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Tuesday, 09 April 2024 04:56

Stronger Together: Delivering the Strategy

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The Council of Governors (CoG) secretariat held its semi-annual review for the FY 2023/24 on 26th – 27th March at the Sarova Woodlands in Nakuru County. The purpose of the meeting was to reflect on the achievements for the first half of the year, to inform end-of-year planning and the strategic plan implementation process.
Further, the meeting was aimed at assessing the implementation of the CoG strategic plan 2022-27 and key initiatives to determine organizational performance against set objectives and targets, recognizing obstacles hindering progress and developing strategies to effectively address them; and, ensuring ongoing activities align with the strategic plan, identifying areas for improvement to achieve long-term objectives.
Speaking during the meeting, the CEO CoG Mary Mwiti congratulated all staff for the roles they played to ensure devolution is a success in Kenya. She encouraged all staff to work diligently and sacrificially to ensure that the organization succeeds.
Further, the CEO rallied everyone to work as a team under the guiding theme Stronger Together: Delivering the Strategy. Under this theme, there are six thematic areas dubbed the 6Ss. These are: Shift to safeguarding devolution, Strengthening CoG brand in Counties, Strong institution, Solid knowledge management, strengthening resource mobilization and partnerships; and, Strengthened staff welfare.
To this end, the Council of Governors has achieved commendable overall performance, with a significant improvement in strategic plan implementation of 8.49% up from 4%. However, this has not come without its fair share of challenges. Key among them is the non-implementation of resolutions by key stakeholders, such as the Ministry of Health, eroding progress and cooperation essential for success. Moreover, the claw-back on devolved functions by the National Government introduces uncertainty and disrupts governance processes at the local level, further complicating implementation efforts.
Addressing these multifaceted challenges will require comprehensive strategies and concerted efforts between the Council of Governors and other institutions including the National Ministries, Development partners, Civil Society Organizations and the Private Sector among other stakeholders.
The recommendations will collectively present an all-inclusive approach to enhancing the effectiveness and responsiveness of the organization in navigating complex challenges and opportunities.

Gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls are the key priority areas that took center stage as Governors joined other leaders, civil society organizations, academia and delegates from across the globe in New York for the 68th annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68), held from 11th- 22nd March 2024.
The CSW68 accorded an opportunity for governments, including Kenya, to showcase and benchmark on the interventions undertaken and gains made in line with the event’s theme, “Accelerating the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective”.
Speaking during a side event organized by the Permanent Mission of Mauritania in New York,
the Region of Nouakchott and United Cities and Local Governments on the Local and Regional governments Day, Council of Governors (CoG) Chair H.E Anne Waiguru noted that County Governments have invested heavily in programmes aimed at empowering women to ensure economic inclusion and gender equality.
“In this regard, devolved units have adopted a multifaceted approach and undertaken programmes cutting across various sectors. Some of the interventions by Counties include: mainstreaming gender into their development plans and budgets, establishment of economic empowerment funds and programs, increasing access to resources and financial assets, vocational training programs to enhance skills in key sectors women participate in and mentorship for entrepreneurship and leadership,” added Governor Waiguru.
Her Embu counterpart H.E Cecily Mbarire further gave insights and presented the Kenyan context on fostering women’s political participation for equitable and strong public institutions that enhance efficient and effective service delivery to the citizenry.
In line with the CSW68 theme, CoG hosted a side event themed ‘Leveraging Health Investments for Poverty Alleviation and Improved Maternal Outcomes’. The side event sought to showcase how the Kenyan Government has implemented strategies to address poverty among women and girls by strengthening health institutions for sustainable poverty alleviation. The event also aimed at exploring potential partnerships with other countries, donors, and partners who share the same vision.
The side event, which drew participants drawn from Africa, America, and Europe, brought on board panelists that included women Governors, representatives from the National and County Governments, UNICEF South Africa, MOMENTUM Safe Surgery in Family Planning and Obstetrics Project and Health Options Global among others.
“Healthy mothers actively engage in the workforce, and contribute more to the economy, their household security and stability. We must deliberately invest in maternal health and poverty alleviation for sustainable development. It is not just the humanitarian imperative but also a strategic investment in Kenya's socio-economic development,” noted H.E Gladys Wanga during the session.
Further, in partnership with Oxfam USA, the Council held the G7 strategy launch event in New York in a bid to mobilize resources for the implementation. This event was preceded by an official launch ceremony presided over by H.E President William Ruto in Nairobi on 7th March 2024. The G7 strategy aims to not only empower and support the seven female governors in demonstrating efficient and strategic governance within the devolved structures, but also facilitate their re-election and transition into other leadership positions and further, mentor other women leaders.
Key resolutions arising from the CSW68 include: Improving access to maternal healthcare for vulnerable populations by increasing health funding and bridging the gap in healthcare investment, especially to meet the Abuja summit target of allocating 15% of annual budgets to health; Need to promote initiatives that provide quality and equal employment opportunities for women, addressing disparities in earnings and ensuring women have access to higher-quality jobs; In order to provide equal opportunities to improve women's status in society, inclusive laws, policies, and strategies need to be put in place; It is crucial for governments to continue investing in and expanding publicly funded healthcare programs like Linda Mama to ensure continued improvement in maternal health outcomes; Adopt a standardized, cost-effective and consistent approach to measure and report maternal morbidity similar to the methods used in tracking maternal deaths; Need to strengthen Primary Healthcare Services in order to actualize Universal healthcare by motivating the healthcare workers.

