Red Cross responds as floods displace more than 210,000 people across Kenya

The Kenya Red Cross Society is providing emergency relief to thousands of people impacted by rising flood waters that continue to wreak havoc in many parts of Kenya.

Since torrential rains started last month, homes and farms have been destroyed, livestock has been lost and roads and other infrastructure have been washed away. More than 210,000 people have been forced to flee their homes.

“With heavy rainfall persisting, the flood waters will continue to pose a risk for thousands of people across the country. Our staff and volunteers are working around the clock to ensure families in high-risk areas of the country are being evacuated to higher ground,” said Abbas Gullet, Kenya Red Cross Society Secretary General.

Kenya Red Cross Society is conducting search and rescue efforts, evacuating families in high-risk areas, providing basic health services and emergency shelter while delivering essential supplies like household items and water and sanitation in evacuation centres.

“The floods have been unforgiving. Many people have already lost their lives, homes and livelihoods,” says Gullet. “The situation remains dire – Red Cross is doing what it can but there is much more to be done.”

Kenya Red Cross Society has supported a total of 5,000 families with emergency shelter and household items. Response efforts continue across the most affected areas of the country, including Tana River, Kisumu, Taita Taveta, Isiolo, Makueni, Turkana, Mandera, Garissa, Wajir, Kilifi, Kajiado, Homa Bay, Machakos, Narok, Kitui and Nairobi.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

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Opening remarks by the UK High Commissioner to Kenya during the 5th annual devolution conference

Remarks by the UK High Commissioner to Kenya Nic Hailey, chair of the devolution donor working group, during the 5th annual devolution conference Kakamega county:

It’s a great honour to be here this morning and to offer opening remarks on behalf of the International Community.
I would like to recognise the inter-agency steering committee co-chairs – Kirinyaga County Governor H.E. Anne Waiguru and Muranga County Senator Irungu Kangata – as well as the representatives of,

  • The Presidency
  • The Ministry of Finance
  • The Ministry of Devolution and ASALs,
  • The Council of Governors
  • The Judiciary
  • The Inter-Governmental Relations Technical Committee
  • The Commission for Revenue Allocation
  • County Governments
  • And many other ministries, departments, independent agencies and commissions.

Your Excellencies,

My own country is full of local histories, local cultures, and local rivalries. Every British person has many identities – English, Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish; Northerner or Southerner; Yorkshire or Lancashire, Manchester City or Manchester United. Many reflect ancient and sometimes bloody rivalries. Each gives us a sense of belonging and of history.

These differences are to be celebrated; they make us what we are. Our unity is found not in ignoring or subjugating them, or pretending they don’t exist. Instead we find strength in our diversity; we find ways of reflecting and embracing it in our politics and our government; and we seek to make sure everyone feels they have a say in the decisions which affect their lives, at the right time and the right level. It is continually a work in progress, but a vital one.

The same is true here in Kenya. This country took in its 2010 Constitution the ambitious and highly significant choice of embracing devolution. It offers a way of building peace and prosperity, and expanding inclusive service delivery. Expectations everywhere are high. The International Community on whose behalf I speak today is your partner in making devolution work for all Kenyans.

Already in a few short years so much has been achieved. As I travel around the country, particularly to the most remote and historically-marginalised areas, people often tell me that devolution has made a bigger difference to their lives than any other single event or process, and an overwhelmingly positive one. Devolution has a vital part to play in delivering Vision 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals and the Big Four.

Last year saw the next important phase, as elections brought a mix of continuity and change to county administrations and positions. In just the past months newly-elected governors, senators, speakers and members of county assemblies have been inducted, and begun or resumed their vital duties, from planning their work and how they fund it to engaging their populations.

No five year-old institution or indeed person has worked everything out yet, and we should not be surprised that devolution in Kenya still needs to address some significant challenges to realise its full potential.

Funds need to flow efficiently and accountably from centre to county and on into service delivery that most benefits Kenyan citizens. That requires the flow of resources to be predictable and transparent, and their management to be open and accountable at all stages. We need to see progress on public financial management at the county level, with strong county audits and efficient expenditure. Fighting corruption is critical to the attainment of all goals – from the Big Four to the smallest act of service delivery to an individual citizen.

Devolution brings government closer to the people it serves, and public participation is vital to success. Such participation can go much deeper. Youth, women and persons with disabilities, and citizens in historically marginalised areas within counties, should not be left behind. Letting citizens and civil society get engaged in drafting plans and budgets, and in overseeing implementation, ensures ownership and accountability.

County assemblies and the senate have a key role to play to ensure their legislative and oversight functions strengthen devolution.

Meanwhile counties have come together to form regional blocs, which are at various stages of development. These have huge potential – to strengthen trade, reduce conflict, and create efficiencies in improving service delivery. We in the international community are keen to support them.

We should seize every opportunity for lesson-learning and exchange of ideas and good practice between counties. It is in the counties that we find most of the innovation needed to realise the potential of devolution: all counties need to be aware and inspired by each other’s efforts. Sometimes healthy competition is important too: striving for example to be among the best counties for investors and for doing business will drive improvements that benefit all.

The presence of Kenya’s Development partners here today reflects our commitment to support devolution in Kenya. Over KES 10 billion has been spent on programmes supporting devolution over the last 7 years, with much more invested in key service delivery sectors such as health, agriculture, water and sanitation, climate change and urban development. Development partners have also supported initiatives to raise awareness and support civil society participation in the devolution process.

We strongly support this conference’s focus on the Big 4 agenda. County governments have a key role in realizing the targets set out by the Big 4.

