bloc (SEKEB) to create employment and promote agribusiness across Ukambani and beyond.

“We want this to move to the three counties and we are urging them to walk with us. This will help us improve food security as well as create employment to our youth and women,” said Ndambuki.

The program, to adopt the Israel Moshav model, will entail training of farmers by experts on agricultural skills and supplied with various farm equipment and inputs. The farmers will further form a cooperative society that will help them market their produce as well as link them to export opportunities.

Governor Kibwana hailed the initiative as an economy boost that will not only benefit the people of Vyulya but also the entire Ukambani region through SEKEB.

Improving service delivery

All Makueni county staff have committed to performance contracting for the 2019/20 financial year in a bid to improve productivity in their service.

The county government is now rolling out the full performance management process for the second year running, a process that began in 2018/19 financial year.

This year, the PC has seen chairpersons and chief executive officers of boards of the County’s semi-autonomous agencies like the Sand Authority, the Climate Change Board and the Makueni Fruit Processing Authority join the process.

Tetheka Fund also joined signing of the PC independently, a move that is expected to improve the way it delivers its services.

Kibwana, while presiding over the ceremony on Friday at ATC Kwakathoka, said that he, together with his deputy Adelina Mwau, will accord their total support to the departments to achieve their targets.

“Performance management is a matter we are taking seriously. The DG and I will provide the necessary support to all the departments to ensure it is successful,” said Kibwana.

The process which began with the senior county officials is expected to cascade downwards to include all staff by the end of this month.

Makueni hosts regional drama festivals

Makueni is playing host to this year’s Eastern regional primary school music festivals at Makueni boys high school with a theme, ‘’Enhancing national unity, cohesion and integration.’’ 

Gracing the festivals on Monday, governor Kibwana said there is need to foster the spirit of nationhood through music and education.

The festivals brings together all the counties in the Eastern region namely; Tharaka Nithi, Machakos, Embu, Meru, Isiolo, Kitui, Makueni and Marsabit.

The county has become a top spot for such events in what the organizers term as hospitable environment and huge support by the County Government.

Makueni Inks deal with WFP to promote Agriculture

Makueni County has penned a deal with World Food Programme (WFP) to promote Sustainable Food Systems in the County.

The five-year program, based on a 50-50 funding for multi sectoral value chains development, was signed by governor Kivutha Kibwana and WFP deputy country director Lara Fossi in Nairobi on Friday.

The program targets smallholder producers, youth, market and supply chain actors, food-insecure and vulnerable populations to benefit from sustainable, resilient inclusive food systems and meeting food and nutrition needs by 2023.

The deal seeks to among others;

Promote the scaling up of climate resilient technologies and best practices for improved and sustainable Smallholder food production systems;

Enhance sustainable rangeland management for improved livestock production and enhanced community resilience;

Strengthen the resilience capacity of communities on climate risk management through livelihood diversification and linkage to financial and insurance services;

Improve market and supply chain linkages, including reduction of post-harvest losses and opportunities for value addition and;

To strengthen technical and institutional capacity to deliver sustainable hunger solutions and building community resilience.

Some of the expected outcomes of the partnership are:

Scaling of rainwater harvesting (RWH) and irrigation management technologies;

Rehabilitation and Management of 10,000 acres of degraded rangeland;

Increased access to safe and reliable water for both domestic, livestock and irrigation use and;

Strengthening of community capacity to maintain and sustain water structures.

By end of the five years, the deal will have benefitted at least 44, 000 residents directly and over 200,000 indirectly.

The range of activities as outlined in the deal will cover; Kathonzweni, Kitise/Kithuki, Mavindini, Masongaleni, Ivingoni/Nzambani, Makindu, Kikumbulyu North, Kikumbulyu South, Kalawa and Kiima Kiu/Kalanzoni wards.

Makueni to pilot Telemedicine health provision

By Onesmus Nzioka

Makueni has yet again made enviable strides in its healthcare provision by venturing into Telemedicine.

Telemedicine is the remote delivery of healthcare services, such as health assessments or consultations over the telecommunications infrastructure.

The program, launched at Thange Africa Brotherhood Church, Thange ward, is a brainchild of the ABC church through the National Council of Churches of Kenya in partnership with the government of Makueni County.

The program, dubbed Comprehensive Community Healthcare Initiative (CCHI), was unveiled by ABC Archbishop in charge of East Africa Timothy Ndambuki and governor Kivutha Kibwana on Wednesday.

The program entails a mobile internet linked multi diagnosis kit based at Thange and doctors based at the Makueni County Referral Hospital, who are linked into the system through installed software on their side.

The system is both web and android based such that enlisted doctors will get alerts of booked cases from the remote health centre on their mobile phones as per their schedules of assigned duties.

Patients will walk into the Thange health facility, their diagnosis carried out by a resident nurse and the results relayed in real time to the doctors who will then analyze and prescribe the proper medication to be administered by the nurse at Thange.

For complicated cases, the system enlisted doctors will be able to seek further consultations from more qualified doctors across the globe on behalf of their patients.

Patients will also have a face-to-face consultation with the doctors, through teleconferencing, who will then direct the resident nurse(s) on what tests to carry out.

Governor Kibwana has directed the county health department to dedicate a unit for the telemedicine program on a 24-hour basis to make it work.

County Health Executive Andrew Mulwa has announced that all the county level 4 hospitals will be linked into the program so as to address a broad range of health services.

Makueni Launches Telemedicine

According to Archbishop Ndambuki, the program will be rolled out in the whole of Ukambani under the South Eastern Kenya Economic Bloc (SEKEB) if it succeeds in Makueni.

The program is enabled by a digital communication network and applications provider registered in Kenya under the name DIGLOSO run by a US based Kenyan named John Musau.

Makueni has officially signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the company for extensive roll out of the program.