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Makueni to establish an Education Fund to support needy and bright students

Makueni County is in the process of establishing the Makueni Education Fund, a kitty to cater for increasing cases of bright and needy students in the county annually, Education and Youth Executive Committee Member Joshua Wambua has said.

Wambua said that the County Government of Makueni has continued to receive an increasing number of applicants for both bursaries and scholarships each year adding that the County budget cannot sustain the applications.

“We are in the process of establishing a larger kitty, the Makueni Education Fund in order to address the increasing cases of bright and needy children. Our County Budget cannot sustain these cases thus the reason for this noble course,” the ECM said.

He was speaking in Mombasa on Thursday where county officials led by Deputy Governor Adelina Mwau met secondary school head teachers during this year’s Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association conference for Makueni chapter at the Nyali Sun African Beach Hotel.

County officials led by Deputy Governor Adelina Mwau meeting secondary school head teachers during this year’s KeSSHA conference for Makueni Chapter at the Nyali Sun African Beach Hotel

According to Wambua, the overall aim of the fund will be to mobilize financial resources and provide financial assistance to Makueni bright and needy students in their pursuit of higher education, allocate funds and grants for seminars and Conferences and research and other related educational purposes.

He further observed that though constitutionally primary, secondary and university education are not devolved, the County Government cannot escape from supporting them due to their proximity and presence where the people are.

Adelina Mwau stated that the fund was a step to increase Makueni share in supporting transition and retention in schools through supporting as many needy and bright students as possible  thus increasing their chances to better their future.

KESSHA Makueni Chapter chairman Julius Mutwii who was the host and also the leader of a team handling the fund details termed it as a noble idea that will keep hope alive for the children. He also assured the county 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.”

Counties urged to move into action towards addressing climate change

Counties have been urged to move into action towards addressing the adverse effects of climate change as time is ripe to shift to implementation of the existing climatic policies.

African Centre for Technology Studies Head of Climate Change Programme Dr Joanes Atela said that we have many crucial policies on climate change but of more paramount is to put them into action.

 “There is an abundance of climate policies. This is crucial, but perhaps more important now is to shift focus to the implementation of the policies. We need to explore innovative approaches, and document such, that would contribute to effectively addressing the effects of climate challenge,” Atela stated.

Atela further noted that to effectively address climate change, focus now should be on fostering concerted efforts saying that everyone has a part to play in tackling the climate change menace.

Atela Said: “Effectively addressing climate change requires all hands on deck. Each of you holds the key to a crucial piece of the puzzle.”

Dr. Atela spoke on Wednesday during the mapping and upscaling of climate change action in Kenya conference held at Wote in Makueni County.

The two-day workshop which attracted delegates from the 47 counties seeks to map and catalyze the extent of climate action in Kenya counties, and foster peer learning on how to catalyze and scale climate action in the country.

Makueni Deputy Governor Adelina Mwau who officially opened the conference stated that the county had made some major milestones towards combating climate change.

She observed that the county has constructed  sand dams in major rivers, banned sand harvesting in rivers and promoted water harvesting through several initiatives, among them the merry go round program for buying group members water tanks among other interventions within Makueni.

At least 120 youth in Makueni to benefit from free Advanced ICT Training

120 youth in Makueni are set to benefit from free three-weeks Advanced ICT Training under the Tusomeei Computer Nduani initiative, courtesy of the County Government of Makueni.

The training which began on Monday, aims at equipping the youth with computational thinking and problem solving skills in order for them to succeed in the ever changing digital world.

The young people who were competitively selected, 4 from each of the 30 wards will be intensively trained on Web Design, Computer Hardware and Software, Graphics Design and computer Networks with each trainee choosing one area of interest.

According to Kivuva Mwangangi of Emali-Mulala ward, a beneficiary of the program and a graduate of Computer Science from Maseno University, the initiative has given him a platform to perfect his networking skills especially after experiencing some challenges in the field immediately after his graduation.

“After graduating from Maseno with a degree in Computer Science, I was shocked I could experience some difficulties in field work. When I saw this opportunity, I was excited because I knew it was a good avenue for me to perfect my networking skills,” Mwangangi said.

The trainees, according to Youth and ICT Executive Dr. Joshua Wambua, will in the long run be employable, have hands on skills to create websites or be ripe for start-up ventures using the digital skills gained.

