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Posts Tagged ‘Lake Victoria’

Kenya: Gains from World Bank funded Lake Victoria Environmental Project.

Posted by African Press International on September 25, 2013

  • By Dickens Wasonga.
Communities living along the shores of Lake Victoria are now gaining hugely, thanks to the support they are receiving through the World Bank funded Lake Victoria Environmental Project.
In Nandi in the rift valley and Nyando in Nyanza, the locals have ventured into massive tree planting as a way of environmental conservation and the results are impressive.
 A part from reclaiming most of the forest cover that was cleared and turned into farmlands, the residents are now reaping huge benefits from the sale of tree seedlings from nurseries so far established through LVEMP’s support.
The multimillion project which began in 2010 is targeting the implementation of two main broad objectives in its collaborative approach to management of shared natural resources within Lake Victoria Basin.
Working with selected   community groups which have been undertaking activities targeting to reduce environmental stress within the basin, LVEMP is also sponsoring activities aimed at changing the livelihoods of the communities.
The regional project is implemented by all the five member states of the east African community.
 It is undertaking its activities through the government led agencies who offer technical support to the benefiting groups in selected catchment areas.
 In Kenya it is targeting the river Nyando basin and along the shores of Lake Victoria.
According to LVEMP’s national project coordinator madam Francisca Owuor, so far a total of Ksh 116 million has been disbursed to 114 community groups in areas covered by the project.
 It is expected that before the project end in 2015, a total of 240 groups will have been supported.
Speaking at the close of a week-long field excursion organized by LVEMP 2  and attended by twenty journalists from various media houses the coordinator disclosed that Ksh 400M will be spent in the community driven development activities.
She told the journalists that LVEMP has also approved proposals from 225 groups and funding for them is underway.
However, 111 groups whose proposals were approved are yet to be launched to begin implementation of various activities because they are still undergoing environmental impact assessment by the national environmental management authority.
The benefiting groups are those that were already doing something to protect the environment and at the same time engaging in livelihood changing   activities.
Most of the groups  are  for example , engaged in  tree planting along the river banks, other s are  controlling  soil erosion by laying soil conservation structures  like gabions and  erection of  terraces among others.
Apart from conserving the environment, they are also fully embracing commercial agriculture. Some communities have established tree nurseries through the financial support offered by LVEMP while others are keeping dairy animals and keeping bees.
 In the North rift, areas around Nandi Hills, in Nyando and Homa Bay counties, communities are now planting millions of trees in their farms and along the river banks.   They are also protecting water springs by planting bamboo and other tree species that protect the water towers.
The project was necessitated by the realization that Lake Victoria which supports an estimated 30M people either directly or indirectly was facing huge environmental challenges and the stress was linked to unfavorable human activities within the basin which needed to be reversed.
Water levels in Lake Victoria were alarmingly low due to silting because of poor farming activities upstream, quality of the lake water s was greatly compromised as a result of pollution, aquatic immensely interfered with and so there was urgent need to reverse this trend.

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Lawyer for Nyando petioner has no certificate

Posted by African Press International on July 25, 2013


Kisumu High court witnessed a rare drama this week when it emerged that a lawyerrepresenting Nyando election petitioner Jared Okello doesn’t have a practicing certificate.Okello went to court early April on alleged grounds that the incumbent Mp Fred Outas victory was shrouded with election malpractices.

Pascal Odhiambo the lawyer victim was conspicuously absent when the presiding judgeAggrey Muchelule ruled that all the applications done by him during the trial period be srtuck off with costs.However both parties will brace for 45 minutes each of submission before Muchelule on 8th August next month.

Its imperative to note that the lawyer who filed the case Bruce Odeny is different from Pascal Odhiambo who has been arguing the case. The press could not however immediately establish whether the duo who are based in Kisumu are from the same law firm.



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Kenya: Crackdown on drugs and illicit brew

Posted by African Press International on July 4, 2013

  • By Maurice Alal in Kenya

KISUMU County Commissioner Lorna Odero has today directed the district commissioners to crack down drug and illicit brew peddlers in the county.