 

Governors have asked striking doctors to resume work to ensure uninterrupted health service delivery to all Kenyans as negotiations continue.
Addressing the press following an extra-ordinary Council meeting held on 27th March 2024 in Nairobi, Council of Governors (CoG) Chair H.E Anne Waiguru noted that the nationwide strike had paralysed essential services across public hospitals leaving patients frustrated and forced to seek services elsewhere.
“We call upon the doctors who are still on strike to go back to work, pursuant to the court orders issued on 13th March 2024 and 15th March 2024, failure to which the respective County Governments who are the employers, will be at liberty to take appropriate disciplinary action,” added Governor Waiguru while calling upon the National Government, County Governments and medics to work towards resolving the matter amicably.
While the Kenya Medical, Pharmacist and Dentist Union (KMPDU) issued their strike notice on 6th March, 2024, the failure to obey the 13th March 2024 court orders directing that the strike be delayed portends a lack of goodwill, a situation which has led to an impasse between the relevant parties.
Key issues raised by medics include: Delayed posting of interns; Extension of contracts for UHC staff; Payment of fees for doctors on postgraduate training; Payment of arrears of basic salaries as per the 2017 CBA and; Provision of comprehensive medical Insurance.
Outlining measures taken to address these concerns, Governors noted that Counties have progressively made efforts to ensure that medical practitioners are adequately remunerated. However, the CBA signed by the National Government and County Governments was not funded to implement the proposed salaries. Unions were advised to negotiate the new CBA with the individual County Governments.
Additionally, the Ministry of Health (MOH) was urged to extend the contracts of UHC staff for a period of three years under the same terms and conditions in line with the Summit resolution. Similarly, MOH should ensure timely payment of fees for doctors on post-graduate training to allow them to complete their studies within the stipulated time.
On the delayed posting of interns, the County bosses noted that it was the prerogative of National Government hence the doctors should seek redress on the same with the relevant parties.
The underfunding of the health sector, despite it being a fully devolved function, has greatly impeded the delivery of health services at the County level. Counties have demonstrated their commitment to addressing this persistent issue with at least 30% of the total allocation being set aside for the health sector.
Governors cited delays in exchequer releases by the National Treasury as one of the reasons for delays in payment of salaries further adding that the matter was not just an individual County or health sector issue alone but one that cuts across board and affects all county employees. This notwithstanding, Counties have put measures in place to mitigate these delays and ensure the smooth running of operations in devolved units.
The Council of Governors reiterates its commitment to address the doctors’ concerns and honor the call to serve for the benefit of all Kenyans.

