Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) teachers in Homa Bay County have a reason to smile after the outgoing administration reviewed their contracts for better terms, 10 years after they were employed by the county government.
Some 1,417 teachers received new contracts, making them permanent and pensionable employees with higher salaries.
Homa Bay is one of the first counties to put its ECDE teachers on new contracts, with Governor Cyprian Awiti describing it as a milestone in his administration.
Since he was elected in 2013, the teachers had been pushing for better terms of service.
Most of them could not access bank loans because they did not have documents to act as security in banks.
Mr Awiti attributed the delays to several factors, including a fight between the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and the Teachers Service Commission (TSC).
In 2014, Knut had a standoff with the TSC on which level of government, county or national, should employ ECDE teachers.
"Concerned bodies like the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, Teachers Service Commission and the Council of Governors had to approve the new terms. There were some delays but we have finally achieved it," Mr Awiti said.
He said the breakthrough would form part of his legacy as he retires after serving two consecutive terms that are allowed in the Constitution.
"I will retire knowing that I have not offended anyone," he said.
Mr Awiti spoke on Tuesday afternoon when he presided at an event where he issued letters to teachers.
He told the teachers that their salaries had been increased commensurate with their level of education.
"We have teachers who have furthered their education and we have factored in all that. Salaries will be paid according to their level of education,” he said.
Acting County Secretary Prof Donald Ogweno said the conversion will be of great benefit to the teachers as they will be able to benefit from attractive pension schemes.
He told the teachers to enrol in pension schemes that will help them grow as individuals now that they are permanent employees of the Homa Bay County government.
"Access to loans and other financial services from banks and cooperative societies will now be easy," Prof Ogweno said.