SPEECH BY H.E. MARGARET KENYATTA, THE FIRST LADY OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA, DURING THE HANDING OVER OF THE 29TH BEYOND ZERO MOBILE CLINIC TO WEST POKOT COUNTY

On November 16, 2018 In Statements and Speeches

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am delighted to be in West Pokot today. Your County is truly unique! Thank you for the warm welcome. West Pokot is among the few counties that can boast a complete spectrum of resources ranging from massive mineral reserves, impressive agricultural output, renewable hydro-electric potential and vast water reserves. Your County is truly blessed with potential to be among the leading counties driving Kenya's economic development. Over the years, the Kenya has enjoyed clean and renewable electricity from the Turkwell Hydro-Power Station and relied on food products like maize, sorghum, oranges and onions exported from Wei Wei Irrigation Scheme. Additionally, our meat markets rely on vast stocks of products from the livestock you have reared and the construction industry is booming from the limestone mined from your county. Yet, in the midst of this entire potential and continuous boom, there is cause for concern because of insecurity, which is largely driven by cattle rustling. Insecurity has made many youths to lose out on the gift of education. A gift that has the potential of opening up great opportunities in their lives. It has robbed many families of loved ones, especially bread winners, and left many widows and orphans destitute and hopeless. This must now change so that your great county can write a new chapter in its history. We must work together to try and find a lasting solution to the insecurity problem. As I have said in other fora, the solution must be homegrown and come from the community for sustainability and ownership. However, as we look for this solution, we must also create ways in which our youth and young adults who are engaged in this vice can be rehabilitated and empowered so that they can re-direct their energies to vocations that are beneficial not only to themselves but the larger society. The issue of FGM has also robbed many young girls the opportunity of leading a normal and economically productive life as many get married off soon after undergoing 'the cut' long before they can realize their full potential. This has robbed a whole generation of girls of the opportunity to get an education and has left them trying to provide for a family while they are still children themselves and lacking the economic empowerment they require. There is need for us to collectively say no to FGM and other retrogressive cultural practices like early forced marriages and use of child labour in the local Goldmines and Wei Wei irrigation scheme. The two problems of FGM and insecurity have a definite solution. That solution lies on the shoulders of our elders. If the elders say a definitive no to these challenges, the two problems will come to an end. I urge the elders to take a leading role in this regard. Desertification is another major threat that we face in this region. Rampant cutting down of trees for the production of charcoal has left many water catchment areas desolate. I appeal to the people of West Pokot to embrace the culture of planting trees in line with the World Environment Day which we celebrated last Friday, June 6th. We share the same planet, the same earth, the same sky and the same hopes. The things that link us together outnumber those things that separate us. As you are all aware, the Beyond Zero campaign seeks to bring down to zero the instances of preventable maternal and child mortality. In this regard the Beyond Zero initiative looks forward to working closely with your County Government to ensure access to healthcare to the marginalized communities in your county especially pastoralists. Let the County Government draw a detailed programme for the mobile clinic we are donating today to enable the people know which areas it will be deployed to and when. This way we will be able to bring hope to the vulnerable as we work together to bring down maternal and child deaths and even stop mother-to-child transmission of HIV during childbirth. I now request you to join me in handing over the 29th mobile clinic proudly sponsored by Tullow Oil to your Governor, Simon Kachapin, on behalf of the people of West Pokot County. Thank you.

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