Weather partly cloudy

Tunis: The weather Sunday is partly cloudy, getting very cloudy in the afternoon in the northwest and the midland with scattered showers. Rain is expected locally in the east.

The wind is blowing north in the north and east elsewhere, light to moderate in the north and the midland and moderate to quite strong near coasts and in the south with sandstorms.

The sea is choppy in the north, a bit choppy elsewhere. Highs range between 30°C and 36°C in the north, the midland and the southeast and 38°C and 43°C in the southwest with local Sirocco winds.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

15-Billion Tree Planting Campaign On Course, CS Mvurya

Mining, Blue Economy, and Maritime Affairs Cabinet Secretary, Salim Mvurya, has affirmed that the government’s commitment to plant 15 billion trees across the country by 2032 is steadily progressing.

Speaking at the planting of 60,000 mangrove seedlings in Kipini, Tana Delta Sub-County, Mvurya urged local communities to participate actively in the initiative.

‘The tree planting exercise is a big step in achieving our set targets towards curbing the adverse effects of climate change. In particular, the planting of mangrove trees in Kipini is a great idea that helps address the problem of flooding and other negative effects of climate change in the area,’ he said.

In addition, Mvurya announced that plans are underway to construct a fish landing site in Kipini, enhancing the local fishing industry.

‘Before the end of this month, we want to come and launch the construction of the fish landing site here. On the same day, we will also disburse Sh206 million to fisherfolk groups in the area,’ he said.

Noting th
at the government has already purchased 150 boats for fishermen in the Coast region, Mvurya said that some will be allocated to groups in Kipini.

He added that 150 youths from Tana River County will receive free training to become coxswains, equipping them with skills to improve their fishing activities, while another 50 youths will be trained in making life jackets.

On the campaign against Muguka and its negative effects, Mvurya emphasised the need for stronger laws to protect the youth from the herb.

‘The same force used against illicit brews and hard drugs should be applied to Muguka,’ he stated.

Others who attended the event included Tana River Governor Major (Rtd) Dhadho Gaddae Godhana, Deputy Governor Mahat Ali Loka, Senator Danson Buya Mungatana, and Kipini MCA Abubakar Mohamed Athman.

Maritime Affairs and Shipping PS Geoffrey Kaituko and senior officials from the State Departments of Mining and Blue Economy also participated in the mangrove planting exercise, which was attended by hundreds of loc
al residents.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Increase Own Revenue To Finance CIDP, PS Urges

Public Works PS Joel Arumonyang has called on counties to enhance their own revenue in a bid to address the funding gap for the various projects under their respective county integrated development plans.

The PS, who was speaking when he launched the fourth Medium Term Plan (MTP) dissemination exercise at the MTC hall in Iten, said the successful implementation of the CIDPs will lead to the overall achievement of Vision 2030.

Arumonyang therefore called for partnerships from the government, private sector, and donors, among others, in addressing the challenge of scarce resources, which he said was an impediment to the realisation of the country’s development goals.

The PS said the government had developed a master plan aimed at ensuring that sports stadiums, among them Kamariny Stadium, were completed, saying this was one of the bottom-up economic agenda pillars aimed at providing employment to youth through sports.

Residents expressed concern that, despite the country producing renowned athletes, Kamarin
y Stadium, which is under the national government, had taken so long to complete, thus denying youths a facility where they can train.

Elgeyo Marakwet Deputy Governor (DG), Prof. Grace Cheserek, said the county CIDP requires Sh 97 billion to implement with a financing gap of Sh50.3 billion.

The DG said that with the Equity Development Act, which dictates that the development budget is distributed equitably to the wards, the county is left with no funds to undertake capital projects.

Leaders called for the employment of agricultural extension officers for the country to achieve food security, saying that with climate change and changing technology, farmers require expert advice.

They further called for an increase in the allocation to the counties by costing all devolved functions and giving the funds to counties, saying that without proper funding, some counties like Elgeyo Marakwet risk becoming just salary-paying counties.

The county speaker, Philemon Sabulei, said it was sad that despite the county be
ing rich in natural resources, it only contributed 1.5% to the country’s GDP, saying this should change.

