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Maisha Poa

Maisha Poa
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"As you think, so you become"

1143

On Sunday the 8th of march, during an event to mark the International Women’s Day, the TNA nominated Member of County Assembly Hon. Fatuma Nchizumo informed the gathering that she has developed a Bill in the assembly to curb the pornography and same sex relationships. The proposed law comes hot on the heels of the recent hullabaloo about young men alleged to be having sex with fellow young and older men in Diani Beach and Ukunda township.

If this Bill becomes law, Ms Nchizumo will go to the annals of history as a woman leader in Kwale who made a difference-a moral difference for that matter. Whether or not the Nchizumo Bill will sail through depends largely on the vote of the male dominated assembly. But I want to believe that Ms Nchizumo has all it takes to convince both male and female MCAs to see the logic in the law she is coming up with. In fact, I doubt if there is a single soul in the assembly who supports the barbaric act that gained prominence recently in the social media, but which until now, has seldom received the condemnation it deserves among the local political leadership.

Msambweni Sub-county Maendeleo ya Wanawake Chairperson, Zeituni Bakari Semayote addressing participants during the International Women’s Day at Nyumba Mbovu in Kinondo Ward, Msambweni Sub-county

Msambweni Sub-county Maendeleo ya Wanawake Chairperson, Zeituni Bakari Semayote addressing participants during the International Women’s Day at Nyumba Mbovu in Kinondo Ward, Msambweni Sub-county

But Ms Nchizumo’s hitherto noble cause doesn’t reflect the broader character of the Kwale woman, if what transpired during yesterday’s celebrations is anything to go by. Maendeleo ya Wanawake Organization which organized the event at Nyumba Mbovu in Juma Maone’s Kinondo Ward, is apparently a divided house. While a team led by the organization’s Msambweni Chairperson, Zeituni Bakari Semayote was holding a meeting at Nyumba Mbovu, another faction of MYWO allied to Kwale Couty Women Representative, Zainab Chidzuga was allegedly being ferried in mini buses to Baraza Park in Kwale town, where a similar celebration was taking place.

Although Msambweni and Matuga are two distinct sub-counties, meaning there was no harm in the leaders from the two areas organizing their IWD celebrations independently, observers read mistrust and disunity among women leaders in Kwale. That the county’s senior-most women representative in the national assembly chose to take sides during an occasion which was meant to showcase solidarity among women worldwide, Ms Chidzuga’s leadership skills and of course, ability to unite and inspire the womenfolk in Kwale was put to test.

Which brings me to question what interest Ms Chidzuga has in the politics of Maendeleo ya Wanawake-where she is the immediate former County Chairperson. Those whose political eyes were open in the 1980s and 1990s will remember that the oldest women organization in Kenya is perhaps the most used-if not misused outfits by political leaders to achieve their selfish interests. For a long time, MYWO was literally a women’s wing of the then ruling KANU. But with the falling from grace of the KANU regime, it was thought that Maendeleo would also grow with the democratic space achieved in the post KANU era. This does not seem to be the case, nearly twenty years since the disastrous fall of the jogoo party.

The question Kwale women leaders must now ask themselves is three-fold:

Do they see any reason for independence in the 21st Century ?

Do they think they have a political role to play in the devolved Kwale ?

If they can’t converge at a central place and deliberate on issues affecting them during an international occasion, do they ever hope to realize their aspiration of being considered equal partners with their male counterparts in building Kwale County ?

The women organization’s apparent crack contradicted this year’s theme “Make it Happen”- a slogan which was seen by many as a way of steering women leadership to greater heights.

Division among womenfolk in Kenya and Kwale in particular has been cited as the major reason women have failed to win elective positions over the years. Out of the twenty electoral wards in Kwale County, there is no single elected woman. Apart from Ms Chidzuga, the only other woman who has been elected to parliament was Ms Marere wa Mwachai nearly two decades ago. The ten women in the county assembly are beneficiaries of the affirmative action courtesy of the new constitution.

4991

If you thought history is only made after doing great things, then you better think again!

