Kitui County Consultative Workshop 28th Feb 2013

KITUI COUNTY CONSULTATIVE WORKSHOP ON SUSTAINABLE UTILIZATION OF THE NATURAL RESOURCES
VENUE: KITUI-MWINGI PARKSIDE MOTEL, KITUI
DATE:  28TH FEBRUARY- 1ST MARCH, 2013

Acknowledgements

The Kitui County Forest, Water and Sand Conservation Association, KCFWSCA, a member of the Kenya Climate Change Working Group, wishes to sincerely thank our Ward, Constituency and County coordinators for their continued support; Caritas Kitui, the Kitui County administration (Worth mentioning is the County Commissioner Mr Mofat Kangi, the DC Katulani Mr Henry Wafula, the DO Kitui Central MadamBeatrice Ndenga) and the government departments in Kitui who attended and made the ‘Consultative Workshop on Sustainable Utilization of the Natural Resources in Kitui County’ such a success.
The team that generated and concretized the idea on ‘Consultative Workshops on Sustainable Utilization of natural resources’; including the coordinator of KCCWG Mr Joseph Ngondi, the Climate Change Unit Advisor Dr Alexander Alusa, the Secretary General of PACJA Mr Mithika Mwenda and the OPM team including Peter Odhengo, Bahati Mwita and Patrick Chabeda are highly appreciated as the idea will go a long way in enhancing the work of CSOs in policy processes at county level in Kenya.
The insightful presentations we got from the Ministry of Energy’s Joseph Ndolo (Chief Geologist, Ministry of Energy) and the DRSRS Mrs Faith Mutwiri will also go a long way in helping the Kitui County initiatives in addressing the key issues around natural resources’ utilization in the right way. We therefore thank the support of their Ministries to this initiative.
We also wish to sincerely thank and acknowledge the support and contribution of the Office of the Prime Minister’s Climate Change Unit, Caritas Kenya, the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, Institute of Environment and Water Management and the VSO Jitolee, who funded this workshop. We note, with appreciation, the encouragement they gave to the planning team and the implementers of the same; and that this is supposed to be the beginning of a series of similar other workshops in other counties across the country.
We also thank the Management of the Kitui-Mwingi Parkside Motel, who hosted the event and provided the necessary support and implementation infrastructure during the workshop and the whole management for their hospitality.

1.0 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

It is worth noting that, ‘Successful management of any resources requires accurate knowledge of the resource available, the uses to which it may be put, the competing demands for the resource, measures to and processes to evaluate the significance and worth of competing demands and mechanisms to translate policy decisions into actions on the ground’.

1.1 Brief Background information

In the effort towards sustainable management of natural resources in Kenya, the government and development partners have invested in planning, researching and extensive consultations with key stakeholders for the last over 20 years. The remote sensing department, and NEMA, has even documented some of the natural resources in all the regions of Kenya. But little do the community and community based organizations in this country know about the natural resources, neither are they involved effectively in their sustainable management, nor do they participate in the planning processes towards sustainable management of the available natural resources.
Kitui County lies in the Lower Eastern Province, in the middle and lower Tana delta. It has harsh weather conditions, and is among the moderate potential arid and semi-arid lands of Kenya. Kitui County is one of the largest counties in Kenya neighboring Tana River, Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Embu, Machakos, Makueni and Taita Taveta Counties. The people are agro pastoralists and rely on peasant farmers. Kitui County has a vast area and different ecological zones, with areas of Kitui central being fair fertile while areas like Ukasi, Tseikuru and Mutomo being arid land; and faced with frequent droughts, acute water scarcity and threatened peasant farming due to climate change among other causes. This is similar to Makueni where areas around Makuli hill, Kaiti constituency are hilly and with a potential for agricultural produce, while areas of Mbukoni and others are arid and face acute water scarcity during dry season.
Kitui County has 40 Wards and 8 constituencies. In the larger Mwingi, there are fifteen (15) ward. There are five (5) wards in Kyuso, Six (6) wards in Central and four (4) wards in West. The larger Kitui has a total of 25 wards. These are four (4) in Kitui West, six (6) wards in Kitui South, six (6) wards in Mutitu, four (4) wards in Kitui rural and five (5) wards in Kitui central. In each of these wards there will be county representatives and youth representatives, in the new county assemblies.
Collaboration has helped reduce duplication of efforts, made activities more effective and helped in creating sustainable advocacy, as the different actors continue with policy influencing efforts in different parts where they work.
O enable the sustainable utilization of the available resources in the county a stakeholder’s workshop was organized. This workshop was collaboration between, mainly, the Kitui County Forest, Water and Sand Conservation Association, the Office of the Prime Ministers Greening Kenya Initiative and the Climate Change Unit, the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance the Caritas Kenya, VSO Jitolee and the Institute of Environment and Water Management.
In this workshop, 135 representatives of Kitui County stakeholders (including civil society, Faith based organizations, government representatives from administration and government departments, met at the Kitui-Mwingi Parkside Motel, Kitui County; at the Consultative Workshop on Sustainable Utilization of Natural Resources from 28th February 2013- 1ST March, 2013;to closely interrogate the needed actions towards sustainable utilization of existing natural resources in Kitui county.Resource people from the Ministry of Energy, Department of Remote Sensing and Remote Surveys, the Administration (Representative of the County Commissioner (Mr Mofat Kangi); who was the DC Katulani, Mr Henry Wafula, also attended the two-day’ workshop.
The expected outcomes of the workshop included an outline of the natural resources in Kitui as well a ‘ways to ensure citizen’s involvement’ for sustainable utilization of the natural resources in Kitui county.
The workshop targeted a total of 120 participants, mainly from the Kitui County and government departments in the natural resources departments, at least 135 participants and stakeholders were reached during the workshop. These included participants from all Constituencies of Kitui County  (Kitui East (Mutito),Kitui Central, Kitui Rural, Kitui West, Kitui South, Mwingi North, Mwingi Central and Mwingi West), and the key stakeholders as stated above.