From the local to the global level, women are significantly underrepresented in political participation and leadership. As such, achieving gender parity is a tall order with the UN Women estimating that it will take approximately 130 years to achieve gender equality in the highest positions of political leadership.
In a groundbreaking move towards advancing inclusive governance and economic empowerment, H.E President William Ruto joined forces with the seven women governors to officially launch the G7 Strategy.
This strategy seeks to empower and support women leaders to demonstrate efficient, transformative and strategic governance at the County level.
The launch ceremony, held on Thursday, 7th March 2024 at Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi, was a momentous occasion attended by government officials, development partners, civil society leaders, private sector and representatives from various sectors. The collaborative effort between the President and the seven women governors underscored a commitment to advancing women’s political participation and representation.
President Ruto, in his address, emphasized the significance of the G7 Strategy in advancing Kenya's socio-economic agenda. He highlighted the critical role of women in nation-building and stressed the need for concerted efforts to eliminate barriers hindering their full participation in various spheres of life.
"As a nation, we cannot afford to overlook the immense talent and potential that our women possess. I commit my unwavering commitment to promoting gender equality and creating an environment where every Kenyan, regardless of gender, can thrive and contribute meaningfully to our collective prosperity," said the President. The president further committed to support the passage and enactment of legislation to actualize the two-thirds gender rule that was long overdue.
The seven women Governors, echoed the President's sentiments and expressed their enthusiasm for spearheading initiatives aimed at empowering women and marginalized communities.
Governor Anne Waigiru who doubles up as the Council of Governors (CoG) Chairperson underscored the role of education and skills development in unlocking the potential of Kenyan youth, particularly young women. She affirmed, "Education is the key to unlocking opportunities and empowering individuals to realize their aspirations. Through the G7 Strategy, we are committed to expanding access to quality education and vocational training, ensuring that every young Kenyan has the tools they need to succeed."
Governor Gladys Wanga on her part emphasized the importance of collaborative governance in driving sustainable development. She stated, "The G7 Strategy marks a new era of cooperation and solidarity among leaders at both the national and regional levels. Together, we will work tirelessly to address the unique challenges faced by women and marginalized groups, paving the way for a more inclusive and prosperous Kenya."
The G7 Strategy encompasses a multifaceted approach to address key areas such as healthcare, education, entrepreneurship, and infrastructure development. Central to the initiative is the promotion of women's leadership and participation in decision-making processes at all levels of governance.
Governor Wavinya Ndeti speaking on the importance of women's leadership, remarked, "Women bring unique perspectives and insights to the table, which are essential for effective decision-making and governance. By empowering more women to take on leadership roles, we can build more inclusive and responsive institutions that serve the needs of all citizens." She encouraged women leaders to remain steadfast to their course and promises to the people.
The G7 Strategy also places a strong emphasis on economic empowerment, with initiatives aimed at promoting entrepreneurship, access to credit facilities, and market opportunities for women-led businesses.
"Empowering women economically is not only a matter of social justice but also smart economics. When women thrive, households prosper, communities flourish, and economies grow. Through targeted interventions and partnerships with the private sector, we aim to create an enabling environment for women entrepreneurs to thrive and contribute to Kenya's economic prosperity," added Governor Kawira Mwangaza of Meru County.
The launch of the G7 Strategy represents a significant milestone in Kenya's journey towards gender equality and inclusive development. By harnessing the collective leadership and expertise of the President and the seven women governors, the initiative holds promise for driving positive change and creating a more equitable and prosperous future for all Kenyans.
As the nation rallies behind this historic collaboration, the G7 Strategy serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration, signaling a renewed commitment to building a more just, inclusive, and prosperous society for generations to come.