37 students at a local – Mwamzandi Secondary School – in Kwale County is reported to have registered 37 straight E´s. I mean E for elephant here. Whether this report is true, I’m yet to confirm; for I haven’t had a direct contact with the actual results of any school apart from what I have read in both formal and informal media.

KCPE Results 2014 by CountyBut be that as it may, if such reports are accurate, then they must be treated with the seriousness they deserve. For starters, a normal classroom should have an average of 40 occupants. If this was the case in the said school, it means only three students managed D and above.

This also generates more questions…were the boys and girls at a school named for a prominent son of Kwale-Hon. Kassim Mwamzandi learning on their own for the last four years before sitting for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education or were the fellows charged with tutoring not undertaking their duties properly. Put differently, wasn’t it possible for the management, teachers and parents of Mwamzandi Secondary School to detect that something was amiss in the four years that the students spent in school before they sat for the exams?

Reliable sources inform me that there is something particularly wrong with the discipline among the students of this hitherto good school. A recent visit to some of the local schools by the Court Users Committee made some interesting revelations concerning the ability of students to interact with visitors. While my sources have a lot of praise for one Madago Secondary School, where students are not only disciplined, but also confident while articulating issues, Mwamzandi students I’m told came across as a disappointing lot. Their concentration rate even during the short encounter they had with the CUC is below average as their way of engagement is casual. My informants were not surprised that they could manufacture as many E´s as possible.

But this is beside the point. The point is are we doing enough to address the customary lackadaisical educational standards in our county ? To be fair enough, the answer to my own question would be YES and NO. I’ll begin by addressing the NO part first. NO because we cry foul every time the exam results are out and then bury our heads in the sands like the proverbial ostrich when the shock and annoyance with those we think are culpable have dissipated. In fact from April up to December, it’s going to be business as usual. Then come December when KCPE results are out, we’ll resurface with the same old, boring noises as we prepare to witness what comes out from the KCSE.

YES because despite the education docket being in the purview of the national government, the county government has made it its topmost priority. This is the reason a larger number of learners at all levels are accessing bursaries and an equally larger number have the privilege to enjoy the CG scholarship for a cool four years-as long as they are hard working enough to score marks that are admissible in national schools.

The putting up of infrastructure for Early Childhood Development in Education as well as technical centres not to mention the hitherto controversial airlifting of the youth to study in India are a further evidence that someone is thinking critically about enhancing education in Kwale County.

But these efforts will not bear fruit if all of us don’t embrace education as the key to success. There is need for a complete overhaul in the way things are being done. If it was within my power, all the private secondary schools which have not recorded impressive national examination outcome would be denied the license to operate as they are a disgrace to academic progress in this county. All the members of the BOG of schools such as Mwamzindi would go home and parents in such schools would be made to report to the school management the progress of their children at home in terms of discipline and general behavior on a weekly basis.

Kwale County – KCPE Results – Statistics

At least someone should take responsibility every time we witness such disastrous performances. And there is a great need for the community to support the organizations working to uplift the standard of education by advocating for attitude change towards education. It’s also necessary to develop new strategies of enhancing educational standard and avoid as plague the unworkable once which we tried before but never bore any fruits. There is also need to have regular discourses on education just as much as we engage in politics. Let’s say, have monthly educational forums in each sub-counties to share challenges our educational institutions face and come up with ways forward in good time. Political leaders who are prone to putting up schools merely to gain political mileage must develop a culture of consultation with the community and education stakeholders so that such projects are not only relevant but also have the blessings of the community. I acknowledge that I don’t have a monopoly of ideas so I must stop.

But I challenge all of us to start looking at education issues differently

1357

Civil society organizations working in Kwale County will soon have a central secretariat if the talks among leaders of various local organizations bear fruit. The objective of establishing an umbrella body for the local community based organizations and groups has been made necessary by the presence of so many organizations whose mandate is not clear. The proliferation of groups doing community work has resulted in duplication of projects and activities whose impact is hardly felt on the ground.

