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News Highlights (196)

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Friday, 09 October 2020 06:23

Launch of Isiolo youth Innovation Center

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Council of Governors chairman Wycliffe Ambesta oparanya on Thursday, 18th October, 2020 commissioned Isiolo Youth empowerment Centre.
Accompanied by Isiolo Governor Mohamed Kuti, Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, U.K Deputy High Commissioner for Kenya Julius Court, Kenya School of Government Director Professor Ludeki and Kenya Film Classification Board Chairman Dr.Ezekiel Mutua leaders visited Isiolo Stadium, the Modern Market before the launch of the Youth Empowerment Centre.
Hundreds of youths are set to benefit from the pioneer youth innovation centre in Kenya that has been established courtesy of Partnership between the County Government, Kenya School of Government and other development partners such as United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Department For International Development (DFID) and the Norwegian Embassy. Electronics giant Huawei will also provide internet connectivity for use at the centre.The Centre encompasses an ICT cyberspace with a computer lab where young people thinking about using the internet to eke a livelihood will receive training on mobile and computer applications, and will also provide a platform for youths interested in innovations, while those in the entertainment industry will also receive training in film making to enable them fully exploit their talents to earn a living.
Isiolo Governor Mohamed Kuti said that the centre will go a long way towards dealing with the challenge of unemployment among the youth, which has been identified as a major reason why many young people are lured into violent extremism and radicalization as well as other harmful practices such as drug and substance abuse.Governor Kuti made assurances that the recruitment exercise for beneficiaries will ensure a fair chance for both genders as well as people with disability, calling upon local youths to exercise patience as the innovation centre cannot handle all the interested youths at once. He said that the centre will only handle 50 youths at a go, with those completing their free courses paving the way for another group of fifty youths.
Also in attendance were Huawei Kenya CEO Mr. Adam Lane and CAS

Sunday, 04 October 2020 11:56

COG - SENATE ICT COMMITTEE CONSULTATIVE MEETING

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The Council of Governors committee on Information and Technology on 29th September appeared before the Senate Standing committee on ICT for a consultative meeting on several issues in the ICT sector at the County Level.

Speaking during the virtual meeting, H.E Governor Ndiritu Muriithi – a member of the ICT committee told the senate of the important role that ICT has played in the Counties and especially during the COVID19 period. “ICT is a backbone for our day to day business and has helped us (County Governments) to continue offering services to the people despite the restrictions on gatherings and physical meetings due to the ongoing pandemic. It is because of ICT that we are able to meet here today,” said the Laikipia Governor.

Governor Ndiritu also reiterated the importance of data use for decision making in the Counties. However, data collected and available in the Counties today may sometimes not be very dependable for decision making due to the fact that Kenya National Bureau of Statistics is still a Nairobi based institution. In his remarks, he proposed that KNBS presence in the Counties needs to be improved and the data available need to be ICT based for easier interpretation and consumption.

Through the Ministry of ICT, the National Government has laid the National Optic Fibre Backbone (NOFBI) throughout the 47 Counties. The NOFBI project was aimed at ensuring connectivity in all the 47 counties of Kenya. The implementation of the project aims to ease communication across counties as well as improve government service delivery to the citizens. Phase 1 of the project was completed in 2009 and established a National Optic Fibre Backbone Infrastructure with access points in most of the district headquarters and some border towns.

To this end, the NOFBI project has reached the 47 Counties, however, some Counties are still experiencing challenges with the project including connectivity and damaged infrastructure. The Senate Committee meeting was aimed at identifying the challenges faced by individual County Governments and design interventions that would ensure that the National backbone is put into good use. Further, through the meeting, the Council of Governors briefed Senator Gideon Moi who is also the chair of the Senate committee on the County ICT interventions during the COVID 19 period. County interventions during this period have ensured that the Counties Governments continue to run during the COVID19 period.