Odero asked the DCs to make their areas drug free and warn of any laxity to arrest those involved.

She also orders the police in the county to ensure thorough inspections of public vehicles and suspected cars that are used to ferry the drugs and alcohol.

“I have instructed all the security agents in the county to deal strictly with cases of drugs,” she said.

Odero also warned those chiefs alleged to be colluding with changaa brewers and remind them of their responsibilities.

The county boss said the county recorded high usage of alcohol and drugs nationally and called all the chiefs to apprehend all the dealers.

Odero also warned the DCs and chiefs who are reluctant in fighting the drug peddlers in their areas saying they risk loosing their jobs.

“We cannot sit back and watch our youths being rendered useless by people with vested interest,” Odero stated.

She further asked young people in the county to desist from drugs and engage in productive activities.

The administrator urged members of the public to be vigilant and volunteer information to police to apprehend those involved in drugs.

This comes just a day when Kisumu West DC, Gilbert Kittyo impounded over 700 litres of illicit brew in Sunga village.

The brew included changaa and molasses which they poured down and intercepted the equipment that they use in brewing.

Kittyo warned the chiefs in his area that they will face stern action if they fail to eradicate the drug menace.

“I will sack those chiefs who fail to perform their duties before I am sent packing by my bosses,” he warned.




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Kenya :Fish Production has reduced drastically due to excess fishing pressure

Posted by African Press International on June 10, 2013


Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Felix Koskei yesterday said fish production has reduced drastically due to excess fishing pressure in the country.

Koskei said the production has reduced from 220,000 in the year 2000 to 130,000 metric tons in 2012.

He stated that Lake Victoria has been a major contributor of fisheries resource in Kenya, accounting for 85 percent of the fish production in the country.

According to Koskei the current fish demands cannot be achieved as the lake can no longer support any more fishing pressure.

This, he said called for immediate action and asked for cooperation from all stakeholders to observe the Dagaa (“Omena”) closed season to enable fish to mature. Fish harvesting demonstration in Kolwa Sub-location, Kisumu County. (photo by Mr Alal) Fish harvesting demonstration in Kolwa Sub-location, Kisumu County. (photo by Mr Alal)

“The demand for “Omena” for animal feed industry poses challenge in as far as availability of fish for human consumption is concerned,” he said adding that anyone found breaching the ban will face full force of the law.

Koskei further urged stakeholders to make concerted efforts to ensure sustainable utilization of fisheries resources to reduce post harvest loses and increase production from aquaculture to meet the increasing fish demand.

In a speech read on his behalf by Permanent Secretary Prof Micheni Ntiba during fish farming projects tour in Kisumu County, he called small scale fish farmers to take advantage of Trilateral Tilapia Cooperation and do fish farming as a business.

The Trilateral Cooperation is funded by Kenya, German and Israel governments at a tune of Ksh 262.2M. The project is to enhance suitable ways of protecting the Lake Victoria environment by creating alternative livelihood for the community living along the lake.

Through the program a total of 132 extension officers out of the targeted 130 and 58 farmers out of 300 fish farmers have been trained.

Currently the government has already invested a lot in aquaculture sector by financing the establishment of a bout 40,000 fish ponds across the country through Economic Stimulus Program.

However, the German Ambassador Margit Hellwing-Boette and her Israel counterpart Gil Haskelat said the program is to reduce excess fishing pressure adding that the projected started in June 2012 and will end by June 2014.  Left,Permanent Secretary Prof Micheni Ntima with German Ambassador Margit Hellwing-Boette and Israel Ambassador Gil Haskelat during fish farming projects tour in Kisumu County. Left,Permanent Secretary Prof Micheni Ntima with German Ambassador Margit Hellwing-Boette and Israel Ambassador Gil Haskelat during fish farming projects tour in Kisumu County. (photo by Mr Alal)

They also said fish project is to improve tilapia aquaculture in Western and Nyanza regions saying Kenya contributed Ksh. 7.98M, German Ksh. 159.6M and Israel 2.3M.





