MAKUENI, Kenya, Aug 18 – The Ministry of Devolution and Planning, the European Union (EU) and National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) in partnership with County Government of Makueni has officially launched the Mbasya Water Project in Makinya Location, Kalawa Ward of Makueni County.
Speaking during the launch on Thursday, Devolution Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri, stated that the government recognises better drought management as one of the essential foundations.
“The decision to construct dams with large-enough capacity in all sub-counties is the right way forward in addressing the counties’ chronic shortage of water. It is only through partnership and collaboration that we can deal with the scale and severity of the challenges we face,” said Kiunjuri.
He appreciated the contribution made by the European Union’s partnership with Kenya in actualising this project.
Kiunjuri noted that the Mbasya Dam which is one of the seven initiatives under the DCF will increase access to water and improve the marketing of crops and livestock, while also ensuring that communities are better prepared and equipped to deal with subsequent droughts.
The Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to Kenya, Bruno Pozzi emphasised that the partnership between the Government of Kenya and the EU is geared towards ensuring better life for Kenyans, promoting prosperity for all.
“Such projects are at the heart of EU engagement in Kenya since they are the kinds of undertakings which help change people’s lives and place them in a position of economic freedom” he said.
Pozzi noted that the amount of work being done on the ground by the government and its partners would soon see a greater majority of Kenyans access their most basic needs like water in even the remotest parts of the country.
“We observe that the share of those living in urban areas who now have access to clean drinking water has increased, and we are working together to do the same for rural families in remote arid and semi-arid areas” he said.
He emphasized that the EU will continue to be a partner and a true friend of Kenya, to support as many Kenyans as possible to have access to this important resource, supporting further economic growth of Kenya.
The dam whose construction is still ongoing will on completion benefit up to 60,000 people, see the residents of Mbasya walk considerably shorter distances to fetch clean drinking water, improve the health of the community and keep children in school, besides putting a stop to conflicts over resources.
This project was as a result of the outcome of a Participatory Disaster Risk Assessment (PDRA) conducted in Kalawa Ward in February 2015. It has been supported by NDMA through funds from the EU’s Drought Contingency Fund (DCF).
During the hazard ranking process in 2015, the Kalawa community identified drought as the main hazard in the area and prioritised access to water because water shortage during drought spells impact negatively on both people and livestock, and the local livelihoods. The community’s decision was also informed by the fact that the nearest permanent source of water is Thwake River which is 20kms away.
Access to water will boost food security and minimize migration and guarantee retention of children in school, who would otherwise drop out during dry spells. The dam will also improve health hygiene as well as reduce malnutrition rates and resource conflicts.