In December 2023, 19 County Governments, including Homa-Bay, Nakuru, West Pokot, Taita Taveta, Elgeyo Marakwet, Mombasa, Nyeri, Embu, Makueni, Kakamega, Narok, Vihiga, Wajir, Kilifi, Kajiado, Nyamira, Baringo, and Bungoma, expressed interest in developing Voluntary Local Review (VLR) reports to showcase their efforts in implementing the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As a follow-up to this initiative, the Council of Governors collaborated with the State Department for Economic Planning as well as the UNRCO and UNDP to organize a three-day capacity building workshop from 10th to 14th March 2024 in Naivasha.
The workshop aimed at providing technical assistance to support development of the VLR reports, which will demonstrate each County's progress in promoting inclusive economic growth, social development and environmental conservation in alignment with the SDGs. The workshop aimed to assess where Counties currently stand in the VLR process, identify areas requiring further guidance, explore opportunities to create synergies between the localized VLRs and develop a roadmap to guide finalization of the VLR reports.
As Kenya gears up to present its 3rd Voluntary National Review (VNR) on the SDGs at the 2024 UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), it is important for Counties to ensure their VLR reports are aligned with the forum's global priorities. Organized under the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the 2024 HLPF has the theme "Reinforcing the 2030 Agenda and eradicating poverty amid multiple crises through sustainable, resilient and innovative solutions." The forum will conduct a review of SDG 1 No Poverty, SDG 2 Zero Hunger, SDG 13 Climate Action, SDG 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, and SDG 17 Partnerships for the Goals. With these key SDGs under the international spotlight, it is essential that Kenya's Counties showcase their localized efforts and progress through well-crafted VLR reports that resonate with the 2024 HLPF's thematic focus.
The workshop also provided a platform for peer learning, with each County presenting their current VLR status and receiving feedback to troubleshoot challenges encountered. Technical sessions were facilitated by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics to guide Counties on priority SDG indicators and data sources for evidence-based reporting. There was emphasis on documenting replicable best practices that demonstrate innovation, sustainability and tangible positive outcomes when localized to each county's unique context.
Through direct engagement and group work, the Inter-Agency Technical Working Committee on SDGs ensured County VLR drafts comply with 2024 reporting guidelines while integrating all dimensions of sustainable development and the dynamic principle of leaving no one behind. Collaboration across sectors and inclusive stakeholder involvement were highlighted as key for impactful VLRs.
Counties now have a comprehensive roadmap outlining next steps to finalize their VLRs ahead of a follow-up workshop where draft reports will undergo further review. The State Department for Economic Planning together with the members of IATWC will then conduct a compliance check before the VLRs are incorporated into Kenya's 2024 VNR submission.

The Council of Governors (CoG) Agriculture, Livestock, and Cooperatives Committee from 12th to 15th March, 2024, held a quarterly meeting for the County Executive Committee Members (CECMs) in charge of Agriculture at Voi Safari Lodge, Taita Taveta County.
The meeting aimed at deliberating on ways to foster resilient food systems, ensure food safety, share best policy and legal practices, and provide updates on the advancements in the segregated roles within agriculture, livestock, and fisheries sectors.
In attendance were H.E. Rt. Hon. Ken Lusaka, Chairperson of the Agricultural, Livestock, and Cooperatives Committee, the Committee’s Vice-Chairperson, H.E. Mutahi Kahiga, host Governor, H.E. Andrew Mwadime, AGRA and Micro Enterprise Support Programme Trust (MESPT) among other stakeholders.
Making his opening remarks H.E. Ken Lusaka urged the CECMs to prioritize the establishment of the County Irrigation Development Units (CIDUs) to enhance agricultural productivity through sustainable irrigation and development and enactment of agricultural policies and laws to entrench devolved functions and strengthen county governance. He further encouraged CECMs to collaborate with development partners and the private sector in creating innovative financing models for direct investment in agriculture.
“You have a significant role in steering the policy and legislative agenda for the country, given the agriculture sector's substantial contribution to the GDP. We need to work together to ensure that our policies and legislation align with our goals of transforming the agriculture sector. As we collaborate with the national government in setting national policy directions and priorities, we must ensure these align with our respective county goals and objectives,” added the chair.
Addressing press after the meeting, the Committee’s Vice-Chairperson, H.E. Mutahi Kahiga asked the State Department of Crops to reimburse County Governments the ksh. 50 million deducted from funds allocated to counties under the NAVCDP program and the same be factored into the FY 2024/2025 budget.
“As County Governments, we must focus on mobilizing resources to finance development projects and programs in the agricultural sector at the county level. Over the years, the equitable share of revenue has stagnated against the increased demand for agriculture to sustain our food security. With a wealth of development partners and private investors eager to support our counties in building sustainable food systems, I urge you, CECMs, to actively promote and facilitate direct investment by these partners in your counties. Let's foster collaboration and create a coordinated framework for maximizing synergies and achieving shared goals,” added Governor kahiga.
H.E. Andrew Mwadime on his part called upon the CECMs to embrace irrigation considering the realities of climate change and other climatic shocks adding that sustainable irrigation practices are becoming increasingly vital for our agricultural sustainability. With support from AGRA and partners, we will incorporate regenerative agriculture in county policies, fostering an inclusive agricultural transformation to tackle hunger, enhance nutrition, address climate change and promote collaborative learning.
“I urge all CECMs, with guidance from the CoG and the State Department of Irrigation, to prioritize the establishment and effective functioning of the CIDU units within our respective counties to enhance water management and maximize agricultural productivity,” added the Taita Taveta Governor.
The CECMs pledged to closely collaborate with AGRA and MESPT to enhance the regenerative agriculture project and strengthen food systems and safety across all 47 County Governments respectively. Additionally, it was agreed that the CoG will offer technical assistance to County Governments for policy and legislative development and implementation, as well as assist in creation of an inventory of policies and laws for sharing best practices among counties.