While making his submission on behalf of the Council of Governors, Governor Professor Anyang’ Nyong’o outlined the many interventions made by County Governments during the COVID 19 period as well as the gaps that need to be addressed. “As County Governments we moved fast to ensure that services were still being offered to residents. All County Governments have set up County hotline numbers for reporting and contact tracing of COVID patients. We are leveraging bulk SMS and social media as well as electronic media platforms to share critical information with the people,” Said the Kisumu County boss. “However, we still have a myriad of challenges that are making us not to fully depend on ICT based solutions in our day to day activities and running of County Governments.

These challenges include, lack of proper legislation, lack of capacity and training among staff among others,” added Governor Nyong’o. In his proposal to cure the existing gaps on ICT at the Counties, H.E Pro. Anyang’ Nyongo has proposed to the Senate Committee the consideration to devolve the ICT Authority that will ensure availability of relevant ICT skills and personnel in every County. This will boost the County skill set and development of ICT solutions that can be used in revenue collection, data collection and management as well as capacity building on ICT at the County level.

The Senate Standing committee is expected to communicate to the Council of Governors on the way forward, complete with an intervention work plan in a week’s time.

Sunday, 04 October 2020 11:51

National COVID-19 conference

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“The primary purpose here is to look at lessons learnt as well as best practices but fundamentally ask ourselves whether we organized our resources in the most optimal way and whether we have mechanisms of ploughing back lessons learnt for future undertakings,” said President Uhuru Kenyatta today as he opened the 12th National Covid-19 Conference at the Kenyatta Intercontinental Convention Centre (KICC) in Nairobi.
The conference was attended by County Governors led by the CoG Chairman H.E. Wycliffe Oparanya, Cabinet Secretaries, Senior government officials as well as stakeholders, in an aim to take stock of the government’s response to the COVID19 pandemic and advise on new measures.
In his remarks, the Head of State urged all participants to take stock of all the measures taken since March when the first case was confirmed in the country, so as to determine the way forward.
“For the last six months, the country has been in a ‘Season of Paradox’. Since March this year, when we recorded the first COVID-19 case, it became necessary to shut down the economy in order to save it. We had to avoid our loved ones, especially the elderly, because we care for their health and cherish their wisdom. And, it became necessary to withdraw our children from schools in order to secure their future. All this, was a paradox – a conflict between the ‘new normal’; and what we think the ‘normal’ should be’, said President Kenyatta
Uhuru called upon on all Kenyans to be realistic and to keenly evaluate the measures put in place by the government and see if they are effective in controlling the spread of COVID-19
“Today, however, we face an even greater paradox. As we flatten the Corona Curve, it may appear like victory, is on sight. Yes, the COVID positivity rate has fallen from 13% in June, 7% in August and is now at 4.4% in September. With these figures, we can be tempted to celebrate, more so because we are now below the 5% positivity rate recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for re-opening” said President Kenyatta.
Speaking on behalf of the County Governments, CoG Chairman H.E Wycliffe Oparanya lauded the partnership between the National government and the Counties in terms of fighting the pandemic despite the challenges between the two.
“Over the last six (6) months, County Governments in tackling the prevention, control and management of the pandemic have learnt a number of lessons from what worked and what did not work and the challenges that still confront us. One key lesson is that in times of crisis you have no choice but to stick together. The pandemic brought the two levels of government closer and this should be the way to relate always”, said Oparanya.
In regards to a recovery plan, Governor Oparanya stated that the County Governments had developed the County COVID-19 Socio-economic Re-engineering Recovery Strategy which would be subsequently be rolled out to Counties for implementation upon its launch. The Council of Governors would be tasked to ensure that this Recovery Plan is mainstreamed into the County Integrated Development Plans (CIDPs).
“This document should help assist Counties to reengineer government processes in the face of the COVID challenges and begin to address the socio-economic gaps and challenges that have emerged. Indeed, it will be an integral document as County Governments embark on preparation of Annual Development plans and County Budgets for the Financial Year 2021/22” , he concluded.
The National COVID 19 Conference follows immediately after the County Governments COVID 19 virtual conference that was held on 31st August 2020 under the theme County Governments resilience in the COVID19 era: Reflecting on the past and building sustainability for the future.

