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UN in Sh56m Kisumu conservation project

KISUMU, Kenya, Feb 12 – The United Nation Human Settlement Programme (HABITAT) has joined hands with private firms to promote an integrated sustainable waste management practices in the Kisumu municipality through a public-private partnership.

The Sh56 million project is funded through a grant from the Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency and aims at improving urban environment and poverty reduction.

UN-HABITAT Human Settlements Officer Cecilia Kinuthia said Kisumu town will act as a model in a bid to strengthen the capacities of urban centres located along the shores of Lake Victoria.

Ms Kinuthia said the project would address the challenges facing the Lake Victoria urban settlements in promoting integrated sustainable waste management approaches with high regional replication potential.

“The project that began in 2007 will adopt several capacity building approaches for the improvement of the regulatory environment,” said Ms Kinuthia.

She said that the Lake Victoria region which is home to over 35 million inhabitants is experiencing rapid urbanisation and said the high population has led to overwhelming demand for urban services and infrastructure.

“The result has seen environmental degradation arising from poor management of resources, inadequate capacity to handle increased urban demands coupled with poor governance,” she said.

Ms Kinuthia said they are working with community based groups, small medium enterprises and civil society organisations in providing urban services to reduce poverty among communities living in the region.

She said the interventions are directed towards employment and income generation, improving living conditions for the urban poor, provide cleaner environment and offer employment.

She said the project had borrowed heavily from the good practices in urban environmental management, employment creation and improved service delivery developed by the International Labour Organisation under the public private partnership approach.

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It is expected that Kisumu will adopt and institutionalise a truly favourable approach to integrate waste management by the end of the programme.

“It is envisaged that the environmental situation in Kisumu will improve and roll out to other urban centres along the Lake Victoria, with the creation of jobs to the poor communities in the waste management sector,” she said.

Ms Kinuthia announced that the necessary institutional changes and legislation to provide an appropriate framework to address the waste water and solid in Kisumu town are in place but the progress has been slow.

“Only the Kisumu Water and Sewerage Company has been established as an autonomous service delivery organisation,” she said.

Speaking in Kisumu during a review meeting of the project, Ms Kinuthia said the rapid unplanned settlement in Kisumu town has made it difficult for the council to provide better service delivery to its residents.

The municipal water supply system produces 20,000 cubic metres per day servicing 224, 000 people. The demand for treated water within the municipality is approximately 50,000 cubic metres per day which is a disparity of 30,000 cubic metres.

“About 60 percent of the municipal residents have no piped or treated water hence seek alternative supply of their daily needs,” she said.

However, she is optimistic that soon there will be an improvement with the ongoing works on the water and sewerage services by the Lake Victoria South Water Services Board.

Ms Kinuthia said the waste management project expected to end in one year’s time will be scaled up to other major towns at the shores of Lake Victoria like Bondo, Homa Bay, Mbita, Kendu Bay amongst others.

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She said the similar pilot projects were being carried out in Musoma, Bukoba and Mwanza towns in Tanzania. In Uganda the pilot project is being undertaken in Kampala, Entebbe and Jinja towns.

She added that the project will contribute to the sustainable development of the Lake Victoria Basin and reduce the population of the lake.

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