By: Yussuf Ali Korow:
The Swiss Ambassador to Kenya Mr. Reif Heckner and the USaid Mission Country Director Karen Freeman have praised Garissa for the strides it has made in development and hailed devolution saying the process could accelerate growth in previously neglected areas.
Speaking when they toured the North Eastern County to launch the Garissa Kenya rapid program on official duties on Thursday, the two diplomats said Kenya’s structure and the energy into realization of this form of governance was commendable and worth being lauded.
“In such a period, in just four years of Devolution , The fruit of devolution is seen a cross the Kenyan counties specially in Garissa which is among the historically marginalized regions in the country , I think much has been achieved,” Swiss Ambassador to Kenya, Mr. Reif Heckner said
The envoy added supporting devolution was one of the key pillars of the international community and partners like USAID in order to offer technical, financial and other possible forms of assistance especially to devolved units.
The United States agency for international development (USAID) and the Swiss Development cooperation, (SDC), together with the Garissa county leadership and The National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) launched the Kenya Resilient Arid lands partnership for integrated development program and later on commissioned the Dololweyne water projects in sankuri Ward, Mbalambala Sub County.
End of the hardships.
Communities in the Dololweyne Village in Mbalambala Sub county Garissa County had to walk long distances and then dig deep into the ground to access clean water. In addition to the hardship of traveling long distances, threats of human – wild life conflicts is much experienced in the tiny village hence exposing dangers to small children and livestock.
But things were different on Thursday, After the county Government of Garissa with the support of Swiss Development Cooperation and other partners worked with communities in Dololweyne to construct water points in order to end the long water shortage in the area.
The colorful ceremony was witnessed by Garissa County Deputy Governor, Abdullahi Hussein, together with local politicians.
In her speech, The USAID Mission director Mrs. Karen Freeman commended the County Government of Garissa for their acceptance and partnership of the project and their contribution towards its success. She also assured the County administration of the US Government’s continued support for more development projects in the County.
Joyful residents broke into song and dance with traditional dancers entertaining guests to express their gratitude for the projects.
On his part, the Deputy Governor of Garissa County Mr. Abdullahi Hussein, thanked the Swiss Government and the partners for their support and called on other donors and development partners to emulate the gesture of supporting counties in order to alleviate human sufferings.
“As County administration, we appreciate the efforts by the Swiss government for support in alleviating the water needs of our people and we plead to other donor partners to borrow a leaf and also chip in something towards noble course”, he said.
He added, the exceptional success of the project is a clear indication of how low water harvesting and retention techniques can make a significant difference in improving access to water in arid and semi-arid lands. The project also demonstrates how much communities can benefit when such projects are owned within and supported by various stakeholders.
K-RAPID is a partnership program that unites the county governments, the private sector, implementing NGOs, donors, all contributing to jointly address the development challenges in the water sector across the northern Kenya.