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Makueni ASK show lauded for its innovativeness

Makueni Deputy Governor Adelina Mwau together with her Machakos counterpart Eng. Francis Maliti on Friday officially opened the 2019 Makueni Agricultural Satellite Show at Makindu saying it is a good platform to promote agriculture for local farmers.

The two toured several exhibition stands where Makueni farmers showcased agricultural products, variety breeds of livestock and technological innovations. This year, the show received 85 exhibitors compared to 46 of last year.

“In 2016, the county government of Makueni endorsed the idea of starting our own show which was triggered by the realization that when agriculture performs well, economy grows automatically. Again, we are aware that we don’t have adequate extension officers, hence a show of GIANT classroom for farmers,” Mwau noted.

The DG further noted that since 2014, the government had utilised Sh 60 million in livestock value chain to upgrade livestock value as well as implementing disease control programme.

Mwau also announced that the county government has set aside Sh 7 million to set up an irrigation scheme in order to boost agricultural potential in Makueni.

DG Maliti while appreciating the county for the bold step to initiate an own local show, urged farmers to prioritise growing of drought resistant crops as one way of mitigating the effects of climate change.

He said: “We have recently noticed that the effects of climate change are real. As farmers, you should prioritise growing of traditional food crops such as sorghum, millet, cassava and green grams.”

The show which will close on Saturday was also graced by senior county officials from Makueni and Machakos as well as representatives from the Agricultural Society of Kenya.

Makueni inks a deal with Equality Now Africa on Gender Violence Response

Makueni County has inked a three-year partnership with Equality Now Africa, an international women’s rights organisation, to promote a multi-sectoral approach to response, prevention and management of Sexual Gender Based Violence in the County.

The deal, signed by Governor Kivutha Kibwana and Equality Now Director Africa Office Faiza Mohamed and witnessed by Deputy Governor Adelina Mwau on Thursday seeks to respond to and manage SGBV which is on the rise in Makueni with women and children most affected.

Kibwana termed GBV as a silent killer saying that several children were hurting and a lot of care is needed while handling their cases.

“GBV is a silent killer. We think there are so many kids hurting and this calls for professionalism while dealing with their cases because they can break or make their lives,” Kibwana noted.

As part of the MoU, Equality Now Africa will offer capacity building to county personnel on gender rights and the attendant legal framework providing for and protecting these rights; support and facilitate experiential learning of county personnel to design, plan and implement interventions to address sexual and gender based violence in the county.

The women’s rights organisation will also offer technical support in the development and review of county policies and legislation on gender mainstreaming and Sexual Gender Based violence policies and legislation including on Sexual and Gender Based Violence Management and Control.

The County Government of Makueni will, in accordance with the deal,support the development of key county policy and legislation addressing Sexual and Gender BasedViolence,gendermainstreaming and finance activities towards ending sexual violence in schools.

Makueni in Partnership with Christian Health Association on HIV prevention

Makueni’s efforts to combat the HIV epidemic has received a shot in the arm following a partnership agreement with Christian Health Association of Kenya (CHAK) to scale up these efforts.

The agreement, signed on Monday by governor Kivutha Kibwana and CHAK’s Secretary General Samuel Mwenda seeks to facilitate the implementation of comprehensive HIV Prevention, Care and Treatment Services in pre-selected faith based facilities within Makueni County

The selected facilities include Kikoko Mission Hospital, Makueni Catholic Dispensary, PCEA Kasasule Health Centre, Kambu Catholic Dispensary and Mbitini Catholic dispensary.

As part of the partnership, CHAK will primarily:

Provide financial support on a monthly basis for human resources support in the facilities captured, subject to funding availability from CDC to the Makueni County Health Management Team as discussed and agreed upon by both parties.

Offer clinical, & Health systems strengthening mentorship at the pre-determined Health facilities.

Participate in joint support supervision with the County Health Management Teams.