Area county commissioner John Korir stressed the importance of peace along the Kerio Valley for the region to realise its development goals.

Leaders called for the opening up of markets along the borders, citing Chesegon, Kolowa, and Arror, saying this will help residents of the county, West Pokot, and Baringo to interact and, in the process, promote peace.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Kenyans Buy 390,000 Locally Assembled Smartphones

Locally assembled smartphones are gaining traction in Kenya, with 390,000 devices purchased since the initiative began in October last year.

Information, Communications, and the Digital Economy (CS) Eliud Owalo highlighted that the country’s efforts to produce affordable smartphones are progressing well, with increasing market demand indicating the initiative’s potential for significant success.

Speaking during the launch of the Jitume Project at Seme Technical and Vocational College in Kisumu County, Owalo emphasised that cheap devices are key to bridging the technology gap, which has undermined the optimal uptake of government digital services.

‘We recognise that many Kenyans still lack access to smartphones. The government, in collaboration with the private sector, has initiated the assembly of affordable Kenyan smartphones locally. This means we won’t need to import phones from countries like China or Korea,’ he stated.

The Neon brand handsets, retailing at Sh7,499 per unit, are available at all the S
afaricom branches or the Jamii Telecom shops countrywide.

‘These smartphones come with all essential features, allowing users to access government services conveniently from anywhere. There will no longer be a need to visit government offices in person,’ Owalo added.

The CS assured that with the digital transformation led by the Kenya Kwanza administration, Kenyans will benefit from efficient and effective government services without needing personal connections in government offices.

‘It will be a direct interaction between you as a Kenyan, your phone, and the government. You won’t need to know anyone in a government office to access these services. You will be able to apply for an ID or a passport virtually,’ he explained.

To further the digital transformation agenda, Owalo mentioned that the government has partnered with Kenya Power Company (KPC) to expand fibre connectivity, ensuring reliable and sustainable internet access across the country.

Since January 2023, the government has installed approxim
ately 11,000 kilometres of fibre optic cables, with a target to reach 100,000 kilometres of fibre by 2026.

‘We are shifting from the traditional method of laying fibre cables underground, which is prone to vandalism. Instead, we will utilise KPC transmission lines,’ Owalo said, adding that KPC has already engaged 300 contractors, distributed evenly across the country, to begin the project.

‘We will extend fibre connectivity to all existing 74,000 transformers. Once fibre is connected to these transformers, we can provide internet access to nearby institutions and public spaces such as market centres,’ the CS noted.

Additionally, Owalo confirmed that the last-mile electricity connectivity project is ongoing to ensure sufficient electricity supply to support the digital infrastructure.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Mariba Village Embraces Cooking Gas

Residents of Mariba village in Gucha sub-county, Kisii County, are witnessing a remarkable transformation.

This change, marked by the adoption of cooking gas over traditional firewood, is not only revolutionising daily life but also contributing to significant environmental conservation efforts.

Speaking to KNA, the Sub-County Forest Officer, Abel Osoro, said that this shift has immensely facilitated afforestation initiatives in the area.

‘Tree cutting has significantly decreased,’ Osoro reports with evident satisfaction.

‘A lot of people are now planting trees, leading to a much greener environment.’ Osoro further explains that the rampant tree felling for charcoal production, which was once a common practice, has drastically decreased.

He attributes this positive trend to the increased use of cooking gas and comprehensive civil education campaigns that have raised awareness about the benefits of this cleaner energy source.

John Nyangaresi, a village elder, echoes Osoro’s sentiments and highlights the
improvements in the quality of life that have accompanied this transition.

‘Using cooking gas is more comfortable compared to firewood,’ Nyangaresi explains.

He points out that the firewood previously used was often not dry enough, leading to excessive smoke that harmed the health of many villagers.

The smoke was particularly damaging to the lungs and eyes, posing a significant health risk, especially to women who spent long hours in the less ventilated kitchen cooking.

Nyangaresi also highlights a significant social change: the once common sight of villagers, especially women and children, spending hours gathering firewood has become rare.

This change has freed up time for more productive activities, contributing to the overall development of the community.

‘Now, their time is spent on other productive activities, enhancing the community’s progress,’ Nyangaresi adds.