In September last year, the local CSOs operating mainly in Msambweni, Matuga and Kinango held a meeting in which it was resolved that the civil society should strengthen networks and have common positions on issues affecting the community. Subsequently, an idea of coming up with Kwale County Civil Society Working Group (KCCSWG) was floated. Though largely a loose out, the group has been instrumental in bringing various organization working in Kwale to adopt a common position on a number of governance issues of interest to the Kwale people. Among the issues that the group has made its presence felt in include the Mining Bill 2014, the Kwale County Bursary Bill which has since been enacted into law. Recently, the group was among participants in the poorly attended meeting to discuss the public participation bill at Red Cross hall in Ukunda.

The group representatives led by Kwale Human Rights Network Coordinator George Jaramba, poked holes in the bill which they informed the County Assembly’s Committee on Justice and Delegated Legislation that needed more input from the public before it is taken for debate in the assembly. The group also presented views to the task-force on historical injustices which sat in Mombasa late last year.

But the group now seeks to formalize itself and play a more vital role of establishing strong networks and work towards influencing policy direction at the county government departments. If it finally formalizes, the group’s likely pioneer members will be Kwale Human Rights Network (Kwale Hurinet), Kwale County Natural Resources Network (KCNRN), Kwale County Education Network (KCEN) and Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI) which operates in all the six coastal counties.

Atrash Muhammad Ali - Regional Manager Aga Khan Foundation

Atrash Muhammad Ali – Regional Manager Aga Khan Foundation

Others include Lamukani CBO and Msambweni Human Rights Watch (Msamwatch) both of which are affiliate members of Kwale Hurinet. The three networks are currently partnering with Aga Khan Foundation-Kenya in Kwale to implement a project dubbed  Citizen Voices in Governance. The project focuses on promotion of gender equality, education and livelihoods through sustainable development. The three networks are working closely with the relevant departments at the county government to implement the project aimed at enhancing equal opportunities for gender participation in governance as well as address the dwindling education standard in Kwale. The livelihood component which is undertaken by KCNRN is crucial in uplifting the lives of the local populace in the face of the increase of extractive industry in the sub-region.

Aga Khan Foundation-Kenya Coast Regional Manger Atrash Mohamed addressing a capacity building workshop at Hillpark Hotel in Kwale

950

Journalism can make Change – justice is on its way to the innocent Kinango girls.

 

Last Wednesday, Eyes on Kwale carried a story on the runaway sexual offences against young girls in Kinango Sub-county. The story emphasized the apparent indifference by both the community and law enforcement authorities on the menace that has resulted in numerous cases of girls dropping out of primary schools after becoming pregnant.

Last Friday, 2 days after we published, police in Kinango made a couple of arrests and this morning two men were arraigned in Kwale court charged with the offence of defilement under the Sexual Offences Act No. 3 of 2006.

 

Sec-Criminals-in-Kinango-8Nsira Juma aged 40 pleaded not guilty and will be remanded in custody with an option of Ksh 100,000 bond with a similar surety.

Ali Njemo pleaded guilty but the court has ordered further investigations into the matter to determine his age. The court also instructed the police to return to court in fourteen days after assessing the age of the accused person with appropriate report. Ali Njemo himself said his age would be 17 years. The underage girl with whom Njemo committed the offence was a class four pupil and is currently pregnant.

The duo will however will stay in prison till they have to appear in court on July 24th for the mention of their cases. Both suspects allegedly committed the offences with underage girls. If they are found guilty, they risk being sentenced to imprisonment for not less than twenty years including life sentence without an option of a fine.

Eyes on Kwale will keep you posted on the progress of the two cases.

( Note : If Njemo is really 17 he will be considered underage and he will not be sentenced the same way adults are sentenced. If he’s underage he will be remanded in arbostal – a kind of place where young underage boys are detained for about three years )

1383

A local Community based organization yesterday held a career exhibition in Kwale County to sensitize secondary school students on career choice. Kwale Welfare and Education Association (KWEA) convened the one-stop educational event at Matuga Girls’ High School where more than 200 students from fifteen secondary schools sampled from Lunga-Lunga, Msambweni, Matuga and Kinango sub-counties converged.

Representatives of about twenty public and private sectors, public universities as well as tertiary institutions delivered motivational talks and carefully led the students in the process of choosing relevant careers.