Kibwana calls on Kenyans to support NIIMS Registration

Governor Kivutha Kibwana has urged all Kenyans to support the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS) #HudumaNamba registration exercise.

Speaking during the exercise launch at Masii Boys’ High School, Machakos County, Kibwana said the exercise is important for our country’s planning and development.

“What we are launching today is a very important exercise for planning and development. As Council of Governors, we shall support this initiative wholeheartedly so we can enlist as many Kenyans within the 45-day registration period.”

Kibwana said he would use his position as the Council’s Chief Whip to rally governors to spearhead the registration exercise so it can get the support of all Kenyans.

The #HudumaNamba registration exercise was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta and graced by among others Governors Kivutha Kibwana, Alfred Mutua, Charity Ngilu; Cabinet Secretaries Fred Matiang’i and Margaret Kobia.

At Least 50 Women in Makueni to Benefit from Free Fistula Surgeries

Over 50 women living with fistula related complications in Makueni County are expected to receive free surgeries and medical advice in a weeklong free Fistula Camp at the Makueni County Referral Hospital.

The execrise which began last week Friday 29th and runs to April 6th was officially flagged off on Monday by Deputy Governor Adelina Mwau, Safaricom Foundation’s Assistant Programmes Analyst Antony Otieno and Council Member, Flying Doctors Society of Africa Illa Devani.

The activity, courtesy of a partnership between the County Government, Safaricom Foundation and Flying Doctors’ Society of Africa aims at creating awareness about fistula and the importance of quality maternal health services.

Since Friday, at least 100 women have been screened and 23 admitted at the Mother and Child Hospital, Wote, for surgeries which commenced on Monday.

Accounts by some of the women admitted for surgery tell of a people who have been living in delibitating conditions with a near withdrawal from all social activities due to stigma.

The Mother and Child Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr. Doris Mbithi said victims of this condition suffer from depression, rejection and trauma and choose to suffer in silence as the cost for corrective surgery is prohibitive to many.

A normal corrective surgery costs at least Sh 65,000 and requires specialised medical procedures.

The World Health Organization has termed fistula as the single most dramatic aftermath of neglected childbirth estimating that more than 2 million women live with fistula worldwide.

It is estimated that there are 3,000 new fistula cases in Kenya each year, and only 7.5 percent of these are able to access medical care.

This means that every year, more than 2,700 women with new fistula cases do not receive the necessary medical attention.

Makueni inks deal with ChildFund Kenya to promote sustainable development in the County

Makueni County has inked a five-year partnership deal with ChildFund Kenya, a child-focused development organisation to promote sustainable development in the county.

The Memorandum of Understanding, signed by County Secretary Paul Wasanga and the ChildFund International president Anne Goddard on Friday at Emali seeks to;

Improve livelihoods by strengthening families’ economic security and self-sufficiency. ChildFund working with the County Government of Makueni will help youths and families start their own businesses or train for marketable careers which can lead to community-wide changes and opportunities;

Implement hygiene, water and sanitation projects in the county in order to increase access to clean water sources for domestic and agriculture use, and to reduce emergence and spread of waterborne and water related diseases;

Increase access to educational opportunities for all children and youth by supporting the development of child-friendly ECDE Centers, capacity building caregivers on responsive parenting, payment of bursaries for orphans and vulnerable children, and providing life skills training and mentorship support to adolescents and youth;

Promote primary health care services by implementing responsive parenting education and nutrition programs and

Create safe spaces in the community where children are nurtured and protected. This will be done mainly through the strengthening community based child protection mechanisms and linking them to the formal systems.

Deputy Governor Adelina Mwau who witnessed the signing of the MoU commended ChildFund Kenya for their good work of lifting the lives of the people of Makueni especially the children and welcomed the partnership.

President Goddard said the deal will see them achieve more development for the people saying that that they were happy to bring on board partners from the government and other organisations.

“We realise we can’t do much alone and that is why we are willing to partner with local and international organisations,” said Goddard.

Sunflower Farming in Makueni

Makueni farmers to reap millions from Sunflower growing

Thousands of Makueni farmers are looking at better days growing sunflower with a ready and almost insatiable market provided by Bidco company limited.

Through contract farming, Bidco has partnered with Makueni County and Safaricom through use of a mobile based app, Digifarm, through which farmers get agronomical advise, credit facilities and all the necessary extension services on their mobile phone.