Annette Sarange, a local gas vendor, has witnessed this transformation firsthand. ‘I’ve sold more gas cylinders in the past two years th
an in the entire previous decade since I started this business in 2014,’ she shares.

Sarange takes pride in the community’s safe use of cooking gas, noting, ‘I am happy because locals have learned how to use the gas safely. I have never heard of any case of explosions.’ Her business has flourished alongside the community’s growing acceptance of this safer and more efficient energy source.

Despite these positive changes, Nyangaresi acknowledges that many residents still find the cost of cooking gas high, preventing them from fully abandoning firewood.

‘Many residents still find the cost of cooking gas high, preventing them from fully abandoning firewood,’ he notes.

The villagers are now appealing to the government to manage the rising cost of cooking gas to enable them to make a complete transition.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Govt To Establish Sh100 Million Livestock Institute In Baringo

Cooperatives and MSME Development Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui says Baringo County has continued to lag behind due to myriad of historical problems.

However, Chelugui added that the government is committed to supporting local farmers to realise increased agricultural productivity through improved extension services.

The CS urged residents to capitalise on institutions like the livestock training institutions, which will have a huge effect on their long-term growth and prosperity, especially in the livestock industry.

He therefore challenged farmers, especially from the major towns of Baringo, to venture into profitable agribusinesses that will in turn boost the economy of the vast county, which is mostly semi-arid.

Chelugui said this while facilitating Baringo County dissemination forum on the Fourth Medium Term Plan (MTP IV) at the Kenya School of Government (KSG), Baringo campus, where he announced the construction of a new livestock training institute in Baringo County, which will commence at the s
tart of the 2024-2025 financial year.

The Principal Secretary for Medical Services, Harry Kimtai, who was present, disclosed that the National government had allocated Sh100 million for the upgrade of nine (9) other existing institutes countrywide.

Kimtai said the flagship project to be set up at Mogotio Sub County came into being after it was successfully captured in the fourth medium-term plan for the 2023-2027 period.

He noted that the institute will play a crucial role in training students besides offering support to the county, with 75 per cent of its residents being livestock farmers.

‘For the entire five years, there will be a budget for the construction of the training institution that will be a game changer for all Baringo residents,’ said the PS.

Kimtai added that, apart from the new facility, the government will be upgrading the other nine livestock institutes countrywide in a bid to improve the sector.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Residents Seek Guidelines On Grazing In Public Forests

People living near forests have asked the government to sensitise them on the guidelines for grazing in public forests.

The communities in uplands Limuru in Kiambu said they needed the education as they did not want to clash with or disrupt the Kenya Forest Service’s (KFS) efforts to restore forests, especially in areas where trees were cut down years ago without being replanted.

This is in response to the Kenya Forest Service’s (KFS) release on Monday about new grazing guidelines in forests.

KFS said the Grazing in Public Forests law, enacted in 2005, was poorly enforced and that now it aims to better protect trees and vegetation.

Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change, and Forestry, Soipan Tuya, announced on May 13th of this year that the state will not allow the grazing of animals in public forests as part of measures to protect seedlings planted in the ongoing national tree-growing campaign.

Peter Wachira, from Githirioni in Lari subcounty and who has been benefiting from the uplands fores
t, asked the Chief Conservator of Forests (CFA), Alex Lemarkoko, to start educational forums.

‘The CCF is supposed to ask the forest station managers, county forest conservators, and their staff to teach us on how to graze in Public Forest in a guided way so that we do not interfere with their work. We want to be law-abiding people,’ Wachira said.

Wachira, who revealed that he rears 23 sheep and three cattle in Uplands forests, added that he cannot allow himself to be among those who break the law knowingly.

According to KFS, they will increase efforts to stop illegal grazing, focusing on conservation and community involvement.

Communities benefit from forests through activities like grass harvesting, grazing, and tourism under the Community Forest Association.

Under the new law, grazers need a permit and must register with forest stations, which will track grazing activities.

Uplands CFA official John Mwathi is in support of the law, saying it will help protect the forests.

‘Whenever there is no law,
the people who have pride take advantage of undermining people like us, the CFA. Now, the law will assist us in ensuring there is discipline within the CFA’s and the grazers,’ he said.