2nd career exhibition in Kwale County - Maisha is leading the way

2nd career exhibition in Kwale – Maisha is leading the way

The event was the second one of its kind since KWEA launched the exercise at Kwale High School last year. Career exhibitions are increasingly becoming necessary to build the capacity of students to enable them pick suitable careers while joining universities and other institutions of higher learning.

The KWEA exercise comes at a time when employers are questioning the preparedness of university graduates to competently operate in the job market. A recent study conducted by the Inter-University Council of East Africa (IUCEA) reveals that only half of the more than 50,000 students who graduate annually are suitable for employment. “And of these graduates, more than half are not suited to their career choice,” notes the report.

The challenge is attributed to the proliferation of satellite campuses, understaffing of public universities and the thirst and haste by Kenyan form four leavers to obtain impressive academic papers to secure jobs at the expense of seeking relevant career advice.

Local education stakeholders have in the past decried the underinvestment in research facilities in the local institutions as another disease ailing education. Indeed, efforts to remedy challenges that have culminated in poor academic results have partly been blamed on inadequate research or lack of it, to ascertain the causes of perennial poor performance.

‘There’s a great need to invest in research if we expect to address causes of poor academic performance in our schools,” said Taita Taveta University College Principal Prof. Hamadi Boga in a recent education stakeholders meeting in Kwale.

But KWEA, a group mainly comprising young professionals from Kwale have developed a holistic initiative to address the ailing education sector in Kwale. The career exhibition is one of the numerous programmes the group is currently undertaking to boost the dwindling academic standards in Kwale based primary and secondary schools.

KWEA - 2nd Career Exhibition 2According to KWEA chairperson Ramadhan Masudi Bungale, the organization is currently working on a series of programmes with all primary and secondary schools in the four sub-counties. “Each KWEA member has been assigned at least two schools to mentor,” says Bungale.

Among the organization’s on-going programs include Visodo Project-distribution of sanitary towels in schools as a way of keeping the girl child in school. The programme has increasingly grown popular in the past couple of years so much, so that it has attracted the attention of Build Africa-a UK based NGO which is currently partnering with KWEA to expand the project in more schools to benefit the girl child in Kwale.

Another of KWEAs principle programmes is the annual charity walk which was launched last year to raise funds for returning desperate girls to school. The walk raised more than Ksh. 300,000 which has since benefitted more than forty girls in Kwale. The annual programme is set to take place on the first Saturday of December every year.

Other on-going projects include mentorship and motivational talks in schools. Bungale also disclosed that KWEA is developing a program document on mentorship and employability for Kwale schools.

KWEA - 2nd Career Exhibition 4The occasion was officially opened by Kwale Governor, Salim Mvurya. The County government of Kwale has been one of KWEAs closest partners in its advocacy in education for all. During the function, the Governor pledged to assign one vehicle every weekend to KWEA members to use in their programmes.

The Governor reiterated his call for the return of the management of primary and secondary schools to the county governments. The drafters of the constitution, he noted, did not think wisely when they placed the management of education in the purview of the national government.

“How does someone sitting in Jogoo House understand what’s happening in our schools,” posed the Governor. He commended KWEA members for their unrelenting efforts to empower students and informed the gathering that his government will in the next financial year, double bursaries from Ksh. 5 Million to 10 Million per ward.

The County Executive Committee member for Education Mr. Mangale Ndegwa, said his department will continue working closely with KWEA to uplift education standards in Kwale. He informed the meeting that his ministry had established a program dubbed Elimu ni Sasa Initiative which has implemented the provision of bursaries and scholarships for several students in Kwale.

Also present was the Country Director of Education who is also KWEA patron Mr. Juma Mwatenga, the CEC for Lands, Mining and Natural Resources Mr. Ali Mwafimbo and his Community Development counterpart Patrick Mtsami. Others included the CEC Trade, Industry and Investments Ms Safina Tsungu and a host of senior government officials.

Professors Hamadi Boga and Halimu Shauri represented Taita Taveta and Pwani Universities respectively. Other institutions represented included, Barclays Bank, KCB, Kenya Maritime Authority, Moi University, MKU, UoN, MTTC –Msambweni and Kwale among others. Several secondary schools and NGOs were also represented.

 

1368

Kinango sub-county is adrift with violation on rights of children.