1.2 Workshop objectives

The main objective of this workshop will be to bring together stakeholders in Kitui county to discuss the sustainable utilization of the available natural resources in the county, providing a platform of information exchange between experts and the community on natural resources.
The specific objectives will be to:

  1. To share information on the ongoing work by the remote sensing department, and NEMA, of mapping available natural resources with the communities.
  2. To create awareness about sustainable land use planning and land use management as is being undertaken in the Tana delta, and on the Greening Kenya initiative.
  3. To provide a platform where the community members and the scholars, researchers and educators exchange ideas on the matter of sustainable utilization of the natural resources in Kitui County.
  4. To help the communities prepare for effective participation in the policies and laws formulation processes in Kitui County, pursuant to the new constitution.
  5. To initiate ward groups/networks to enhance proper utilization of the resources in every ward, by the KCFWSCA; and with emphasis to the participation of people with disabilities in the sustainable utilization of natural resources in Kitui County.
  6. To make resolutions on the utilization of the available resources in Kitui County.

Further, out of the workshop and based on the recommendations made, it is expected that when the county government comes in place, the local citizens will be able to participate more effectively in the county committees and hence realize a sustainable utilization of the local resources in Kitui County.
There was established a close partnership among CSOs, Government, Public, Private sectors and International Agencies in the area of sustainable utilization of natural resources in Kitui county, and this was encouraging given that the county governments will be in place.

1.3 Workshop declaration and Way Forward

A declaration was made outlining the following key recommendations and way forward;
1.  That latest technologies such as remote sensing and satellite technologies be applied to properly map all the natural resources in the County and effectively inform the people on the same;
2.  All stakeholders should endorse the spirit of collective action to realize people-sensitive policies and laws on natural resources within the County, and at the national level as well;
3.  All the leaders(Governor, Senator, County representatives and their assistants, the administration, civil society and the faith based organizations) in the county to purposefully recognize the role of the citizens in realizing sustainable utilization of the resources in the county and involve them in all the processes on the same;
4. Continuously organize forums in the county on sustainable utilization of the available resources, and discussions sessions through various public forums, local FM stations, chief’s barazas, churches, mosques and other forums for effective citizens and stakeholder’s participation;
5.  Local experts and communities should be actively involved when investors, or the state, plans for the County’s natural resource management and utilization in line with the Constitution of Kenya (2010) article 69.
6.  As stated in the Kenya constitution 2010; a good percentage of revenue from natural resources from the locality should be ploughed back to the community and must also be transparently managed to enable the improvement of local peoples’ wellbeing, proper functioning of local government, administration, environmental restoration activities and address issues of lack of social amenities such as hospitals, good schools, water and good feeder roads among others, to ensure that the local communities benefit from the same; and
7. All county policies and by-laws must work towards sustainable development in the county, and enhance participation of the local communities in the policy processes and in the planning and implementation of all development initiatives in the county which is, in our collective thinking, a pre-requisite to sustainable development in the county and country at large.
8. The county government should support sustainable adaptation and mitigation measures through partnerships with key stakeholders, with emphasis to water harvesting and storage, green economy initiatives and low carbon development initiatives, which would lead to creation of job opportunities.
1.3.1 Way Forward
Specifically, the following way forward came out of the workshop deliberations:

  1. Form a gender balanced ‘Natural Resources technical team’, led by the organizers (KCFWSCA), for the county to constantly update the county on the utilization of identified natural resources in the county
  2. Undertake field visits to specific locations with natural resources in the county, in order to understand and document the status and utilization of the natural resources. Some areas were mentioned during group work and the workshop deliberations- a) Mui Coal Belt,

b) Sand zones in Kitui and Mwingi Districts, c) Hillsides and areas for afforestation (including Kiomo, Nuu, Mutitu, Endau hills, Nzia hills and KwaVonza).

