BY H.E CORNEL RASANGA AMOTH, Governor, Siaya County
When we founded the County Government of Siaya in 2013, we were in a difficult place. There was almost nothing to write home about except for the spirit of our people. The task of driving this county forward still remains our collective responsibility as a people.
My administration has done a wide range of critical work across the various departments. However, Roads and Infrastructure, Agriculture, Water, Health and Education are the top agenda of this final term of my 10-year administration.
Roads and Infrastructure
Since 2013, we have increased accessibility to rural communities by over 70 percent by opening up access to the countryside through more than 1,500km of roads.
In line with our efforts to progressively improve the coverage of tarmacked roads in the county, we have embarked on initiatives and partnerships to realise our targets.
For example, the 1km Yala Ring Road in Gem Sub-County is almost complete. The 2km road tarmac project for Bondo-Opoda from Bondo Primary School is being implemented in collaboration with Kenya Urban Roads Authority. Plans are also to tarmack Kodiaga-Sirembe-Rabango road and open up trade between Siaya town and Gem sub-counties, thereby creating employment opportunities. My government will also link Ugenya and Alego Usonga through the Kalkada bridge.
Agriculture and Livestock
In 2013, we mapped out a programme that has seen the county purchase 22 tractors, which we continue to hire out to farmers at subsidised rates. Through this initiative, the County Government has enabled ploughing of over 22,000 acres of land to date, benefiting over 1,000 farmers directly and 38,400 farmers indirectly. To date, a total of 57,000 acres has been put under cultivation for various food and cash crops. This is an increase from the 4,300 acres under cultivation in 2013. As government, we therefore saw the need to sustain this momentum and have issued over 200 metric tons of subsidised seeds, 305.6 metric tons of planting fertilizer and 277 metric tons of top-dressing fertiliser to farmers until now.
To promote the fishing industry, we have distributed a total of 1.7 metric tons of fingerlings, 600 metric tonnes of fish feeds to farmers and distributed 4,400 pieces of 6 inches and 6.5 inches fishing nets worth Ksh8 million to three fishers Saccos in West Yimbo. In addition to this, the county purchased 11 motorised wooden boats for Beach Management Units to enhance surveillance in the lake.
In the 2019/20 financial year, we issued two fibre glass boats with outboard engines worth Ksh4.95 million to Oyamo and Ndeda islands Beach Management Units in Bondo Sub-County to enhance surveillance in the lake and weed out use of illegal fishing gears by unscrupulous fishermen. Eighteen fish landing bandas have also been constructed and three fish landing sites fenced to further support our fledgling fish industry. In regard to mapping lakes and dams for cage fish farming, the county government procured 35 cages for piloting in Bondo and Alego Usonga sub-counties.
Through enhanced collaboration with other players in the cotton subsector such as Agriculture and Food Authority Fibre Directorate, 300 metric tons of cotton was sold by our farmers in 2018, fetching a total of Ksh138 million. The cotton subsector is expected to perform even better this year given that 6,000 acres are under the crop and already farmers have started marketing the produce.
On livestock, my government has since purchased 728 dairy cows and hundreds of goats, and distributed them to farmers to enhance production of milk and milk products. Additionally, 168,000 animals have been vaccinated apart from the construction of 12 crush pens, procurement and distribution of 17 livestock spray pumps. We have also carried out Fixed Time Inseminations in collaboration with International Livestock Research Institute and supplied 298 insemination kits realising an estimated conception at 208 animals.
Health and Sanitation
We have sustained the over 2,000 Community Health Volunteers, popularly known as Nyamrerwa, recruited to help in addressing grassroots health care concerns of the people of Siaya County. Also, we have increased the health care workforce by up to 40 percent since 2013. This includes the employment of an additional 433 new health care service providers. As a result, referral of mothers for skilled deliveries has shot up to 70 percent from the 56 percent in 2013.
In Siaya, Bondo and Yala sub-county hospitals, we have set up sickle cell clinics.
To relieve the pressure of referrals from Siaya County Referral Hospital, we have equipped the 148 public health facilities with the number of surgeries undertaken per month, shooting from 30 operations at 2013 to over 200 in 2019. We now have at least one health facility in all the sub-locations of Siaya County. Facilities in far-flung villages are now conducting caesarean sections across all the sub-counties.
Other ongoing works include the construction of modern maternity units at Ambira, Ukwala, and Madiany Health Facilities and the operationalisation of the already installed CT scan machine. Our renal unit is up and running and remains a major referral unit within the region.