Last March a bizarre incident occurred at Mazola Sub-location in Puma Ward which has left residents dumfounded. A man tied up the hands of his two daughters aged five and seven years respectively; poured paraffin and set fire to the hands of the innocent minors.

Sex-Criminals-in-KinangoJawa Luphande was later to claim that he committed the inhumane act under the influence of alcohol. The mother of the two little angels, Mnyanzi Ruwa, was crestfallen and torn between whether to have her husband charged with assault and bid farewell to the marriage or accept what had happened and move on with the marriage. Coming up with a bold decision has remained a big headache for her.

But her brother, Alfred Ruwa did not take the matter lightly. He took his two nieces to hospital and reported the matter to Kinango police station. But till today, Alfred has not been able to get a P3 form to enable him seek justice for the tSec-Criminals-in-Kinango-4wo girls.

“I have been to the police station often but I’m told the officer who filled the P3 is on leave,” says Alfred, a teacher at Istiqama Secondary School in Kinango. In the absence of a duly filled P3 form, the suspect will walk free because the police have no evidence to charge him for what he allegedly did.

This is but an isolated case. Violations of children rights in Kinango are predominantly sexual. But the prevailing conspiracy of silence among the victims’ families has made the trend spread in the area like gospel.

In one primary school for example, in Puma Ward, Rehema (not her real name) has dropped out of school after conceiving a few months ago. She was in class seven at the time of becoming pregnant. Another under-age girl in the same school and class gave birth recently while another one who sat for KCPE last year did not manage to join form one this year because she just gave birth early in the year. This trend is replicated in all the seven wards making up Kinango Sub-county.

What is worrying is not that such incidents happen to such young girls who are ill-prepared to have a family and are denied the right to education; the apparent indifference that the community exhibits lends credence to the vice.

“There’s a growing fear of victimization of the victims and families either physically or through witchcraft,” says Blandiner Tatu, a community worker in Kinango Ward. Poverty she says, is a driving factor in having girls engage in sex at a tender age.

“Around age 14 is when girls start thinking that they’re beautiful and they need stuff to make them appreciate the feeling; hence their vulnerability to men who will give them small cash tokens to have sex with them,” says Tatu, a community library attendant in Kinango town.

According to David Jiti, a voluntary children officer (VCO) in Kinango sub-county, cases of defilement are rife in all the seven wards. “Every year we receive not less than ten cases of under-age girls who have been made pregnant by persons known to their families. But after reporting, the families of victim don’t make follow up,” says Jiti.

Sec-Criminals-in-Kinango-2Jiti also reveal another challenge he faces.

“There are occasions where a suspect needs to be arrested but the police are having no means of transport,” he says. Kinango Police station has one vehicle which is not in good mechanical shape. At times when there is an urgent matter, the police borrow a vehicle from other government departments. “And at times there is no fuel and the person in need of the service is asked to fuel the vehicle,” says Jiti who also notes that most of the victims of sexual offences come from poor economic backgrounds and cannot afford to help the police fuel vehicles.

Consequently, such cases end up being resolved using alternative dispute resolution mechanisms at the family level between the family of the victim and that of the suspect.

At 15 years of age, Halima is a mother of a 6 months old baby girl. She dropped out of school at class five after conceiving last year. The person she claims to be the father of her child is a form four student at a local school. Halima’s father, a subordinate staff at a private firm in Mombasa is so bitter that his first born daughter is already a mother, uneducated with a baby whose father cannot only take care, but has not admitted liability.

“I’ve received very little support from the authorities to have the person who did this thing to my daughter punished,” says the father, whose name has been concealed to protect Halima. Halima was rescued by an organization taking care of young mothers a few months before she delivered and is currently being taken care of by the organization in a home situated in Diani Beach as the suspected culprit awaits to sit his final exams at a Kwale based school.

Early this year, the police told Halima’s family to help look for the boy and report to police so he can be charged in court. But recently, when a VCO handling Halima’s case reported to Kinango police that he had found out where the boy was (in a local boarding school), Kinango OCS Mary Wanyonyi reportedly told the VCO that arresting the boy in school could lead to students unrest in that school.