 

The Council of Governors, Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA), County Governments, researchers, development partners, and sector stakeholders has developed the County COVID-19 Re-Engineering and Recovery Strategy 2020/21-2022/23 that embeds the principles of response, recovery and thriving. The Strategy aims at boosting Counties’ economies by leveraging on five pillars:
• Boosting private sector activity;
• Policy, legislatives, and institutional reforms;
• Strengthening County Government’s preparedness and response to pandemics and disasters;
• Enhancing Information Communication Technology (ICT) capacity for business continuity; and
• Investing in human resource development.
The COVID 19 pandemic has affected negatively most sectors of the economy. Many people have lost jobs, development has been affected while the general economy has failed to grow as projected due to the effects of the pandemic. The health sector of the County, which is a devolved function in Kenya has been hit hard despite the gains that have been made as part of the COVID 19 response.
The pandemic highlights the need to promote innovations and adopt modern technologies in the path to enhancing self-reliance. The Kenyan youth have shown the capability to adapt with innovations to help in responding to the pandemic. Youth have come out to develop ventilators, ICU beds among other commodities with locally available materials. The Government has since nurtured some of these talents by procuring the locally made commodities to promote the local talent as opposed to importing them. “It takes our commitment as government to nurture innovations by re-energizing our institutions of technical training, science, technology and engineering to maintain the momentum for innovation to the level of being commercialized. This also presents an opportunity for our research and policy institutions to relook at the kind of innovation model the country and counties require in economic transformation.” Coins Governor Nyong’o who is a member of the steering committee on the development of the strategy.
With the development of the recovery strategy, another 47 County specific strategies have been developed and will be launched together with the generic strategy that will guide individual Counties towards recovery during and post COVID 19.

Sunday, 04 October 2020 11:22

Financing climate action

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“Our action on climate change is urgent, the more we delay, the more we will pay in lives and money,” said Ban Ki-moon, Former Secretary-General of the United Nations.
The issue of climate change is one that has been undermined for long. As more years go by, the more the climate change impacts continue to ravage the globe.
Kenya is one of the countries that have registered adverse effects of climate change, this especially in Counties, a common case was Budalangi area in Busia County for instance is reknown for being flood prone. Lake Baringo, Nakuru, Turkana are the other areas notorious for flooding and in fact, currently, their water levels are rising displacing thousands of people and destroying hard- earned property. The other recent and notable case of climate change effects was the West Pokot one in 2019 where flash floods caused massive landslides causing major havoc. The Eastern counties are also known for being drought- prone. It has caused hunger, which has caused deaths of many people and at the same time impeding efforts to attain food security.
Truly, the effects of climate change are not just slanted on the environment side but are cross- cutting. It has had effects on the food security and poverty reduction efforts, availability of water, health, built environment and so on. It has also shaken up the economy as a lot of money has had to be used to mitigate the effects. With devolution, such counties were supposed to have reported many success stories but the effects of climate change have slowed development.
In light of this, the efforts to build resilience to adaptive capacities of Kenyan communities to the effects of climate change are being boosted. The Word Bank program on Financing Locally Led Climate Action (FLLLCA) is one such seeks to support the Government of Kenya in strengthening local resilience to the impact of climate change, natural hazards, and other shocks/stressors by building capacity to plan, implement and monitor resilience investments in partnership with county governments and communities. This will be achieved through capitalizing on the National Climate Change Fund and subsequent County Climate Change Funds, building county level capacity for planning and implementation of local climate action and strengthening national level capacity for coordination, monitoring and reporting.
The Programme will be implemented at the National and county level to support the enablers as outlined in the National Climate Change Action Plan and is organized along the policy, legal and regulatory framework for climate change , capacity building, decentralized financing, community led actions, technology and innovation and measuring climate results components.
The County readiness assessments for the Programme for the North Rift, Lake region, South Eastern Kenya and Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani Blocs have been concluded. The readiness assessments are meant to determine the status of County Governments in enacting relevant climate change laws and the County climate change fund mechanism which are minimum access conditions for fund access.

