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Omar

Omar
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A Non Governmental Organization has stepped up a great campaign called “ Count Every Child ” to issue all children with birth certificates. Plan International-Kwale Program Unit has partnered with the department of civil registration to ensure that all children born in Kwale are registered accordingly.

Birth Certificates for ChildrenDubbed “Count Every Child”, the campaign aims at promoting birth registration as a right for all children. This will ease the challenge parents go through when their children are due to register for national exams both at primary and secondary levels. Since the introduction of Free Primary Education by the Narc government in 2003, the government put in place a policy that requires all candidates to present birth certificates before registering for national examinations.

The failure to register a child continues to present enormous challenges especially to KCPE and KCSE candidates in Kwale County. This effectively has hampered their education, healthcare and legal protection. Failure to register children at an early age may in future force the victims to bear the burden of proving their citizenship. Consequently, the right to participate in the electoral process may be taken away when they attain adulthood. They may also be barred from accessing employment, loans, opening bank accounts, registering business, joining welfare groups and participating in the development of their county.

According to Plan International Program Unit manager Mr. John Okandi Kogada birth registration is a fundamental right which if denied may present real obstacles to many children around the globe. “Birth registration is a fundamental right. Birth registration allows a child to more easily access social services such as education and health care, prove who and how old he is thus helping to protect against child labour and child marriage and also helping them to have national identity making it easier to fight abuse and child trafficking,” Said Okandi.

Speaking in Lutsangani location in Kinango sub-county during the handing over of birth certificates to registered pupils , Mr. Okandi indicated that the organization is aiming to promote birth registration at grassroots level to increase awareness and therefore demand for certificates and also create innovative programmes for registration that are effective and sustainable to reach even the most remote populations. He said that the organization will work with the government of Kenya to ensure every child get the right to be registered.
“Plan as a child centered organization will continue working with the government of Kenya to ensure that this right is provided to all children not only here in Kwale but across the country and also at the global level,” said Okandi.

Plan Kenya has supported infrastructure development to enable use of ICT for birth registration, equipment support for use of ICT, digitization of historical records for upgrade to an ICT data base and extensive community awareness on child rights and importance of birth registration.  In the last three month the organization has been able to register over 5,000 children out of the targeted 20,000 children in Kenya.

Kinango officer of registration of Persons  - Lenard Maluvu - handing over birth certificate to a student

Kinango officer of registration of Persons – Lenard Maluvu – handing over birth certificate to a student

Kinango officer of registration of Persons Lenard Maluvu said that ignorance among the parents has led to failure of child registration. “Lack of national identity cards among the parents is also a challenge as a child cannot be registered without the identity of both parents,” said Malavu.

He urged parents to register their children before they attain the age of six months to avoid challenges that come with late registration. The officer blamed illiteracy among the parents as a factor in delaying the process as many parents have no knowledge on what to do to ensure their children are registered.

Over 600 pupils from Tsunza, Dzivani, Chizini and Gandini primary schools were registered. Other beneficiaries included Ruwatech Academy and Tsunza secondary school

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While our elected MCA´s are traveling to Singapore and spending more than 20.000.000 Schilling ( 20 mio ) our residents of Zigira, Kilole, Mwandimu, Masindeni, Msangatifu, Vidziani and Baselona villages in Kinondo and Msambweni have to walk for five kilometre to get clean water.

Water Shortage in Kwale For long time the villagers were depending fresh water from Deki dam but due to prolonged drought that affected the area ten years ago the dam dried up forcing them to walk for long distance looking for clean and fresh drinking water.

Though Kwale International Sugar Company Limited, KISCOL revived the dam, the residents say the water is not safety for use and for their health as the water in the dam is dirty and shallow and the sugar company is also using the same water for irrigation in their plantation.

However they said that for other domestic use, they are forced to fetch water from a nearby Mkurumudzi river and from a shallow dam around their residence which is not safe for their health. Mwanahamisi Omar claimed that she has to walk for all that kilometres to get clean water from Mkurumudzi River. In order to avoid the scorching sun during the day, she wakes up at 5am together with her three children to make two hour walk to the borehole. “The scorching sun will tire you, especially when walking on foot with a jerrican on your head. That why I prefer going for water early in the morning ”

Mwanahamisi says she has never had a chance to drink tap water but when it rains she ensures she tap water to avoid walking that long distance and to save her children the agony of fetching water before going to school. She added that if they could get a nearby water source it would save them.

Juma Saidi from Masinde Village says with the help of Kwale Sugar Company, KISCOL they managed to get a bore hole that is serving the whole community. “It has given us easier time as I can attend to other issues as i take shorter time to get water. But still there are some who come from as far as there kilometres to get the water ”

The question is: Why are over 600.00 Kwale County Citizens lack fresh water ??

The only fresh water sources, Tiwi boreholes and Marere Water Works that produces 20 million litres, 14 million litres of water is being supplied to Mombasa County – so only 30% of Kwale water could be used by Kwale Citizens. This one of the biggest reasons of water shortages in Kwale and as a result kwale county governor Salim Mvurya said his county plans to hold talks with coast water service board over water supplied to Mombasa from Kwale. He demanded part of the revenue generated from the water supplied to Mombasa county residents – sofar without success.

Secondly – Kwale county executive member for Water Services, Urban Planning and Decentralized Units Hemed Mwabudzo has inherited a rotten water company, Kwale Water and Sewerage Company (KWAWASCO) with heavy debts including those of Kenya Power Company of Ksh15 million, Coast Water Board more than Ksh37 million and Staff salaries debt of Ksh4 million.Mwabudzo said that due to the debts Kenya Power has been disconnecting power regularly thus causing frequent water shortages.

The County Government has put in place some actions to improve the water supply to our County. a) They installed a new board of directors to oversee operations of the water company. The board is also in the process of carrying out staff audit to determine personnel requirements to run the company efficiently so as to increase revenue from water services. b) They installed two new and more powerful water pumps costing Ksh6.4 million to boost the water supply to Kwale town and its environs. c) They have inspected all water distributions stations in the County and identified some weaknesses related to old pumping machines like is the case in Msambweni and Vanga towns.

Water Shortage in Kwale 3If there is a common agreement that fresh water is one of the most important live-essentials – then Kwale Government need to put more efforts and much more money into this burning issue.

Maybe we all should ask our local Ward Representative – so called MCA – why he spend millions in a trip to Singapore and not in fresh water !!!!