As a result of the absence of action taken against the culprits, girls aged less than 18 years have dropped out school after getting pregnant while others have been married off to the fellows who made them pregnant or any available suitor, for that matter.

According to the Sexual Offences Act section 8 (i) “A person who commits an act which causes penetration with a child is guilty of an offence termed defilement;” and that a person who defiles a child aged 11 or less shall “upon conviction be sentenced to imprisonment for life.”

This story has however captured cases of girls between the ages of 14 and 17 which are also catered for by this law. For instance, section 8 (iii) of the same act says thus: “A person who commits an offence of defilement with a child between the age of twelve and fifteen years is liable upon conviction imprisonment for a term not less than twenty years;” while if the same offence is committed against a child aged between 16 and 18 years, the culprit if convicted shall be jailed for not less than 15 years.

The act is also very clear on the punishment that should be administered to suspects who are below the age of 18: “Where the person charged with an offence under this Act is below the age of eighteen years, the court may upon conviction, sentence the accused person in accordance with the provisions of the Borstal Institutions Act and the Children’s Act.”

Despite the perceived harshness of the act, the accused persons have the opportunity for defence in court and the following are the details for defence: It is a defence to a charge under this section if: –

(a) it is proved that such child, deceived the accused person into believing that he or she was over the age of eighteen years at the time of the alleged commission of the offence; and
(b) The accused reasonably believed that the child was over the age of eighteen years. The belief referred to in subsection (b) is to be determined having regard to all the circumstances, including any steps the accused person took to ascertain the age of the complainant.

Sec-Criminals-in-Kinango-3The poor infrastructure in Kinango, inaccessible roads and inadequate medical facilities has made it difficult for survivors to access justice. Gabriel Barasa, a field coordinator of children rights with Kwale Human Rights Network admits that there is a big challenge in Kinango. “The starting point is to conduct a massive community awareness campaigns in Kinango and build the capacity of all players in children issues,” says Barasa adding that his organization is looking for a donor to help put up an office in Kinango to help address the menace.

The story of Kinango depicts it, as a place where the rule of law, as far as children rights are concerned, is absolutely absent.

1469

The Suggestion by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) that teachers should have a code of conduct is long overdue

Teachers should take this in good faith. The proposal should be viewed from a much broader perspective including 1) what inspired the decision 2) how it will impact on the state of education 3) what is going to be done to ensure that the regulations are adhered to by the teachers and lastly 4) how the suggested regulations are going to be enforced and sustained.

That the teaching profession is noble is not in doubt. Given the importance of the profession, developing sound policies to safeguard it should be the desire of every progressive society. The Kenyan teacher is arguably one of the poorest paid and perhaps the most economically disadvantaged. This is evident in the numerous industrial strikes the teachers have taken part in virtually every year to demand for the improvement of their welfare by the TSC. Despite the regular strikes however, the teachers’ employer has not been able to come up with a conclusive remedy for their plight.

Kwale Teacher 2Consequently, the teachers have opted to engage in all manner of economic activities to supplement their meager wages-a scenario that has seen a big number of them taking more time doing their own businesses than undertake services for which they are employed.

The result of this has been perennial poor academic performance by a number of schools in different parts of the country. Though the lackluster academic record of some of those dismally performing schools is attributed to other factors, teacher absenteeism or technical appearance at school due to engagement elsewhere can be avoided. And there’s no better way of doing so than putting in place some tough rules for the teachers.

There are also other issues such as indiscipline and immoral behaviors among teachers which is manifest in having sexual relationships with pupils/students and which have in many occasions resulted in cases of unplanned pregnancies among the female learners. Cases of corporal punishment that have also ended up in serious injuries or deaths rightfully justify the need for stringent code of conduct to govern the day to-day-engagement of the membership of the teaching fraternity.

Indeed a number countries including those in Europe, Asia and America have detailed policies and legislation to oversight the teachers’ conduct. Though many of such countries have dwelt on the teachers’ moral behavior and dressing code, they have not expressly given the teachers permission to engage in activities that would put paid to their professionalism like indulging in other economic activities.