 

Sunday, 04 October 2020 11:00

Kisumu to host Africities summit 2021

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On 25th of September, 2020 a multi-agency committee involving state and county officials was inaugurated to prepare for the Africicties Summit 2021 that will be held in Kisumu County. This comes after successful negotiations held in 2018in Marrakech Morocco. Among those involved in the preparations are officials from the ministries of Devolution, Interior, Treasury, Foreign Affairs, Transport, ICT, Housing and Urban Planning and the Council of Governors.
The event that is set to take place in Mamboleo showground will be a platform to grow not only Kisumu County but also the entire Lake Region Economic Bloc and Kenya at large. According to the Kisumu County Governor, the Summit will place Kisumu in the world map. He said Kisumu's accommodation and meeting facilities are almost sufficient. “There are 4,961 decent beds in the city and about 9,866 others in the region”, Governor Nyong'o said.
Devolution CS Wamalwa during the signing of the MoU to host the Africities Conference in Kisumu noted the summit will be very beneficial to the Kisumu County Government as it will boost its efforts in elevation of Kisumu City to an International City. He further pinpointed that it will be a great platform to share Kenya’s devolution story. “The hosting of the Summit in Kisumu provides Kenya with an opportunity to share our experiences in implementing the devolved system of government. The adoption of devolution by Kenya through the 2010 Constitution presented a unique opportunity to empower our sub national governments, including cities and municipalities, to improve on service delivery and respond to the aspirations of their citizens”, said the CS.
Africities is the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa's (UCLG- Africa) flagship pan-African event that is held every three years in one of the five regions of Africa. It focuses on the need for Local Africa to learn, promote and present a new approach to sustainable development. It is premised upon SDGs 11 –sustainable cities and communities which seeks to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable and the need to address challenges that hamper the realization of UN’s 2063 Agenda.
As Jane Jacob would say, “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” The importance of this summit cannot be gainsaid as it seeks to address development and urban renewal of African cities. The last Africities Summit was held in 2018 in Marrakech, Morocco. The next, which is the 9th edition, will be in Kenya, Kisumu County from the 16th to 20th November, 2021. This will be the second time Kenya is hosting the Summit as it held its first one in 2006. The summit is expected to host around 8,500 delegates from all over the globe. Kisumu will be the first intermediary city, aside from the main cities to host the summit.
The Kisumu County Government as a host has kick started preparations to for the summit. Major revamping is being done around the city. Governor H.E Anyang’ Nyong’o has assured that he is working closely with the National Government to ensure the fruition of the summit. The Governor noted that the pandemic partly slowed the process but appreciated that there is still enough time to plan. “The Covid- 19 will not dampen our commitment to host the summit. We already have planning committees in place and we have enough time to plan. We shall deliver a successful event”, he concluded.

 

 

By the end of 26th May 2020, Kenya had recorded 1,348 cases of COVID-19 since the first case was reported in March 2020. Fifty-three people had succumbed to the disease. The Kenyan government led by the President has put in place containment measures related to mobility, physical distancing, targeted mass testing, quarantine and isolation centres among other initiatives. Counties have invested extensively in implementing these measures including re-focusing resources to strengthen the healthcare system to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 transmission mitigation measures e.g. curfew and travel restrictions may ultimately place vulnerable people seeking health care services at greater risk. Analysis of the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak suggests that the increased number of deaths caused by measles, malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis attributable to health system failures, exceeded deaths from Ebola. Special groups such as pregnant women, children and people living with disabilities, people with chronic illnesses and older people may experience an increased interruption of care caused by COVID-19, leading to high morbidity and mortality in the Country.