Mwathi suggested arranging a meeting for all people who graze, including those who want to graze in the forests, to inform them about the law.

‘We want to support the government, the CFA, and the KFS in the conservation of forests and the environment at large. We want to ensure President William Ruto’s directive of having planted 15 billion trees is achieved by 2023,’ he said.

During the ban last month, CS Soipans said that Grazing of animals in the forests will not go on as it is interfering with the government policy where planting of trees in degraded areas of public forests is done, then livestock comes in and clears it all over.

The Kenya Forest Service protects around 6.4 million gazetted forests and another 420 million acres under the counties.

Kiambu County has six forests, with the major ones being the Kieni and K
inale forests, which occupy an area of 426.62 km2.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Parents Asked To Supervise Their Children’s Interaction With Technology

Parents have been asked to create safe spaces in their homes to ensure that they can supervise their children as they interact with technology.

According to Nyeri Director of Children Services, Kung’u Mwaniki, stakeholders in the children’s welfare sector have identified cyber security as a leading threat to child protection.

Mwaniki says that even with laws such as the Computer Misuse and Cyber Crimes Act and the Children Act 2022, if left unchecked, unsupervised interaction with technology could expose children to online abuse, internet addiction and exposure to harmful content.

‘Online child abuse is now real. We are asking parents to supervise their children as they interact with technology so that they know who their children chat with online. Once the parents know this they can ensure that they create spaces for these children to live safely and advance into adulthood,’ said Mwaniki.

The children’s officer at the same time underscored the importance of collaboration between the government and stakeh
olders in the private sector in addressing emerging threats namely climate change and radicalization which continue to hinder the proper growth and development of a child.

‘We are now faced with a new crop of challenges which include climate change, radicalization and cyber security. There is need to work with partners to come up with income-generating activities and strengthen households so that they are able to take care of their children. There is also need to sensitise the community about violent extremism so that both parents and children do not fall into dangerous spots,’ he said.

Mwaniki was speaking at the D.E.B. Muslim Primary and Junior Secondary School in Nyeri Friday, during this year’s celebrations to mark the Day of the African Child.

The celebrations are held on June 16 of each year. The day provides an opportunity to reflect on the progress made in advancing children’s rights and also highlight the challenges that hinder African children from enjoying their rights.

This year’s commemoratio
n was themed ‘Education for All Children in Africa: The Time is Now,’ underscoring the importance of equitable, quality and inclusive education for all African children to enable them to contribute to the continent’s sustainable development.

In line with the theme, the Forum for African Women in Education county coordinator, Esther Mutegi said that they are partnering with the Ministry of Education to implement the School Re-entry Policy, which will ensure that learners who drop out of school are given an opportunity to complete their education.

‘We are doing interventions in schools with teenagers to make sure they remain in school. One of them is the School Re-entry Policy which will allow children who drop out of school for whatever reason to be readmitted and continue with their education and pursue their dreams,’ said Mutegi.

On her part, Nyeri Assistant County Commissioner, Daisy Mumbi said the government is committed to availing resources to causes that promote children’s rights.

Mumbi said that th
e government was also doubling its efforts to address challenges such as drug abuse, gender-based violence, early marriages and female genital mutilation that prevent children’s rights from being upheld.

Additionally, she said the government has also stepped up the sensitization of both parents and children about the emerging threats of cyber security and radicalization, with the aim of equipping them with knowledge on how to protect them from being predated on.

‘If we look at the population trends across the world, the African child bears the biggest population, so the future is reliant on a well-equipped, well-educated, and well-prepared African child. As a government, we are looking at harnessing the strengths of the African child by availing resources, be it in health, education or all other aspects they require, for them to grow and develop into formidable human beings in the future,’ said Mumbi.

‘We are also cautioning parents and children against violent extremism and radicalization, which have been
on the rise, while ensuring that our children have a safe space to grow and develop,’ she added.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Youths Urged To Exercise Caution While Applying For Overseas Jobs

Youths interested in jobs abroad can check the legal status of their recruiting agency with the National Employment Authority and the Ministry of Labour so that they do not lose their money to rogue agents.