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Kenya: Kisumu County Assembly approves Executive Nominees for appointment

Posted by African Press International on June 3, 2013

Members of Kisumu County Assembly have approved 10 executive cabinet nominees for the appointment by the Governor Jack Ranguma.

The members adopted the vetting report table before the assembly by the Leader of Majority Samuel Ong’ou after the Speaker Mrs. Anne Adul revoked Standing Order No. 60 following a stand-off among the members. - Kisumu County Assembly in Kenya – Kisumu County Assembly in Kenya

This was after members could not come to the agreement over the standing order for adopting the report tabled.

The cabinet nominees who underwent vetting by the county vetting committee chaired by the speaker of the County Assembly had earlier found two nominees unsuitable to hold the dockets.

Mohammed Hannif Rana and George Okoth who were nominated for industrialization, Enterprise and Transport and Information, Communication and Planning Development were found unsuitable by the vetting panel over their capability.

However the two have the members of the assembly to thank for after they went for voting through division method.

Despite section of the members raised concern over regional balance and exclusion of people living with disability the nominees report was overwhelming passed 100 percent. The County Assembly has 35 ward representatives exclusion of 9 nominated members whose fate still lies in the court.

According to report tabled before the house gender balance was not well observed as per the vetting committee.

The cabinet nominees approved for appointment in various dockets include Joseph Okal (Treasury), Dr. Barack Abonyo (Water, Energy and Natural Resources) Dr. Rose Omondi Kisia (Commerce, Tourism and Heritage, Roda Aonobadha (Environment Management), Elizabeth Ogaja (Health Services) Dr Stephene Orot ( Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries).

Other nominees are Jenifer Okere (Education, Youth, Culture and Social Services), Eng Vincet Kodera physical planning roads and public works, George Okoth Communication Planning and Development), and Hanif Rana ( Industrialization, Enterprise and Transport Development).

Margrate Mbuya was also approved to be appointed to County Assembly Service Board.

However, the speaker directed the vetting panel to submit the adoption report of nominees to the Governor appropriately and immediately for appointment.



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Kenya: Child labour hit Counties in Nyanza Region due to poverty.

Posted by African Press International on May 29, 2013

  • By Maurice Alal, API Kenya

At the age of 11 Joyce Adhiambo*, a resident of Homabay Town, wakes up at 4.30 am each day and tramps to a nearby river to fetch water for his bosses before embarking to firewood. Adhiambo also helps prepare and serve the family with meals and sweeps the whole compound among other chores.
Surprisingly, Adhiambo has no shoes but a half-heel chopped off red flappers which she uses to protect her cracked feet. She narrates that she found herself in this horrible situation four years ago at a tender age of 8 years after she lost both of her parents due to HIV.
After the death of her parents Adhiambo was adopted by her aunts in Homabay but her stay there was short-lived. Circumstances forced her to quit the place due to harassment from family members.
The poor girl while at her aunt’s place, she was forced to sleep on an empty sack.  Narrating to this scribe, the young girl said was often beaten up on the slightest provocation of her aunt who forced her to feed on leftovers that dropped from the family table.