Over the years, Kenya has achieved commendable progress in promoting nationwide access to safe and clean water and proper sanitation, all while ensuring sustainability, minimizing environmental impacts and fortifying resilience to climate change. These initiatives have been pivotal in steering the country towards a future where every citizen can enjoy these basic necessities.
However, a myriad of challenges including insufficient funding and infrastructure gaps still persist, impeding efforts to achieve universal access to safe water and sanitation services. In view of the above, the Water Sector Trust Fund, in collaboration with the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and irrigation, the Council of Governors (CoG), and other stakeholders, convened the Water and Sanitation Investors Conference (WASIC 2024) themed “Accelerating Investments for Sustainable Access to Water and Sanitation for All”. The conference was held from 6th - 8th March 2024 in Nairobi with one of the key primary objectives being to attract investors to the water and sanitation sector, with a special emphasis on fostering Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) and blended financing mechanisms.
Chairperson, CoG Water, Forestry, and Natural Resources Management committee and Governor, Taita Taveta County H.E Andrew Mwadime highlighted the progress made by County Governments in fulfilling their constitutionally mandated responsibility of water service provision.
“Counties face unique challenges such as water scarcity, water quality issues, Non-Revenue Water (NRW), and inadequate sanitation facilities. These challenges, though daunting, present opportunities to collaborate, innovate and devise regional and county-specific solutions,” he added.
Echoing Governor Mwadime's sentiments, the Cabinet Secretary for Water, Sanitation and Irrigation, Mr. Zachariah Njeru, emphasized the constitutional right to clean and safe water in adequate quantities. He further enumerated the significant strides made through investments, policy reforms, and partnerships, in line with the conference theme aimed at catalyzing investments in the sector and bridging the financing gap toward achieving universal access.
The conference yielded robust recommendations, urging the government to develop a comprehensive legal and policy framework to incentivize private sector investment while mitigating political risks. Deliberations on PPPs in Kenya's water sector underscored the importance of fair pricing, equitable opportunities between the public and private sectors, and collaboration between the National and County Governments. Strengthening private sector engagement for blended financing mechanisms emerged as a critical avenue for addressing sector challenges.
In addition, Water Service Providers (WSPs) were urged to tackle governance and operational inefficiencies through regulatory frameworks and streamlined processes. Aligning programs and projects with the National Water and Sanitation Investment Plan (NAWASIP) was recommended to ensure coherent implementation at both National and County levels.
A session convened by the Council of Governors with support from Gatsby Africa focused on bridging the gap in universal access to water and sanitation services across the Counties. This session underscored the importance of collaboration and partnership among stakeholders to mobilize finances, enhance governance, and ensure the sustainability of WSPs.
In conclusion, WASIC 2024 served as a pivotal platform for dialogue, collaboration, and action toward achieving universal access to water and sanitation in Kenya. By harnessing the collective expertise and commitment of stakeholders, the conference laid the groundwork for transformative change, ensuring that every Kenyan can exercise their fundamental right to clean and safe water.