However, the tough rules cannot bear fruits in the absence of improved welfare for the teachers. If the profession is as noble as it is believed to be, then the TSC must jealously guard its employees’ welfare and interests.

In California State in the US, there is a teachers’ code of regulations. “A certificated person (teacher) shall not use for his/her own private gain or advantage the time, facilities, equipment, or supplies which is the property of his/her employer without the express or clearly implied permission of his/her employer” says a section of the code.

Kwale Teacher 4Closer home in Rwanda, the government has put in place a national policy on teacher development and management – a comprehensive document which provides a detailed guideline on the teacher training, remuneration and general welfare as well as the penalties against those entrusted with the implementation of the policy in the event of professional misconduct or negligence.

Indeed, a committed teacher, whose commitment is evident in the results his /her students obtain, definitely needs an equally generous employer to reciprocate their efforts. The commission must therefore up its game to ensure that teacher’s welfare is not defined by the salary he earns alone.
Even as it comes up with the code of conduct, TSC must review some of its policies and create a suitable environment for the teacher to work in and reward hard-working teachers with extra emoluments outside the salaries and loans.

Why for instance, is it necessary to buy cars for members of parliament who work “reasonably” for only three days a week and fail to do the same to a teacher who goes to school six days a week and works extra hours nearly every day?

If this and many other questions are answered, even the Kwale teachers who have threatened to disobey the proposed regulations would have a more positive view of the teaching profession. A contented servant will always undertake his duty with unrivaled passion hence impressive output.

999

The county government of Kwale plans to plant one million trees

This would be one of its efforts to conserve environment, says the County Executive in charge of land, environment and natural resources Ali Mafimbo.

“Out of this target, fifty thousand trees have already been planted,” said the minister adding that his ministry has projected to increase the forest cover by 10 per cent. The minister was addressing stakeholders during the official launch of Kwale County Natural Resources (KCNRN) strategic plan at Kwale Cultural Centre in Kwale town.

Mr Mafimbo who was holding brief for the deputy governor, Fatma Achani, informed participants that his ministry was developing a policy that would regulate charcoal burning. While acknowledging that majority of the residents of Kwale were low income earners who depended on charcoal as a source of energy, he said the activity could seriously degrade the environment if sound policy was not put in place.

The Chairperson of Kwale County Natural Resources Network, Ms Mwanahawa Salim presents the organization's strategic plan for 2014-2018 to CEC for Lands, Environment and Natural Resources Mr. Ali Mafimbo

The Chairperson of Kwale County Natural Resources Network, Ms Mwanahawa Salim presents the organization’s strategic plan for 2014-2018 to CEC for Lands, Environment and Natural Resources Mr. Ali Mafimbo

The minister revealed that the county government had set aside a budget to use in purchasing land from residents who were willing to sell their land at competitive rates. He noted that the county government did not have adequate land for expansion and so would resort to buying land from members of the community. He said three companies including East African Exploration Company and Rift Energy were already exploring for oil and gas in Kwale County.

Despite being endowed with enormous natural wealth, Kwale County is rated among the poorest counties in Kenya. The level of poverty and unemployment has skyrocketed with the official national poverty index putting the local poverty level at more than 70%. Not even the proposed mining bill of 2014 seems to have taken into account the wishes of Kwale people as the bill is structured in a way that has got very little, if any, to do with the county governments.

The minister lauded the leadership of KCNRN for its effort to sensitize the community on the need to participate in the natural resources ownership and management.

“ You cannot separate Kwale people from natural resources „

“You cannot separate Kwale people from natural resources,” said the minister adding that his ministry had already given its views on the proposed draft mining bill yet to be tabled in parliament for debate.

“What we have in Kwale is wealth in the midst of poverty,” said Mafimbo. In a recent forum organized by Human Rights Agenda (HURIA) at Hillpark Hotel in Tiwi, participants criticized the bill which they claimed gave the cabinet secretary for mining excess powers while completely ignoring the county governments. The forum was also attended by Mr. Mafimbo and the chairperson of mining committee in the county assembly Mr. Meruphe Ndoro,

In an effort to improve the bill, participants recommended among other things to establish a County Dispute Resolution Board to comprise small scale miners, chief geologist, Chairperson of the mining committee in the county assembly, two members of the county assembly (MCAs) coming from the mining zone and one representative from the national government. The board, they proposed, should be chaired by the County Executive Committee member in charge of mining. The bill as it is currently, gives dispute resolution responsibility to the cabinet secretary for mining.