Timely submission of MoH monthly reports as per the pre-existing framework to the Makueni County Health Department

Train the personnel in the pre-determined health facilities on various aspects of HIV & T.B service delivery and reporting.

Makueni on the other hand will among others:

Offer staff management including staff appraisal and taking disciplinary measures where necessary.

Provide data capturing and reporting tools for the HIV and TB care and treatment and to Conduct Data Quality Audits of the health facilities captured.

Facilitate consistency in supply of pharmaceutical and laboratory commodities that are vital to the day to day implementation and overall success of the HIV and TB care and treatment interventions as envisioned in the agreement.

Makueni among the core counties to inform a study by World Bank on the impact of devolution

Makueni County has been chosen as one of the core counties that will inform a study to be conducted by the World Bank jointly with the Government of Kenya on the impact of devolution on service delivery.

According to the World Bank Senior Urban Management Specialist Abdu Muwonge, the study seeks to assess the performance of devolution since its inception in 2013 adding that it will also document key successes, its challenges in the past six years as well as propose ways to improve it in accordance to the findings of the study.

“The main reason of our visit to Makueni today is to get an overview of a study that we intend to carry out to assess the impact of devolution since its inception six years ago, the successes, challenges and the way forward,” said Muwonge.

Muwonge congratulated Makueni for being among the core counties identified for joint in-depth data collection saying that it provides a remarkable devolution history that started with wrangles in 2013 but rose to become a hub for benchmarking by other counties and various development partners.

He spoke on Thursday when together with his team met the Makueni top officials led by Deputy Governor Adelina Mwau during the study overview meeting at Wote.

The DG welcomed the study saying that it will serve as an evaluation to the County and be able to learn from the challenges and make devolution work even better.

“This study is welcome in Makueni because it will act as mid-evaluation for us since we started in 2013. Through the findings, we will be able to make devolution even work better as we look forward to leaving a strong foundation after our exit in 2022,” Mwau stated.

The World bank team will work with County officers in thematic areas of water, health, education, agriculture and urban development. Other counties that will be part of the study include Nairobi, Garissa, Nyandarua and Kisumu.

Makueni Contemplates International Justice over two KPC Oil Spills

Fear of diseases, loss of water sources, loss of huge tracts of land under irrigation and fish farms, temporary collapse of KALRO-Kiboko research centre are some of the challenges residents of Kiboko area, Makueni County, have to contend with following a massive oil spill from the new oil pipeline by Kenya Pipeline Company.

The spilled oil is feared to have infiltrated into Kiboko river, the major source of water to area residents which besides domestic uses is used for medium scale horticulture and aquafarming.

Although the spillage was discovered on March 30th,2019, it is feared that this might have started immediately after laying of the 450KM Mombasa-Nairobi pipeline late last year.

Acting KPC Managing Director Hudson Andambi says a point of weakness in the pipeline might have been caused by a large boulder hitting it during backfilling of the pipeline trench, which overtime developed into a crack letting out thousands of gallons of oil.

Those not entirely convinced by this theory believe that the leakage could also have resulted from a malicious puncturing of the pipeline by vandals intending to siphon oil from the line.

Without any installed digital or electronic leakage detectors, the leakage is feared to have gone on for days on end until 30th March 2019 when an officer of the Water Resource Users Association (WRUA) Kiboko, on routine patrol discovered it.

In a meeting of top KPC managers led by the MD, Makueni County Government led by Governor Kivutha Kibwana and the affected community on Tuesday at Kiboko, several measures to address the menace were outlined.

Among these include Human and livestock longitudinal study on the possible impact of the hydrocarbons to their health; Joint testing by all stakeholders for possible water pollution by oil, grease, Total Petroleum Hydrocarborns (TPH), and Benzene, Toluene, Ethyl benzene & Xylene (BTEX).

The meeting also saw formation of a taskforce that will spearhead provision of water for domestic use and livestock as well as environmental cleanup by the polluter.