Governors have called for adequate financing of devolved units to enable them execute their mandate and ensure effective service delivery at the local level.
Addressing the press after an Extra-ordinary Council meeting held on 19th January 2024 in Nairobi, Council of Governors (CoG) Chair H.E Anne Waiguru proposed that Counties be allocated Ksh. 450 billion as equitable share for the FY 2024/2025 out of the total projected sharable revenue of Ksh. 2, 958.6 billion. This comes even as the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) recommended Ksh. 398.14 billion as equitable share against the Exchequer’s Ksh. 391.1 billion.
“We note with concern the delayed disbursement of equitable share of revenue as we are 3 months on average in arrears. As of 19th January 2024, the National Treasury is yet to disburse Ksh. 81.08 billion to devolved units. 24 Counties are owed Ksh. 17.48 billion for November 2023 allocation while 47 Counties are owed ksh. 30.83 billion and ksh. 32.76 billion for December 2023 and January 2024 allocation respectively,” added Governor Waiguru. She noted that the situation has led to late payment of salaries as well as remittance of statutory deductions and negatively impacted Counties’ ability to respond to emergencies occasioned by the recent floods witnessed across various parts of the country.
The 20th Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council (IBEC) session chaired by the Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua on 29th January 2024 in Karen saw the National Treasury commit to clear December 2023 disbursements of sharable revenue to Counties within two weeks. Additionally, it was resolved that a committee comprising CoG, CRA, the National Treasury and IBEC be constituted to examine the equitable sharable revenue proposals and conclude within a week.
As at 2nd February 2024, arrears amount to Ksh.49.22 billion; Ksh.16.46 billion owed to 24 Counties for December 2023 allocations and Ksh.32.76 billion to all 47 Counties for January 2024 allocations.
During the Nairobi Council meeting, Governors also deliberated on the controversial Managed Equipment Service (MES) programme initially envisioned to support the devolution of equitable, accessible, affordable, and quality health care to Counties. In this regard, the CoG and Ministry of Health (MOH) have agreed on a strategic roadmap to guide the two levels in transition from MES without disruption of health services. A new mechanism for acquisition of medical equipment by County Governments will be in place by July 2024 while MOH will cover the service and maintenance cost for the equipment for the first quarter at a negotiated fee.
“As County Governments we remain committed to ensuring that specialized services such as renal, theatre, imaging and ICU at the County level remain undisrupted,” added the CoG boss further citing deliberate attempts to claw back on the gains of devolution's across various sectors including education and trade.
The CoG urges all stakeholders and devolution champions to work together to safeguard devolution for the benefit of the citizenry we serve.

 

The Council of Governors (CoG) on 26th January 2024, held a consultative meeting with top women in leadership under the theme “Harnessing transformative leadership” at Villa Rosa Kempinski, Nairobi. In attendance were key dignitaries including: Chief Justice Hon. Justice Martha Koome; Deputy Chief Justice, Deputy Speaker Hon. Gladys Boss Shollei; CoG Chair H.E Anne Waiguru; H.E Gladys Wanga; H.E Cecily Mbarire; H.E Fatuma Achani; Hon. Charity Ngilu; Director General of the United Nations Office, Nairobi Ms. Zainab Hawa Bangura; Hon. Beatrice Elachi; Sen. Catherine Mumma and; KEWOPA Chair Hon. Leah Sankaire.
Taking cognizance of the need to collectively work together towards fostering inclusivity, gender equity and effective leadership, the forum provided an opportunity to engage in candid discussions on transformational women leadership and governance for the socio-economic growth of our Counties and Communities.
Delivering her remarks CoG boss H.E Anne Waiguru noted that the meeting had come at an opportune time as the women governors were currently developing their first Women Governors Caucus strategy. The strategy, dubbed G7, seeks to empower and support women leaders in demonstrating efficient, transformational and strategic governance within the devolved structures; amplify the collective voice of women on national and gender issues; create a women leaders networking platform across various sectors and; facilitate mentorship between seasoned leaders and emerging women and girls.
“Our vision is to have women led counties delivering on the promise of devolution and together, l believe we can do it. I also encourage more women to take up political and governance positions and not to shy away from venturing into their field of interest,” added the Kirinyaga Governor.
Chief Justice Martha Koome highlighted that the election of 7 women governors in the 2022 elections is a testament to the changing landscape of leadership in Kenya where women are increasingly recognized as equal stakeholders in the journey of nation-building, despite the elusive two-thirds gender rule.
“The development of the G7 strategy is critical in addressing the barriers that women face in rising to leadership and the unique challenges they encounter once in these roles,” added her Ladyship.
DG, UNON Zainab Hawa on her part said that leadership, especially in public office, can be a demanding journey hence creating a supportive environment where women leaders are valued, respected, and encouraged is crucial.
“Through mutual support, we can enhance our effectiveness as leaders and navigate through any challenges we may encounter. Let us continue to stand by one another and celebrate the remarkable achievements made thus far,” added Governor Fatuma Achani of Kwale County.
Her Homa Bay Counterpart H.E Gladys Wanga emphasized the need for leadership that is geared towards realizing the dreams and aspirations in the hearts and minds of every Kenyan adding that leadership is about service to the people.
While giving the vote of thanks Embu Governor Cecily Mbarire acknowledged the resilience and dedication depicted by the women leadership in their various roles further appreciating all the partners for their immense support towards this great initiative.