Today’s forum was also addressed by the county executive for community development Mr. Patrick Mtsami and the chief officer for lands, environment and natural resources Dr. Mohamed Pakia. Others were the former permanent secretary for forestry and wildlife Mr. Mwarapayo Mwachai, the Matuga Sub-county deputy county commissioner, Msambweni Sub-county administrator Mr. Hamisi Mwandaro and a host of representatives from organizations, government and private sector.

2195

Head teacher Mr. Mwakaga Zecha requested KWEA officials to help

The administration of Menzamwenye Primary School in Dzombo Ward has admitted that its pupils have difficulties speaking or writing in the English language. Speaking during a motivational talk event conducted by Kwale Welfare and Education Association (KWEA) in the school last Saturday, the head teacher Mr. Mwakaga Zecha requested KWEA officials to help the school devise a strategy to help the pupils develop a liking for the subject.

“All examiAdministration of Menzamwenye Primary School in Dzombo Wardnable subjects except Kiswahili are set in English; so if the learners are weak in the subject, they’re not likely to register good results in the other subjects,” pleade Mr. Zecha.

KWEA works with sampled schools in the four sub-counties of Lunga-Lunga, Msambweni, Matuga and Kinango with the objective of helping the learners improve in their academic development. The organization’s chairperson Mr. Masoud Ramadhani Bungale assured the pupils that KWEA will do what it can to ensure that the school improved in the county and national grading.

He said his organization was currently collecting books including English story books which will soon be distributed to various schools. “As a matter of fact, we’ve earmarked Menzamwenye Primary school as the launching pad of our book distribution exercise,” said Bungale.

Three top class eight pupils were rewarded by the chairperson for impressive performance in the KWEA exam that the school undertook last term. The trio, Praise Mwikali, Chaka Tsuma and Abubakar Nzaphila Mbetsa scored 367, 348 and 337 respectively. Female pupils in classes six, seven and eight also benefitted from free sanitary towels donated by KWEA. A similar exercise was also conducted in Menzamwenye and Shimoni Secondary schools.

KWEA is engaged in a series of activities to uplift the standard of education in Kwale schools. The organization comprising mainly young graduates who went to school under challenging environments works closely with the local leadership and the private sector to accomplish its objective.

Last December, KWEA secured a place in history as the first organization to successfully organize a charity walk to raise funds to support the girl child. The exercise earned the admiration of various county leaders led by Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya and a host of elected leaders.

Last April, the organization in collaboration with Gombato Ward Representative Omari Iddi Boga organized an educational symposium at Gombato Secondary school where more than two hundred secondary and university graduates converged. The students were addressed by among others, Prof. Hamadi Boga (Taita Taveta University College), Prof Halimu Shauri and Mr. Musa Yeya both of Pwani University.

The KWEA has also organized a career exhibition which will be held at Matuga Girls High School on June 7th this year.

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The 2nd Career Exibition of KEWA will take place on June the 7th at Matuga Girls Highschool.
The aim is to sensitize about the opportunities of higher education.

Date: 7th June 2014

Time: 9.00 am to 4.00pm

Venue: Matuga Girls High School


KWEA (Kwale Welfare and Education Association), is a community based organization formed by young university graduates from  Kwale county.

The young and dynamic professionals were driven by their passion for development in their community, yet had been rather pained by persistent poor academic performance in the county that has deteriorated to shameful levels. The desire to form a platform that would spur development in Kwale County was born in early 2009 and the idea of KWEA CBO was consequently championed and realized then.

The name KWEA is symbolic. It is a Swahili word denoting ‘CLIMB’, meaning the upward mobility, and connoting the progressive movement and development of a people’.

The members are carefully selected volunteers with academic success stories accomplished through a lot of financial challenges due to poor backgrounds. This is to ensure that their stories inspire young learners in a bid to change their attitude towards the learning process.

KWEA - 2nd Career Exhibition Invitation