Governor Kibwana who scolded the KPC officials for mishandling the compensation and cleanup exercise of Thange oil spill still within the county two years ago said KPC was taking the oil spill disaster lightly while it posed grave danger to the health and livelihoods of area residents.

 “We are staring at dangers of cancer and grounding of huge economic activities, the only source of livelihoods for thousands of residents.” Said the governor.

 “These two oil spills are a disaster so atrocious that it can even attract legal suit at the International Court of Justice. We may be forced to look that direction because we seem not to get local solutions,” the governor said further.

He said the County Government would write to KPC and the ministry of Petroleum demanding for restoration of the water sources or compensation for loss of livelihoods for the period the affected farms would lay forlorn with a fixed time frame.

Kibwana said the Thange oil leakage experience had shown that KPC has little regard for humanity despite millions of shillings it makes from the same people.

Kibwana in Talks with ICPAK for Financial Management Collaboration

Governor Kivutha Kibwana on Friday held talks with top management officers of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK) who paid him a courtesy call at Wote.

The talks centered on possible areas of collaboration between the county government and the accountancy regulator with a view to strengthening financial management systems.

Among the identified areas of collaboration include accounting personnel capacity building, establishment of a CPA centre and KCA University satellite campus in Wote, own source revenue growth, financial risks management and training of SMEs, FSAs on financial growth.

Kibwana has pledged that the county government would make available five acres of land for establishment of the CPA centre and KCA University Campus in the 2019/20 budget cycle.

The ICPAK delegation was led by Chief Executive Officer Edwin Makori and the manager, Devolution and Branches Public Policy and Research Division Hillary Onami.

Over 120 young people graduate from free advanced ICT training initiative

At least 120 youth from across the county have graduated from a 3-week free advanced ICT training program under “Tusomeei Computer Nduani” initiative fully funded by the County Government of Makueni.

The training was geared at equipping the young people with computational thinking and problem solving skills in order for them to succeed in the ever changing digital world.

They were competitively selected, 4 from each of the 30 wards and intensively trained on Web Design, Computer Hardware and Software, Graphics Design and computer Networks, with each trainee choosing an area of interest.

Konza Technopolis Development Authority CEO Eng John Tanui who addressed the graduands at Wote Technical Training Institute grounds on Friday said that the training was so timely with the Konza city taking shaping that it will provide a myriad of opportunities for the skilled young people.

“Konza Technopolis will be a sustainable, world-class technology hub and a major economic driver for Kenya, with a vibrant mix of businesses, workers, residents, and urban amenities. The skills you have acquired through this program are tools that prepare you to be among the key experts working at Konza as part of the journey to transform Kenya and Africa using ICT,” Tanui said.

Makueni Deputy Governor Adelina Mwau who presided over the ceremony urged the graduands to take advantage of the skills they had acquired and exploit them to become resourceful and create job opportunities for other people in the society.

“What we require from you our graduands is focus and exploitation of the opportunities in ICT that will enable you earn income and create jobs. Not just using it in social media-WhatsApp, twitter and Facebook,” stated Mwau.

The over 120 youth who graduated from free advanced ICT training initiative.

Testimonies by some of the graduands tell of a people who have been empowered with technical skills and ready to face the world despite the increasing cases of unemployment among the young people.

Through the department of Education, Youth, Sports and ICT, the county government has trained other 4000 young people on basic ICT knowledge and has also established 15 Community Information Centres across the county where the citizenry are trained on basic ICT programs as well as access government services online.

Competence Based Curriculum Good for the Country-Kibwana

Governor Kivutha Kibwana has urged for proper mechanisms to implement the Competence Based Curriculum.

Kibwana waded into the subject that has put the education ministry at loggerheads with the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) officials over its implementation, saying the new curriculum is good for the countries development.

“The Competence Based Curriculum allows learners to gain practical skills and focus more on their future career building subjects as opposed to reading purely for exams,” said the governor.