Essential services include, but are not limited to:
• Emergency outpatient care- management of injuries
• Critical inpatient services including for emergency surgical procedures
• Emergency surgeries, eye and dental procedures
• Antenatal, Maternity, contraception and postnatal services
• Nutrition -Management of acute malnutrition among children under five and pregnant and lactating women.
• Vaccines and Immunization services
• Child health services including growth monitoring, follow-up for chronic condition and treatment of illnesses commonly affecting children such as malaria
• Monitoring, Provision of medication for chronic non-communicable diseases such as Diabetes, Hypertension and mental health conditions
• Cancer treatment, renal dialysis
• Auxiliary services, such as basic diagnostic imaging, laboratory services, and blood bank services

County governments have put in places several measures to ensure uninterrupted provision of essential health services. Some of these are highlighted below:

Infection Control and Prevention Measures
• Hand washing points in all health facilities
• Use of sanitizers
• Consistent use of face masks
• Keeping safe distance (at least 2M) in all health care settings
• Reducing visitors to hospitals
• Frequent cleaning and disinfection of surfaces, equipment and floors at health facilities
• Safe disposal of wastes at the health facilities is done. Medical waste is disinfected then incinerated

Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (RMNCH)
• All persons are screened for COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) including temperature check at the entrance to the health facility
• Antenatal Care (ANC) services are offered uninterrupted
• All patients wear masks
• Baseline investigations for co-morbidities are done
• Patient education on both pregnancy and COVID-19 is done
• All clients are evaluated for extended prescriptions where applicable
• Public education on Gender Based Violence (GBV), communication of hotlines for GBV and services for GBV are prioritized
• All children with respiratory tract symptoms are kept at least six feet away from other children
• Children with in-drawing pneumonia are prioritized for COVID-19 testing
• Health workers with respiratory tract illness (regardless of COVID-19 status) are exempted from duties in Newborn Units
• Infants and caregivers coming for immunization services are triaged for possible exposure and appropriately directed to a point of care
• Community Health Workers are deployed to mobilize caregivers to continue seeking immunization services

Nutrition Services
• Caregivers of children who are above one (1) year are encouraged to continue monitoring their children’s’ weight and should they notice that their children are losing weight or adding no weight at all, should visit the nearest health facility for checkup
• Routine screening for malnutrition is continuing at Out Patient Departments (OPD) with strict adherence to Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) procedures and protocols
• Rations per beneficiary are organized ahead of the scheduled distribution
• Extend the number of days are given for Out-patient Therapeutic Care (OTP) services, depending on the usual number of clients and capacity of the health facility (space, available human resource etc.), with an objective of ensuring no contact between clients and crowding at OTP sites
• 4-week OTP rations are provided for children with Severe Acute Malnutrition, and CHVs are assigned for home follow-up

Chronic Illnesses e.g. hypertension, diabetes, HIV
• Continued screening for chronic illnesses is done at health facilities
• Tele-health is done where applicable
• Multi-month drug dispensing when possible
• Models have been adopted that assist service delivery e.g. follow up of clients through mobile phone such as m-shwari
• All patients being evaluated for respiratory illnesses such as Pneumonia, Asthma, COPD, Tuberculosis are also evaluated for COVID-19
• Clients at risk of poor compliance and complications of chronic diseases are enabled to access medication, accompanied by constant follow-ups

Mental Health
• There may be a lot of clients seeking mental health services, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is currently access to telephone counseling through the 719/1190 contact for the general public as well as health workers who are affected by the pandemic. These services are linked to county facilities where emergency psychiatric services are available to clients
• Multi-month dispensing for psychiatric patients where possible

County Governments continue to put more effort in the fight against COVID 19 by refocusing resources and mobilizing more resources from development partners and well-wishers in the Counties. These efforts are meant to ensure that the health system is not overwhelmed by the pandemic. County Governments also continue to encourage residents not to shy from seeking the much required health services for fear of contracting COVID 19 as proper measures have been put in place in all health centres and health workers skilled through training with the necessary skills to deal with the pandemic.