To further ease access to health care in Siaya, my Government has so far constructed 20 new maternity units, operationalised a five-bed dialysis unit at the Siaya County Referral Hospital and ensured availability of a health facility within a radius of 5km as per World Health Organisation standards.
Education and Training
We have completed the construction and equipping of 250 Early Childhood Development centres, increasing enrolment from 56,588 in 2013 to 124,705 as at the beginning of 2019. To meet these new numbers, 657 ECD instructors have been employed against a target of 800 by close of this financial year.
Additionally, the office of The First Lady is implementing the Nurturing Care of Early Childhood Development programme to help facilitate good health and nutrition, security and safety, responsive care giving, and opportunities for early learning.
My government offers scholarships to needy pupils. We will continuously award school bursaries to pupils in secondary, tertiary institutions. Over Ksh300 million have disbursed to date since the advent of devolution. In the financial year 2019/2020, about Ksh80 million is available for bursary disbursement.
We have constructed and completed 17 vocational training centres, with another 18 under construction.
Our efforts to support higher education also saw my government sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology, which has led to the opening of their campus in Siaya town at the former Agriculture Training Centre.
Water and Environment
We project to improve the water coverage to at least 60 percent by 2022 from the current 48 percent. We are supporting the implementation of the Ksh2.4 billion Siaya-Bondo Water Supply and Sanitation project, funded by African Development Bank (AfDB). This will boost supply of water in areas such as Yala, Bondo Town, Siaya, Rangala, N’giya and the areas along the Sidindi-Malanga water transmission line upon its completion before the end of my tenure in office. The supply has been extended to Bar Olengo, Obambo and currently the extension to Nyadorera is ongoing.
We are also supporting the Ksh1.2 billion Ugunja-Sega-Ukwala water and sanitation project funded by AfDB through Lake Victoria South Water Services Board.
Separately, we have constructed and rehabilitated shallow wells, and connected several households to the main sewer line in the Siaya and Bondo.
My government has also constructed and protected springs and replaced the electric submersible pumps in the existing boreholes with solar pumps. Further, we have created over 100 water pans, constructed and rehabilitated over 200 shallow wells, drilled and solar equipped over 50 boreholes. My government has also developed and protected 45 springs and installed over 25 water tanks, at least 10,000 litres each, in schools and health facilities in various parts of the county continues to make water a common commodity for the Siaya people.
Land and Urban Development
We have installed the Geographic Information Systems laboratory and procured modern survey equipment to support county spatial planning and automation of public land records.
In light of the recent Siaya Municipal Board that we formed, the World Bank, through the Kenya Urban Support Programme (KUSP), has granted the County up to Ksh299 million for urban institutional set-up to support infrastructural development in the county’s urban areas. Urban renewal is key to good image of the county.
Tourism and Sports
To promote tourism, sports and culture, my government has initiated the construction of Ramogi Heritage Centre in Ramogi location where the community members from the neighbouring counties of Migori, Homa Bay and Kisumu assemble to celebrate their common uniqueness.
Annually, we host the Got Ramogi Cultural Festival to inspire the Luo heritage and reflect on our past as a people. Together with the Ramogi Cultural Festival, we have continued to organise and support Migwena Cultural Festival, during which members participate in cultural extravaganzas, such as boat racing and preparation of traditional cuisines.
Through Mausoleum and Museum of first Vice-President of Kenya Jaramogi Oginga Odinga at Kang’o ka Jaramogi in Bondo, we have been able to preserve and protect our contribution as a community to the struggle for self-rule in Kenya.
To nature sports talent across the region, we are well on course in the construction of a 20,000-seater Siaya County Stadium.
We are also upgrading Migwena Stadium and Pap Kado playground to nature grassroots sports talents too. The maintenance of Uhembo, Muhondo, Nyilima and Bondo Complex, are among the investments we are making. This is in addition to making of at least two sports grounds in each of the 30 wards in the county.
The improvement of Akala Stadium, Nyilima playground, Musembe Sports Ground, Mahaya Stadium and Nyangera have rejuvenated our young men to take sports even more seriously.
Enterprise and Industrial Development
Our efforts at rehabilitating local business and cooperative societies have born fruits too. The registration of 75 co-operative societies, for example, with a total of over 10,000 members so far, has led to the accumulation of share capital estimated at Ksh370 million doing rounds among our people.
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