Now Adhiambo is a young domestic worker who does know her fate. The child labor, which is now broadly defined as the employment of minors, is often a harsh and most exploitative condition among children.
But the vice has remained in practical both in developing and even industrial countries. The human cost of child labour leaves the victims gaunt, crippled, illiterate and sick.
International Labour Organization (ILO) that was founded in 1919 has since transformed into special agency of the United Nations (UN).The introduction of child labour conventions by ILO among members, including a minimum age of 16 years for admission to all kinds of work. While others including a higher minimum age for particular employment, medical examination and regulation of right work.
In early 21st Century, ILO was compelled to add the worst forms of child labour to its list including slavery, debt bondage (where children work to pay off loans owed by parents) prostitution and forced military services.
A growing concern now in Homabay County has been the increase in prostitution among young girls in urban areas especially in drinking spree. Some of the children have been forced in the ugly practice due to abject poverty.
The 1997 UNICEF report concerning child labour stated most employers try to hire workers who are easier or cheap to exploit. It was also estimated that over 3 million minors in Kenya engage in child labour, usually working under hazardous conditions.
The report also highlighted that the most vulnerable and weakest workers are children usually paid less than the adults and are often ignorant on their rights or how to protest against poor working environment.
“Poverty plays an enormous role in the phenomenon. Desperate for money, poor families around the world including Kenya are forced to push minors to increase overall income among the families. “The report read in part.
The poor families, the small contributions of child’s income or the assistance can make a huge difference between a bare sufficiency and hunger, the survey reveals.
In various towns of Homabay County, a stroll in the streets at night leaves one gasping for breath over the ages of girls frequently visiting clubs at night for prostitution.
A study carried town in seven districts in Kenya in 1997 by child Welfare Society of Kenya indicated that child prostitution is widely practiced in big towns. Some victims were as young as 11 years old. Malindi and Mombasa peaked underage children selling sex.
In Nairobi, the number of street children has risen to 60,000 with the Government estimating their numbers to grow at 10 percent annually. The children are often involved in drug trafficking, assault, theft, trespass and property damaging.
A survey carried out in 1996 in a lower class estate in Nairobi found that 30% of households employed children. In 1997 the figured dropped by 12%.

And in Homabay, about 30 children are in the streets in search for food with majority being young girls. Kisumu City is not spared either with about 30% who are at the age of going to school.


According to business fraternity street children have now become a menace as they steal from them to have a bit due to hardship they undergo.
In Kenya, a study of girls working as housemaids found out that 25 girls aged 9-16 years, 18 were HIV positive. Most of the girls had worked in homes had reported sexual abuse in all or most of them.
Statistics available in labour officer in Homabay region indicates that more than 15,000 underage girls in the region have been lured or forced into commercial sex work by wealth men.
According to Mary Achieng, a child rights activists in Homabay County, says that apart from prostitution, a high percentage of underage children in the region are involved in stone crashing, charcoal kilns and bricking making as others are employed as housemaids.
On the other hand, a survey in six districts in Homabay County reveals that most children drop out of school due to a rigid curriculum to an extent they prefer to look interesting jobs.
And in Kisumu City, Children are not spared either with some going sleepless night along the streets hawking boiled maize to earn a living.
Meet Josephine Atieno (not her real name), a former class 5 who had to drop out of school after the death of her parents to provide for  her younger siblings.
Atieno now sells boiled maize throughout the night at bar parks, clubs and stage especially to bar goers, bodaboda and matatu operators who lure them to sexual activities.
According to Atieno, she is just one of the examples of children hawking various food stuffs to have a meal on the table, a spot check by the writer shows that a good number of boys and girls are full in the streets across the Nyanza region.
Some of the children are sent to collect scrap metals by dealers only to be attacked by the owners who seriously assault them.
The hardship has now forced a good number of children to the streets in various counties such as Kisii, Kisumu, Homabay, Migori, Siaya and Nyamira thereby increasing the number of street children in the region.
Some of the children have now embarked on Commercial Sex at various clubs I the streets of Kisumu, Homabay Kisii among others without proper knowledge of HIV.
In every 20 of the girls in the social areas 10 are miners who have dropped out of school because of poverty and death of their parents.
According to these children, they are not in such kind of activities because they want but due to pathetic conditions and difficulties they are undergoing.
A spot check in Kisii, Migori and Nyamira the story replays the same scenario with some being used by drug peddlers to sneak drugs to their destinations.
This exposes them to greatest danger of drugs. This is rampant especially in Migori as it borders Kenya and Tanzania. The same story replays in Rachuonyo North District with children involved in fishing and harvesting sand to make a living. Some risking their lives by going inside the caves.
But along the lake shore of Lake Victoria children are fishing just to feed their siblings with some spending money they get to buy sex from commercial sex workers in these beaches.
This now calls for immediately concerned by the Children Department in the 6 Counties to ensure the well-being of children are catered for, this is according to various activists based in Kisumu and Homabay.


