Top Stories / National
Wednesday, 29 Mar 2017 18:29 EAT
The United States Government yesterday joined Government of Kenya and two county governments (Turkana and Marsabit) in launching a Sh10.4 billion project to improve access to water services in arid lands. The move is also aimed at supporting economic growth through agricultural productivity in 23 other counties.
The projects represent a U.S. investment of over Sh3.8 billion and are consistent with the Government’s recent request for assistance in responding to the drought emergency. U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec noted that the projects are geared towards providing drinking water for households and livestock as well as sanitation and hygiene services that will benefit 450,000 people in arid counties in northern Kenya.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAid), through the Kenya Resilient Arid Lands Partnership for Integrated Development activity (Kenya RAPID), is investing Sh1.25 billion in the water sector in Turkana, Marsabit, Isiolo, Wajir and Garissa Counties.
The activity is executed in a partnership with the Millennium Water Alliance, Catholic Relief Services and the private sector. Additional funding support includes Sh750 million from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and Sh1.55 billion from the private sector.
The private sector was represented at the launch by Kenya Commercial Bank and IBM. Kenya RAPID is also working closely with county governments to provide water for irrigation to improve food security at household and community levels.
A hundred thousand people will benefit from multiple-use services and targeted nutrition education. USAid and the U.S. Geological Survey are also partnering with the Kenya government on a Sh150 million activity to map water resources in Turkana and Marsabit counties.
The water mapping program will enable the national and county governments as well as local communities to plan and manage water resources more efficiently. The third project launched, which is 'Feed the Future' costing Sh2.5 billion, focuses on stimulating economic development through competitively and sustainably increasing agricultural productivity on livestock, horticulture and drought-tolerant crops.
The Accelerated Value Chain Development Activity, implemented by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in close collaboration with Kenya government in 23 counties, is targeting 258,000 households.
Ambassador Godec said, “Our initiatives take action on drought management as we seek to strengthen communities before a crisis hits. We are committed to helping the Government of Kenya and communities prepare for, adapt to, and ultimately thrive amid these challenging circumstances”.
The writer is a contributing reporter for the Kenya Free Press based in Homa Bay County