As of May 26th, 2020, WHO has reported 5,688,516 confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally, with 351,272 deaths. In Africa, there are 115,616 reported cases with 3,479 deaths.
Kenya has recorded 1,348 confirmed cases of COVID out of 64,264 tests conducted, with 405 recovered patients and 53 deaths. 79% of the cases are asymptomatic - show no symptoms at confirmation.
Covid19 cases are spread across 29 counties with the highest prevalence in Mombasa and Nairobi counties with 425 and 660 cases respectively. These Counties have also recorded the highest attack rates of COVID-19 at 35.2 and 15 per 100,000 populations for Mombasa and Nairobi respectively when compared to 2.8 per 100,000 for the whole country and need enhanced interventions.
It is in this light that Mombasa County has invested in various measures aimed at curbing further spread of the virus led by His Excellency Governor Ali Hassan Joho. Within the last two months, the County Government has refurbished the Raimtullah private and Lady Grig Maternity wings at Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital as isolation units with 19 and 150 bed capacity respectively. This is in addition to a 300-bed capacity treatment centre at the Technical University of Mombasa. The Governor also launched four ICU ambulances dedicated to Covid19 response. This aimed at improving the Counties capacity in the event of increased numbers that need hospitalization.
To reduce transmission during testing, the county has earlier in the week, launched 19 contact-free testing booths to protect the health care workers as well as those who are being tested. The booths are designed with a transparent barrier that allows the health care worker to get the specimen required for the test without direct physical contact. The booths are distributed in 6 testing sites in the county.
All the investments done in Mombasa County have been achieved through collaborative efforts between Mombasa County; National Government, private sector and Non-governmental organizations.

Since the onset of COVID- 19, many countries globally have been adversely affected. As this pandemic continues to manifest and encroach further into various Countries, many sectors of the economy are consequently being shaken. The Natural resource and distinctly the water sector is one such sector feeling the strain and can’t be downplayed in this fight against the pandemic.
Kenya for instance has had challenges in the water sector even before this pandemic transpired. The need to strengthen the Water, sanitization and hygiene (WASH) systems has been made even more apparent in the wake of the Coronavirus. It is against this background that an emergency response virtual meeting was held on 19th of May 2020 between the County Governors and Water and Sanitation (WATSAN) Development Partners to canvass the WASH challenges being experienced during this pandemic.
H.E Tunai, Chairman of the Natural resource committee at the Council of Governors thanked the partners for their support in this way while stating the significance of strengthened WASH systems in this fight. “I want to thank you all for turning up for this meeting and above all for your inclination towards walking with the counties in this fight. As we are all aware, simple hygiene is one of the most powerful weapons in the fight against this pandemic and therefore strengthening the WASH systems is a sure way of flattening the curve”.
Excellency Governors expressed concerns over challenges that water utilities have faced in coping with protocols and guidelines issued to water companies. It was noted that the electricity bills are accumulating, chemicals for water treatment still remain a challenge to counties, the flooding situation which has adversely disrupted supply in Counties around the lake region and also diminished livelihoods in areas like Tana River County and the other areas.
The development partners were in total agreement with the fact that the WASH sector might be the one sector that will help reduce the Corona Virus cases significantly since most of this fight is about proper hygiene management( regular hand washing, drinking clean water and cleaning of surfaces etc.) The partners among them USAID, UNICEF, African Development Bank, World Bank, Netherlands Embassy, KFW reiterated that whilst this sector is the one critical sectors in this time, it was not very well established in the counties.
In view of the challenges, partners present during the meeting underscored their various courses of action in response to WASH COVID-19 crisis. Reviewing budgets for ongoing projects to support the WASH COVID -19 responses is one such way.UNICEF noted that they have procured water treatment chemicals that Counties can have access to through the Council of Governors.
As a way forward from the meeting therefore, the Council of Governors secretariat was directed to make a request to UNICEF for water treatment chemicals, the subgroup of development partners will meet weekly and this will enable them to consolidate support to Counties which will be presented to the larger group which is the Governors and the WATSAN development partners and that the council will appeal for review of electricity tariffs.