In tackling the poverty level in the counties, Governor Homabay Cyprian Awiti said his government is set to allocate about 30% to eradicate poverty through loaning the residents to start-up small business activities to earn a living. This now call for solidarity among the governors in Nyanza region to fight poverty so as to reduce cases of child labour, this according to Awiti.



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Kenya: AGOA’S unexploited opportunities

Posted by African Press International on May 23, 2013

  • By Maurice Alal, API Kenya

Consumption of Nile Perch fish species was synonymous with residents of Lake Victoria region although it is now eaten nationally. Filleted Nile perch is exported but the skin goes to waste. Consumers of the delicacy don’t know that a shoe made from it fetches up to Kshs.50, 000. A facilitator addressing the African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA) forum in Kisumu this morning. (photo by Alal) A facilitator addressing the African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA) forum in Kisumu this morning. (photo by Alal)

This is the irony of people laying emphasis on value addition as the sure way to lift the business fraternity in Kenya and African continent out of the poverty cycle, which despite many interventions has eluded many nations.

Kisumu County Director of Trade, Vincent Asikoye said in an interview that the Nile Perch skin can be turned into leather to make shoes that fetch a fortune but most of our people have not understood this concept for which we are committed for economic take-off.

Asikoye further singled out the use of Nile perch and other fish bones to make products like ornaments as a good example of value addition, which if well embraced by Kenya’s business fraternity could transform not only our perception but also scale of business transactions.

“It’s in this light that Kenya Government has taken a bold step to revive collapsed textile mills in Western Kenya region and other parts of the country as a policy aimed at unlocking and fast tracking abundant business potentials existing locally and globally”, he stated.

He said the Ministry of Agriculture has been funded to revive the cotton growing, even though following the collapse of the industry; most of the cotton ginneries were left in the hands of the private sector.

“It was the start of several industries going under; including the sugar sector and the fishing industry. We are now working with the private sector to achieve this common goal of ensuring all the over 6, 400 products on offer get a quality touch”, he said. Kisumu County Director of Industrialization, Vincent Asikoye being interviewed in Kisumu this morning, while ACTIF Executive Director, Rajeev Arora looks on. (phto by Alal) Kisumu County Director of Industrialization, Vincent Asikoye being interviewed in Kisumu this morning, while ACTIF Executive Director, Rajeev Arora looks on. (phto by Alal)

The Director states that Kenya’s indigenous vegetables (Osuga, Saga, Akeyo, Apoth and Dek among the luo), embroidery, jewelry among others could fetch lots of money as they are quite popular across the globe with Tourists as the vegetables have high nutritional value.

He the Government through Industrialization Ministry has already constructed a plant to process Soya Beans as the first step towards building many others where they are needed most in areas where the raw products are grown.

Asikoye commended Kisumu residents for having demonstrated a good image through action in March, 2013 by upholding peace which greatly helped restore investor confidence as a business destination thus warded off the hostility tag associated with it.

“We will tackle issues that don’t enable traders, farmers and investors have a conducive environment by making sure that even as we industrialize, each one of the categories get fairness in terms of pricing alongside cost of inputs for production”, he reiterated.

Quite outstanding was the presentation by the African Cotton & Textile Industries Federation (ACTIF), Executive Director, Rajeev Arora who was explicit that African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA) window ends in 2015 but the potential has not been fully exploited. ACTIF Executive Director, Rajeev Arora being interviewed in Kisumu.(Photo by Alal) ACTIF Executive Director, Rajeev Arora being interviewed in Kisumu.(Photo by Alal)

Arora stated that the World Trade Organization (WTO) granted waiver to the United States of America (USA) to have a non-reciprocal preferential trade regime until September 30, 2015. However, stakeholders in the sector expressed optimism that it will be extended further.

AGOA covers 23 counties in Africa and is keen to facilitate the development of cotton value chain for textile and apparels, while at the same time act as the important link to regional and international markets.

