The introduction of devolution in Kenya marked a significant shift in Kenya’s political governance system. A system that has tremendously emboldened communities and the people, elevated their voices, and put them at the center of decision-making in development projects.
One of the counties that have benefited greatly from the frits of devolution is the County of Narok. Three years down the line, there is a lot that can be seen courtesy of Kenya’s constitutional law on devolution.
Narok County residents now believe the evidence of their eyes, that when local residents are involved in decision-making, high-impact projects are prioritized, and transformation occurs. For many decades now in the expansive Narok County tens of thousands of people have shared their domestic water sources with animals or relied on unprotected wells that are breeding grounds for pathogens.
In three years of devolution, the County government has partnered with the Japan and the representatives of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and now Narok town residents are set for additional 4million liters supply of clean water per day after JICA handed over a 1.5 billion shillings’ water project to the County government after completion.
Livestock plays a significant role in the support of the local livelihoods. Narok County is famously known as home to more than 1.3 million herd of cattle and an estimated population of 2.5 million sheep and. The dairy herd and crosses comprise of an estimated 0.255million while 1.05M million are beef cattle.
The County has also acquired 14 milk cooling plants to be installed across the county to preserve milk and avail the same to the market with minimum losses. These cooling plants will be managed by farmer co-operative societies. Thousands of local livestock farmers have long grappled with the spiraling challenge of large scale milk storage and value addition in livestock enterprises.
The county’s interest is to increase the bargaining power of the dairy farmer, and begin to work on the prospects of large scale milk storage facilities in the county, and ultimately work toward a milk products processing plant in Narok County.
Their investment is a package that includes infrastructure like the cooling tanks, value addition, extension services and education to farmers to adopt modern technology and better land use activities that creates wealth.
The opportunities in the agricultural sector are immense. At present, the sector contributes 23 percent to the country’s GDP and 27 percent indirectly through forward and backward linkages.
Investing in value addition, advocating for reduction in costs of farm inputs, and eliminating hurdles to market access can strengthen the agricultural sector, increase employment, and proved necessary solutions to food security challenges. Narok County has made this clear in their development agenda framed in the County Integrated Development Plan, and they are making every effort to breathe life into these plans..
The County has already made budgetary provisions for all the sectors that support agricultural competiveness. These include;
Over the past three years, Narok County has employed 240 new health workers, which is a key achievement in the Health and Sanitation department during this period, which has seen tremendous improvement in the delivery of health services. The appointed service providers of different cadres were deployed to various existing health facilities.
To keep improving on service delivery, periodic training and skills upgrade of various cadres of health workers is continuous improvement of the quality of health services offered in the county. The health department actively participates in the national Capacity Assessment for the Rationalization of the Public Service (CARPS) exercise.
Narok County has further enhanced emergency response services in the County have been strengthened by the provision of 11 ambulances by the County government. Thousands of lives in emergency situations, especially expectant mothers have been saved. The ambulances are operated by the professional Red Cross team.
The County government has upgraded of Narok County Referral Hospital, Transmara West Sub County Hospital, Lolgorian Sub County Hospital and Ololulunga Sub County Hospital.
Narok County has zeroed in on the most productive segment of the society that is youth, and opened up ventures for them by offering loans and other support material to get established in business. It has tapped in the largely untapped resource that is the boda-boda industry by establishing and registering Sacco’s to help encourage saving among this growing industry. Ithas also built markets and created space for the women to sell their merchandise as we encourage small scale and micro finance establishments.
Among its key success milestones:
Apart from the implementation of ECDE programmes the department of education in Narok County has also put in place a programme to support primary schools and secondary schools as Narok County is an ASAL region and as devolution came into effect the county had many challenges in the Education sector.
Programmes and activities that have already been undertaken
Related: Drought, Land Issues Major Challenges to the People of Narok County