The journey towards sunflower production in the County began in November 2018 when Bidco through DigiFarm Contracted 640 farmers to plant the crop as a pilot project.

According to Governor Kivutha Kibwana, the pilot project covered 941ha, harvesting 941 metric tons of sunflower seed valued at about Shillings 35 million.

Purchase of this produce was flagged off at Kathonzweni by governor Kibwana, Safaricom’s Director of Enterprises Business Rita Okuthe, and Bidco head of Agribusiness John Kariuki on Thursday.

Kariuki announced that Makueni has been identified as a model county for sunflower seed growing in the country where those aspiring to venture into the business will come for bench marking.

Out of the 10,000 metric tonnes of sunflower seeds demand by Bidco annually, Makueni has been allocated a 2,000 quota by the company, a motivator to the local farmers to take up its production.

To spur uptake of the crop, Kibwana has said that the county has recruited 75 extension officers trained on using the Digifarm platform in farmer service delivery and equipped with 75 mobile smart phones to enable adoption of the platform by the extension officers.

Another 33 tablets have been sourced for supervisors.

He said begining March, the county has kicked off Soil testing activity at a subsidized cost of Shillings 300 to the farmers. The soil test gives a detailed report after 5 minutes.

6th Annual Devolution Conference

Governor Kivutha Kibwana and deputy Adelina Mwau join other governors and Food and Agricultural Organization officials in the launch of the “Counties That Matter” food programme, a partnership between counties and FAO.

This programme seeks to build sustainable food systems in counties as part of driving the food security aspect of the Big Four Agenda spearheaded by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The launch took place on Wednesday during the 6th Annual Devolution Conference staged at Kirinyaga University, Kirinyaga county.

Makueni, GVRC hold sensitization fora to address Gender Based Violence in the county

The County Government of Makueni in partnership with Gender Violence Recovery Centre(GRVC) of Nairobi Women’s Hospital on Monday kicked off gender based violence sensitization program in a bid to address sexual and other forms of GBV in the county.

This is in accordance to a Memorandum of Understanding which was signed by the two parties last month to partner to develop, promote and strengthen joint actions and collaboration towards prevention and response to GBV within Makueni County.

The sensitization program which will run in every sub-county across the county is targeting duty bearers and anti-GBV champions in every ward in order to capacity build them.

Speaking during the forum, Makueni Deputy Governor Adelina Mwau said that the county is in the forefront in the fight against GBV which is on increase adding that they were going to bring on board all key stakeholders in order to effectively address the issue.

“GBV cases have increased tremendously and as we fight it, we are planning to bring on board other key stakeholders so that we can work together towards addressing this sensitive issue. It is so shocking that in January we had 21 cases of pregnancies for school going girls in Kibwezi only,” Mwau stated.

Kibwezi-East Sub-County Education Director Kennedy Machora said that they were working closely with all relevant bodies to ensure that all perpetrators of GBV are brought to book.

The county government has established a Makueni Gender Based Recovery Center at Wote Referral hospital to enhance comprehensive management of GBV services and strengthen functional referral mechanisms.

Government to Fast track implementation of Thwake Dam, says CS

Cabinet Secretary for Water and Sanitation Simon Chelugui has said his ministry will push the contractor undertaking construction of Thwake dam to fast track its implementation and recover lost time.

According to the CS, 11 months into the signing of the contract with China Gezhouba Group, the contractor, only 7.2 percent of civil works against an expected 19 percent has been achieved so far.

Chelugui said the ministry will ensure fast tracking of the project implementation so that it is completed within the 56 months contract period.

The CS spoke on Wednesday when he, accompanied by governors Kivutha Kibwana, Alfred Mutua and Charity Ngilu toured the dam site to asses the implementation progress and address any emerging issues.

The three governors protested delaying of the distribution of domestic water component, insisting that it should be done simultaneously or immediately the Dam is done as the region is highly water stressed.

At least  a volume of 60 Million litres of treated water from the dam will be reserved for domestic use in both Kitui and Makueni (Wote, Kathonzweni and Kibwezi).

The governors also insisted on the adherence to the local-local Sub-contracting as agreed where contractors from the three counties would be given priority, with a list of pre-qualified ones shared with the contractor and the ministry.