And we are here not just to embrace the technical aspects, but also the spirit of devolution as envisioned in the Constitution. Kenyans from all corners of the country want to experience the real impact of devolution in their daily lives. This conference is a crucial forum to reflect on how we deliver that.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Before I conclude, let me say a word about the wider picture around today’s conference.

As friends of Kenya and supporters of its democracy, we in the international community welcome again the moves to political reconciliation that Kenya’s leaders have made since early March. It is great to see this gathering embrace and further those moves.

As we look ahead, let us focus on the common good. The Constitution, institutions and the rule of law represent the foundations of that common good, and they are precious. They provide the framework in which every Kenyan shares rights and obligations, and can seek fairness and justice. They need to be strengthened, not weakened, and Kenya’s leaders bear a special responsibility to lead in that.

Discussions between political leaders are important, and the new atmosphere since March is greatly welcome. But political discussions are not sufficient on their own. Kenyans should engage in a sustained, open, transparent and inclusive national conversation, involving people from all walks of life and leaders from ever section of Kenyan society – to move the country forward, strengthen its institutions, ensure accountability and justice, and give every Kenyan a stake in the important developments now under way for the future of this country. We stand ready to support this as friends and partners of this great nation.

On behalf of the international partners, I wish this conference every success.

May God bless us all, and may He bless this wonderful country of Kenya.

Asanteni sana.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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Source:: Opening remarks by the UK High Commissioner to Kenya during the 5th annual devolution conference


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European Union and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) launch a photo book on the success story of reducing malnutrition in Ethiopia

Today, the European Union (EU) and UNICEF launched a photo book entitled “Ending malnutrition in Ethiopia – A SUCCESS STORY” which illustrates Ethiopia’s success story in ending malnutrition, through the voices, stories and images of Ethiopians.

The nutrition photo book launch and photo exhibition held in the presence of Dr Abreham Alano, Head of the SNNP Regional Health Bureau, H.E Ambassador Johan Borgstam, Head of the European Union Delegation to Ethiopia, Ms Gillian Mellsop, UNICEF Representative to Ethiopia and other key stakeholders from the Government and other partners is a celebration of the success achieved so far in the reduction of malnutrition in Ethiopia while advocating for continued multi-sectoral efforts since malnutrition among children and women in Ethiopia remains a major concern.

It is also a celebration of how Ethiopia has managed to sustain improvements in nutrition, yet also a reminder of all the work that needs to be done to ensure everyone enjoys optimal nutrition.

On the occasion, Dr Abreham Alano, Head of the SNNP Regional Health Bureau thanked the EU and UNICEF for their support in results gained thus far in reducing stunting and malnutrition, on the health care utilization as well as maternal and child mortality reduction and urged them to continue their support until the targeted results are achieved.

Ambassador Johan Borgstam, Head of EU delegation to Ethiopia on his part said, “It is an honour for me to open this photo book and exhibition launching event today on a topic of malnutrition which is a priority of both the Government of Ethiopia and of the EU’s development cooperation policy. Malnutrition is not only a major health problem affecting children and adults in partner countries, it also has important economic and social dimensions challenging their development by deteriorating the well-being of their entire population.”

Ethiopia has experienced rapid and sustained improvements in nutrition during the past 15 years. For instance, the country has seen a steady reduction in stunting – the fastest rate of improvement in Africa – as well as a significant decline in the percentage of underweight and wasted children. Yet, Ethiopia remains in a precarious situation, with large absolute numbers of affected children: 5 million children are stunted and 1.3 million children under five suffer wasting.

“I would like to highlight the importance of long-term investments to ensure that progress is sustained in ending malnutrition in Ethiopia. While the achievements we recognize today are indeed a success story, we cannot afford to rest on our laurels. Undernutrition still remains a challenge and it requires us all to redouble our efforts to ensure that every child enjoys better health and nutrition,” said Ms Gillian Mellsop, UNICEF Representative to Ethiopia. With the Government’s leadership and the strong commitment of partners, this goal is achievable. Let’s walk together with the same single-minded determination, zeal, and focus to end undernutrition in Ethiopia.”

To further reduce these numbers, the EU has provided €10,000,000 to support vulnerable populations in 17 woredas (districts) in Oromia, SNNP and Amhara regions of Ethiopia through a project entitled “Multi-sectoral interventions to improve nutrition security and strengthen resilience.” This joint action plan which is being implemented by UNICEF and FAO aims to contribute to the improvement of nutritional status of children, adolescents, pregnant and lactating women using the life cycle approach.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

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Source:: European Union and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) launch a photo book on the success story of reducing malnutrition in Ethiopia


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South Africa to Host the Japan–Africa Public Private Economic Forum

South Africa will host the Japan–Africa Public Private Economic Forum at the Sandton Convention Centre from 3-4 May 2018.

The Forum follows an announcement made in 2016, in Nairobi, Kenya by Japanese Prime Minister, Mr Shinzo Abe where he outlined intentions to accelerate the promotion of private sector-led economic growth by encouraging further business encounters among Japanese and African companies.

Minister Davies says that the Japan-Africa Public Private Economic Forum which is organised by the government of Japan in collaboration with South Africa, with full involvement of the business leaders from both countries, will provide an opportunity for Japanese and African companies as well as key business and development related institutions to highlight their work in Africa.

“The Forum will provide participating countries with opportunities to capitalise on the presence of a wide range of business actors to reflect on their approach to boosting investment in their respective countries, including by leveraging necessary public and private resources. Discussions will zoom in on the challenges surrounding a private-sector-driven economic growth and showcase successful and innovative examples to explore way forward,” says Davies.

The Forum’s programme will include a plenary, thematic sessions, business-to-business meetings and exhibition to showcase Japanese products to open the way to new business frontiers and networking sessions among participants.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa.

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