“It is understandable that the current teachers were trained purely for the 8-4-4 system and thus proper training on the new curriculum is required. Efforts should be made to train teachers during holiday seasons and the requisite infrastructure put in place if the new curriculum is to takeoff,” he said further.

According to him, Africa lacks a well-structured education system, and this explains the zeal to acquire higher education from outside the continent by a majority of Kenyans.

He however said the Kenyan CBC if well implemented has the potential to cure this deficiency and drive the country’s development to higher heights.

Kibwana spoke Thursday when he presided over a mentorship event for 236 secondary school students from Makueni who are under county scholarships in different schools.

The 236 are among 287 from needy backgrounds who secured opportunities in national secondary schools but could not report for lack of fees. The county has sponsored their full secondary education, while those who score B+ and above also benefit from scholarships to tertiary institutions.

Besides the 287 scholarships, the county has also awarded scholarships to 42,000 learners since 2014 at a cumulative cost of over Sh 300M.

Makueni to Partner with Salvation ARMY in Climate Change Resilience Building

Makueni County has secured the support of the Salvation Army in Climate Change Resilience Building through a five-year project dubbed MSETO WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) Resilience by the church.

The USD 2.5 Million project aims at ensuring Water, Sanitation hygiene (WASH) access in five counties; Makueni, Kitui, Machakos, Samburu and Isiolo counties.

The Project manager George Obondo says the project will also ensure Improved food and Economic security in the targeted communities; Improved WASH access in the communities and schools; Improved health and nutrition as well Climate Justice and Environmental Sustainability.

The project, which runs up to 2023, draws funding from among other partners: Sweden/Latvia, Australia, UK/Ireland, Switzerland, Hungary & Austria.

The MSETO Resilience-WASH and Food Security Project, launched today, Friday April 12, in Nairobi and graced by Deputy governor Adelina Mwau and ABC Archbishop Timothy Ndambuki, is an improvement of a similar pilot project in Salvation Army schools in the said Counties.

According to Salvation Army Kenya East Territorial Commander, Commissioner Margaret Siamoya, the project has previously supported 20 schools in Makueni with four 16,000-litre water tanks each as well as building toilets of World Health Organization standards.

DG Adelina Mwau termed the partnership a noble cause largely focusing on preparing and building the capacity of communities to enable them absorb, adapt and transform their lives in the face of complexities and uncertainties brought about by the impacts of climate change.

We have invested over Sh 250 million on bursaries and scholarships since 2013: Mwau

Makueni County government has spent over Sh 250 million on bursaries and scholarships to support at least 36,000 bright students from poor families to pursue education.

Deputy Governor Adelina Mwau said the government is in its final stage of establishing an Education Fund to put more resources on education as it acknowledges it is an investment for the future of the county.

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today. To increase Makueni share in supporting transition and retention in schools, the County is in its final stages of developing the long awaited “County Education Fund,” the Deputy Governor said.

But the DG revealed that lack of innovation and invention is the true challenge of education in this country and urged teachers to make learning effective and interactive in order to achieve 100% transition.

Mwau further noted that county government is in the forefront in the adoption of the new system by partnering with YASA, an organisation that deals with youth to mentor girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

“We have made strides with the adoption of a new curriculum focused rightly so on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Partnering with the ministry and YASA, our county has purposed to mentor at least nine schools for one year and improve Girls in STEM,” she said.

She was speaking when she closed the seventh edition of the Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association-Makueni Chapter at the Nyali Sun African Hotel in Mombasa.

KESSHA Makueni Chapter Chairman Julius Mutwii who was the host and also leader of a team handling the County Education Fund details termed it as a noble idea that will keep hope alive for the children. He also assured the government of their unwavering support to fully realise the initiative.

He said: “This is a very noble idea whose time has come because more of our students from needy backgrounds will have opportunities to pursue their academic dreams. We therefore as principals in Makueni fully support it.”

She was accompanied by the County Water Executive Bob Kisyula, Education and Trade executive members Joshua Wambua and Eng Sebastian Kyoni respectively.