“We hope to bring investments in the textile sector similar to the mid 1970s and 1980s when Kenya had excellent cotton market globally”, he explained.

Arora said AGOA started in 2000 introduced duty-free and quota free markets for 6, 400 products with Kenya being the highest exporter from Africa to the USA standing at Kshs.221.9billion (US$250million). The African Cotton & Textile Industries Federation (ACTIF), Executive Director, Rajeev Arora sharing a word with Industrialization Ministry, Public Relations Officer (PRO), Richard Abura in Kisumu today while Kisumu County Director of Industrialization, Vincent Asikoye (partly hidden) looks on. (photo by Alal) The African Cotton & Textile Industries Federation (ACTIF), Executive Director, Rajeev Arora sharing a word with Industrialization Ministry, Public Relations Officer (PRO), Richard Abura in Kisumu today while Kisumu County Director of Industrialization, Vincent Asikoye (partly hidden) looks on. (photo by Alal)

He disclosed that Kenya has developed a strategy to fully exploit AGOA market value through elaborate outreach targeted at the local business fraternity to sensitize the small-scale traders and manufacturers on the high potential market and how best to exploit it fully.

“Kenyan small scale investors have been challenged to focus more on producing for the AGOA market so as to gain more from the AMERICAN open market from African products”, he explained.
Arora said the market has not been fully exploited, since Kenya exports less than 30 products whereas there is an open market for over 6,400 products from Africa.
“As an approach to promote value addition and exportation into the AGOA market, African Cotton & Textile Industries Federation’s (ACTIF) in partnership with the Ministry of Trade has launched a countrywide outreach program to enable Kenyans take full advantage of AGOA before the window of opportunity expire in 2015”, he pointed out.

The Executive Director said high level efforts led by ACTIF and others are underway to persuade the US Administration to extend AGOA or make it a permanent trade arrangement between Africa and the United States.

Arora disclosed challenges facing entrepreneurs who seek to export under AGOA as; high cost of transportation, erratic and costly electricity supply as well as burdensome customs and trade regulations.

However, Kenya is one of the main beneficiaries of AGOA having realised $3.94 billion,$4.67 billion and $5.83 billion worth of exports in 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively. The key sectors that have benefited include tea (20%), horticulture (16%), textile and apparels (4.35%), coffee (3.8%), tobacco products at 1.6%, among others in 2011.

The top ten exports to the USA in 2011 were tea, horticulture, textile and apparels, coffee, tobacco products, animal and vegetable oils, essential oils, soda ash, articles of plastics and cement in that order.

AGOA is a trade provision by the US Government that offers tangible incentives for African countries to continue their efforts to open their economies and create free markets. A section of participants at the AGOA forum in Kisumu today listen as they take notes.(photo by Alal) A section of participants at the AGOA forum in Kisumu today listen as they take notes.(photo by Alal)

This is a unique market access provision considering that it is a non-reciprocal concession under which developed countries allow duty-free or low-duty entry of imports from selected developing countries up to a certain limit or quota, covering 6,400 products.

Exports from AGOA-eligible countries have grown over 300%, from $21.5 billion in 2000 to $86.1 billion in 2008. It has also created over 300,000 jobs many of which are in the apparel sector which provides employment opportunities for women.

ACTIF, he said, with the support of BAF-DANIDA and Trade Mark East Africa successfully advocated for the extension of 3rd Country fabric provision under AGOA to the expiry of AGOA in 2015.

This enabled thousands of jobs to be salvaged and also protected foreign earnings for AGOA countries including Kenya.

The outreach program, an initiative of ACTIF is designed to engage with the private sector on policy changes and interventions needed to strengthen the capacity of Kenyan entrepreneurs and develop a private sector position ahead of the annual AGOA forum to be held in Ethiopia between June 27 and July 2, 2013.
The AGOA forum brings together key US Government officials, private sector and civil society members, African Ministers of Trade among other industry stakeholders.




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