Wash hands. Stay home. Keep social distance. We shall overcome.

“To be able to effectively handle the COVID- 19 and its effects, we should look at it holistically, and that means take into consideration all the sectors including the gender function which is equally adversely affected’’, said one of the County directors as he gave his remarks during the County Directors of gender meeting. The meeting was held to deliberate on GBV initiatives during COVID-19. “We have a tendency to take other areas seriously and forget the social bit. Gender is equally important and should be taken seriously,’’ he continued.
The gender sector has not been left behind in as far as the Covid- 19 pandemic has ravaged. Currently, there is increased domestic violence cases throughout the counties sprouting from the fact that families have to stay indoors together for as long as the curfews, the cessation of movement and the work from home directive will last. Defilement cases are also on the rise during this period which has also seen an escalation in teenage pregnancies.
Government’s dusk to dawn curfew has had a negative effect on infant and maternal mortality rate. Expectant mothers are facing many challenges when they need medical services past curfew hours. This has brought adverse challenges. The County Director of Gender for Nakuru noted with utmost concern the effects of all these on expectant mothers while highlighting the plight of a street girl who delivered on the streets during curfew hours. The homeless and the street families pose a great challenge to the authorities since they have nowhere to go in this very critical time when they should be indoors in obedience to the curfew directive. They are also at high risk of infecting each other since they are mostly in groups and don’t have proper information on how to act around this pandemic.
In light of this, various Counties have come up with various interventions that can help salvage these gender-based issues. During an interview with the Council of Governors knowledge management Unit – the Maarifa Centre, on the 27th of May, 2020, Mombasa County Gender Director, Esther Ingolo, shared their interventions during this period including the launching of a toll-free number where victims can call in to be helped at any time owing to the fact that Mombasa has been hit by many issues of GBV in the past.
During this pandemic, however, the Gender team at the County noted that the GBV cases were low. Digging further, it was discovered that people would rather call gender-based individual organizations rather than go to the GBV rescue centre at the County which is situated at Coast General Hospital for fear of Contacting Covid- 19. People wouldn’t go to the police either because of the social distancing directive that would limit them especially past the curfew hours.
It was for this reason that the County was prompted to launch a toll-free number with the help of partners in their gender technical working groups which has since been publicized through local radio stations and roadshows. A situation room that’s fully dedicated to handling GBV cases was set up, where the calls are received with a dedicated workforce of about 10 people. The toll free number is linked to several extensions so that at no given time should a call be missed. The situation has since changed as more victims now call in and they are helped. They also come to the situation room where they hold private talks with officers and are helped accordingly.
Other measures put in place by the County Government of Mombasa include the establishment of a strong and active multi-sectoral technical working groups, the establishment of GBV- rescue centres and safe houses, use of community health workers to offer guided counselling services in households among others.
While all of these are working for the good of the people of Mombasa, Mrs. Esther stated that the journey has not been devoid of challenges including lack of enough funding from the County at this time since there’s more focus with in the fight against the Corona Virus, non- reporting especially by male victims, overcrowding of rescue centres such that some of the survivors may not be taken in, unwillingness of the victims to stay in the safe places among others.
The recommendations according to their journey therefore that can be replicated by the rest of the counties including need to have psycho- social assistants for the victims, ensuring there is full stakeholder participation with representations from many sectors, GBV hotspot areas in counties should be mapped out so that when resources are being consolidated, high priority is given to them, when counties develop hotline numbers, they should tell citizens that its only for gender issues since citizens have a tendency of calling to ask for other things, counties need to collaborate to ensure they are on the same level in fighting GBV cases, as well as publicize the toll free number well.
Wash your hands. Stay home. Observe social distancing. We shall overcome.

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