The Council of Governors (CoG) organized a three-day consultative meeting for County Executive Committee Members (CECMs) responsible for Disaster Risk Management (DRM) from all 47 County Governments, from 22nd - 24th January 2024, in Mombasa County. This meeting served as a vital platform to discuss the county mandate on DRM, intergovernmental relations, the role of CECMs, and the policy, legal, and regulatory frameworks governing the sector. It also covered national initiatives, projects, and programs being implemented at the county level, and facilitated experience sharing on various pertinent issues.
During the meeting, Chair of the CoG ASALs and DRM Committee, H.E Nathif Jama, highlighted the significant impact of disasters on development, referencing the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction's estimate that disasters cause approximately $250 billion in economic losses globally each year. In Kenya, the recent prolonged drought resulted in over Ksh. 40 billion in expenses. Governor Jama stressed that disasters, especially those linked to climate change, present unprecedented challenges to the nation and emphasized the critical need to strengthen DRM strategies, with County Governments at the forefront.
“It is the County Governments that find themselves in the first line of defense in this battle due to their proximity to the affected communities,” said Governor Nathif Jama.
The meeting underscored the multifaceted responsibilities of counties in DRM, including risk assessment, monitoring, early warning systems, emergency response strategies, evacuation plans, and effective resource mobilization for post-disaster reconstruction and recovery. However, counties face multi-dimensional challenges such as limited resources, weak institutional capacity, policy gaps, centralized decision-making, and inefficient resource allocation at the national level.
Speaking on behalf of CoG CEO Mary Mwiti, Mr. Robert Kiteme, CoG Technical Lead on Agriculture and Livestock Development, reaffirmed the pivotal role of County Governments in Disaster and DRM. “In the face of such adversity, the role of our counties as the first line of defense in disaster risk management becomes ever more critical. Our counties are not just administrative divisions; they are the frontlines where the impacts of these calamities are most acutely felt and where the response is most urgently needed,” said Mr. Kiteme.
An experience-sharing session featuring Garissa and Mombasa Counties on the prolonged drought and the recent floods illustrated that disasters remain complex and necessitate concerted efforts from the Government, Non-Governmental Organizations, development partners, the private sector, and even the community. Counties are continually striving to enhance DRM through initiatives such as setting up County Command Centers, strengthening human resources, resourcing for DRM, and improving collaboration and response times. For instance, during the recent floods, Mombasa County was able to respond to disaster-related cases within five minutes.
Governor Nathif further urged all stakeholders, including National and County Governments and partners, to collaborate in establishing comprehensive, effective DRM systems, emphasizing that DRM is a dynamic process that requires continuous adaptation and improvement.
The meeting was also attended by officials from the National Treasury, State Department of ASALs and RD, NDOC, NDMA, UNDP-Kenya, USAID, Strathmore University, and STAWI.

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