Thank you for joining me this week here at Kakamega State Lodge.
We will focus on a number of issues this week.
Development in Kakamega & Vihiga Counties:
I have been in both Kakamega and Vihiga counties together with Education Principal Secretary Dr. Belio Kipsang as well as Sammy Itemere, Principal Secretary for Broadcast and Telecommunications.
We were inspecting the progress of the Digital Literacy Programme (DLP) as well as the state of infrastructure in our schools. This is a program initiated by the Jubilee Administration in 2013, targeted at students in all public primary schools and is aimed at integrating the use of digital technologies in learning.
Here in Kakamega for instance, 400 primary schools, out of a total of 880 schools are under the DLP initiative. A total of 480 teachers have been trained in the county, which enables the teachers instruct the pupils effectively.
Additionally, for this programme to be effectively initiated, this administration ensured electricity connectivity has been done. This is part of the promise the President made in terms of access to electricity as well as people being able to access services in a more efficient way. So here in Kakamega county, for instance, a total of 76,190 households have been connected to the grid as at January 2017 up from just 31,773 households in 2013. You will see that the number of people in Kakamega with access to electricity are double what they were in 2013 which means that the promise the President made to them is reaching them directly and in a very personal way. In addition, a total of 804 primary schools are currently on the grid, which means only 76 schools are yet to be connected but are in the process of being connected. And the Education PS Dr. Belio Kipsang has assured that by April all the schools that need to have the DLP, will have it which this effectively means that all the primary schools will also be connected to electricity in that period.
Let me reflect on the program nationally.
The Government of Kenya is implementing the Digital Literacy Program (DLP) in all the 23,951 public primary schools. The focus of the program is to enhance learning through the use of digital technologies. The project will deliver over 1.2 million devices to the schools in addition to other investment in school infrastructure, teacher training, electricity connections and content development. Emphasis is on Digital Content and enhancement of learning NOT devices. Emphasis is on digital content where kids can find the content they need through the devices they have.
Program Progress so far:
So far, some 926,234 have been manufactured. The ones already in the country are in the country are 758,552 while the ones in transit are 167,682 and those already installed in schools are 385,435. That number might be slightly higher because just as we speak, this work continues to be done.
In terms of teacher training, 150 teachers trained as Master Trainers. That means they are able to teach the trainer of trainers and that is how to ensure that the number of pupils learning goes up. Some 2,555 have been trained as Trainer of Trainers (ToTs) and 80,000 primary teachers in total have been trained.
The training focuses on:
· basic ICT knowledge and skills in
· equipping teachers with practical skills on the use of the devices for teaching and learning purposes
· model class scenarios with class management software, content developed by KICD and basic support and maintenance procedures.
Power in schools:
In terms of power to schools, 22,237 schools have already been connected to electricity nationwide. And as I said earlier, 23,951 public primary schools are targeted. So the electricity connection program is on course and we are very close to achieving the goal.
On security for the devices:
The Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government is working with the Ministry of ICT and the Ministry of Education to ensure that elaborate arrangements are made to extend security to schools and to build strong rooms for these devices.
We are also urging the community to supplement our efforts in terms of the safety of these devices.
The program uses locally supplied goods and services as a part of its aim to spur the economic and social development as per Vision 2030.
On Local Assembly:
The Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology as well as Moi University are the two institutions that have been asked to locally manufacture devices and they will continue to do this since the goal is not to end with the current lot of children but to make these devices accessible, with time, to as many children in our schools as possible.
The Jubilee Administration has also done other projects in this region. In Vihiga, Kakamega, Trans Nzoia and Bungoma Counties, a total of 685 kilometers of roads have been constructed at a cost of Kshs 37 billion in the last four years.
The 94 Km Matungulu – Nambale Road that is being constructed at a cost of Kshs 256 million, whereas the 82 KmEmuhaya – Butere – Kwhisero – Mumias East Road is being constructed at a cost of Kshs 246 million.
In terms of healthcare, Kakamega Level 5 and Malava Level 4 have already been equipped with enhanced medical equipment under the Managed Equipment Services (MES) at a cost of Kshs 460 million and 380 million respectively.
Lighting of markets
As part of the Government’s initiative to ensure a 24-hour economy in the Western region can work as well as mitigating some security risks in some of these areas, the Deputy President was at Likuyani yesterday and the local town is being lit. There will be floodlights there to ensure people can trade for longer hour. There are lots of activity also at Luanda market at night and that town will also be lit to ensure there is a 24-hour economy so that people can go about doing business with a level of security that they deserve. It may well be that a number of other markets will be added to that list and we will inform you accordingly as and when we get updated information.
Direct Flights to the US:
This is a matter that both the U.S. Government and the Kenyan Minister responsible for Transport has spoken on in the last two, three days. I just wanted to emphasize that the granting of the Category 1 Status by the Federal Aviation Administration paves the way for Kenyan registered air operators to operate routes directly to the United States.
This assessment is based on an assessment by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the people responsible air safety in the United States, working in concert with the Kenya Civil Aviation Authorities (KCAA).
AN important clarification to make is that this Category 1 status does not just cover Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. It covers Kenya.
So Kenyan carriers will now be required to secure the necessary approvals from the State Department of Transport to begin plying the relevant routes.
The Maritime Technical Cooperation Centre:
Recently, the Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology (JKUAT) was recognized by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the European Union (EU) by being awarded the bid to host the regional Maritime Technical Cooperation Centre (MTCC) for the African region.
The project worth EUR 1 million, the MTCC will build capacity for maritime personnel in the African continent and more so for Kenyans. Additionally, the MTCC will undertake the maritime capacity for addressing gas emissions from ships. The blue economy is one of the key things that this Administration is focusing on is doing as much as it can to build a conducive environment to build the maritime capability.
The Inspector General of Police reports that there have been no incidents in the Baringo area in the last two days. Security has been beefed up significantly, and as you know the Deputy President was in the area only a couple of days ago to talk to communities to launch other security-enhancing programs. It is our take at this point that the security situation there is being contained. Our security agents remain vigilant to deal with whatever situation that may arise.
Now, the Red Cross pulled out of the area last week after one of its convoys faced security threats. We urge the County leaders there to continue to preach peace and calm and importantly, to ask citizens not to interfere with humanitarian work.
Both the communities and the national Government administration have to work together to ensure that humanitarian work continues as well as to ensure that security is maintained.
All of us must do our bit to ensure that normalcy is returned and politicians are particularly waned against fanning embers of fire through hate speech that could derail whatever effort are being made in terms of restoring law and order.
We are tackling the drought situation with all efforts available to us, especially under the authority of the National Disaster Response that the President has committed to in terms of how we address the situation. Enhanced water trucking across the country and especially in the 23 ASAL counties is happening as we speak and quite a number of boreholes have been rehabilitated to deal with some of the pressure that had built over time because of the longer hours of pumping water.
The livestock off take has also ben enhanced in all 23 ASAL counties. We are buying the cattle as well as procure goats and sheep. Since body conditions of most of them is not good, the Government is slaughtering and giving locals for consumption, and for them to store in traditional ways as dried up meat. We are also supplying this meat to schools in those areas.
In terms of provision of food, we have doubled up food rations to feed 3 million people, up from an initial figure of 1.3 million Kenyans in the feeding program. We are doing this through special programs.
Development partners like Red Cross and UN agencies are continuing to support the Government in targeting specific vulnerable groups, like the elderly and children under the age of 5. These are being provided with fortified foods. Lactating mothers are also getting fortified foods, including vitamins and energy complements.
Manoah Esipisu, MBS
Secretary of Communication &
State House Spokesperson