Diaspora Affairs PS Roselyne Njogu has said those seeking jobs in marine vessels, such as cruise ships, can also access information on marine work recruiters from the website of the Kenya Maritime Authority.

Njogu was speaking in Embu while attending the 2nd Mt. Kenya East Diaspora Jobs Fair, accompanied by the Embu Governor, Cecily Mbarire, and the Technical and Vocation Education Training PS, Dr. Esther Muoria.

The fair brought together diaspora job recruiters, technical and vocational education training institutes, and government departments, where they advised the youth on what they needed to access jobs abroad.

Njogu said the Ministry of Labour had cracked the whip on the rogue agents, who abandoned their clients in foreign lands after enticing them to sign for fictitious contracts.

On her part,
Mbarire noted that over 300 youths showed up at the fair each day, which demonstrated how serious the problem of unemployment was in the country.

She said her government is considering setting up a fund in the next budget that will assist youth from disadvantaged families in acquiring the necessary papers if they get the chance to work abroad.

The governor challenged the youth to acquire skills that are in demand abroad to improve their chances of securing the opportunities.

Dr. Muoria said TVET institution trainers had been retrained to update their skills and that arrangements had been made for skilled workers who did not have papers to be certified by the institutions.

She added that training in TVETs had been broken into skill sets to make it easier for those needing training to carry out specified tasks, where they could be quickly helped to acquire the much-needed skills.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Michelle Jepruto’s Journey To Academic Excellence

Amid the raging gunshot sounds in the troubled Kerio Valley, an academic champion brings the Ministry of Education officials on a tour to ascertain the challenges locals face, but she overcame them to prosperity.

Michelle Jepruto has decent work, earning and learning leadership skills with Equity Group after scoring grade A at the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) in 2023.

The brilliant Elimu Scholar was the best candidate out of the 90 in Elgeyo Marakwet that benefited from the first batch of the Ministry of Education Elimu Scholarships in 2019 implemented by Equity Bank.

Michelle attributed her success to being able to remain in school throughout her four years of uninterrupted studies after her fees was fully paid for, among other provisions for a school-going girl.

‘I was always in school, unlike some children whose studies were interrupted when they were sent home for fees or other items,’ she said.

The Government of Kenya and its partners are cognizant of the right to quality educatio
n for all children of school-going age as enshrined in the Bill of Rights in the Constitution to ensure admission, retention, transition, and completion.

Michelle defied the odds of early marriage, female genital mutilation, and teen pregnancy by choosing to work hard in school and serve as a role model to her younger siblings and the community, which has adopted the mantra ‘Tunataka tusome kama Michelle.’

Michelle is only one of the numerous beneficiaries of the Elimu Scholarships, courtesy of World Bank funding to improve the quality of education in Kenya through the Ministry of Education and implementing partners Jomo Kenyatta Foundation and Equity Bank.

Michelle is optimistic about getting a scholarship to study abroad at a prestigious university, but when push comes to shove, she commits to pursuing her dream degree as a nurse since she has already secured a slot at Meru University. This, she says, will make her realise her long-term goal of helping her community access quality healthcare.

The four y
ears’ transformation of a C student after scoring 299 marks at the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) to an A student at KCSE can only be equated to a wonder of the world and a miracle necessitated by the opportunity to transit to secondary school, retention, and the and the student’s hard work and determination.

Everlyn Chepkorir, mother to Michelle, was jovial and appreciated that her second-born child in a family of nine is a testimony that education is an equaliser. Despite their humble background, the future looks bright.

She says since Michelle got the Equity Leadership programme and employment, she has seen light, and the family is changing for the better.

Chepkorir asserts they have an additional source of income, unlike before, when she struggled with her husband to raise the big family amid the high cost of living.

‘Michelle has enabled my other children to go to school; they are not sickly since they eat well, among other interventions that go into raising a big family while at the s
ame time being able to save,’ said Chepkorir.

No sooner had we completed the home visit at Michelle Jeprutos home than gunshots reigned supreme, forcing the Ministry of Education team and their champion scamper to safety, whichever way possible.

After a while, there’s calm, and the education officials embark on their journey with Michelle, passing through secured roads with army officers in heavy military artillery and armoured vehicles, a sign of control to contain insecurity.

Source: Kenya News Agency