  1. Map and document all the major natural resources in Kitui County ( and possibly come up with a natural resources’ atlas for Kitui County
  2. After elections, meet the governor and county elected leaders including the women rep to brief them on the resolutions made in the workshop and discuss how the county can work together in sustainable and equitable utilization of natural resources’ in the county.
  3. Survey block ‘C’ of the Mui Coal Belt
  4. Ascertain the capacity and viability of the iron ore in Kyuso-Tseikuru zones.
  5. Form gender balanced sand and riparian groups to help the community participation in sand management of sand resource as well as enable county government to benefit from sand and employment creation.
  6. A method to enable better control of charcoal production should be devised in Kitui County to create a sustainable utilization of charcoal in the county.
  7. Strengthen the role of women, youths and vulnerable groups in natural resource management and ensure equitable utilization and participation in compliance with the Kenyan Constitution in natural resources management. 

2.0 INTRODUCTION

2.1 Efforts on natural resources in Kenya and noted gaps

In the effort towards sustainable management of natural resources in Kenya, the government and development partners have invested in planning, researching and extensive consultations with key stakeholders for the last over 20 years. The remote sensing department, and NEMA, has even documented the natural resources in all the regions of Kenya. But little do the community and community based organizations in this country know about the natural resources, neither are they involved effectively in their sustainable management, nor do they participate in the planning processes towards sustainable management of the available natural resources.
A good example, in the area where this activity is to be implemented is the Tana River Delta Land Use Plan LUP, where the Office of the Prime Minister, OPM, established the inter- Ministerial committee to coordinate the sustainable management of deltas in Kenya, starting with Tana Delta. This was, notably, informed by the Strategic Environmental Assessment for the area. As noted in the Tana river delta land use plan framework booklet of 2012, ‘the growing human population and competition for diminishing natural resources, compounded by the effects of climate change, has necessitated a drastic change in the way we do things. Fortunately the constitution of Kenya 2010, provides a very enabling policy environment for innovations to tackle the overarching challenges facing our nation. (Indeed this proposed workshop can be seen as one of the innovative ways that the community in Kitui county will get informed and hence direct their efforts towards the sustainable management of the natural resources available in the county)
Again, there has been a lot of documentation of the natural resources in Kenya. A lot of information is also lying as research documents, documented natural resources in Kitui county, yet very little is disseminated to people to inform their day-to-day management of their natural resources.

2.2 The project area

Kitui County lies in the Lower Eastern Province, in the middle and lower Tana delta. It has harsh weather conditions, and is among the moderate potential arid and semi-arid lands of Kenya. Kitui County is one of the largest counties in Kenya neighboring Tana River, Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Embu, Machakos, Makueni and Taita Taveta Counties. The people are agro pastoralists and rely on peasant farmers. Kitui County has a vast area and different ecological zones, with areas of Kitui central being fair fertile while areas like Ukasi, Tseikuru and Mutomo being arid land; and faced with frequent droughts, acute water scarcity and threatened peasant farming due to climate change among other causes. This is similar to Makueni where areas around Makuli hill, Kaiti constituency are hilly and with a potential for agricultural produce, while areas of Mbukoni and others are arid and face acute water scarcity during dry season.
Due to the recurrent droughts that damage the already scarce natural resources, the communities face a number of challenges that include;

  1. Water shortage and water scarcity
  2. Threatened forests and agricultural production for the peasant farmers.
  3. High school drop outs due to loss of animals during drought seasons which result to overcrowding in urban settlements creating a big population of idle persons who apart from burdening the urban population also pose security threat.
  4. Environmental destruction- tree cutting for firewood and charcoal burning.
  5. The rampant harvesting of sand from sand rivers causing even more water scarcity due to the rivers drying up faster that when sand is not harvested.
  6. There is also poor participation of communities towards sustainable utilization of the natural resources as is anticipated in the new constitutional dispensation.

There is poor management of natural resource in general while most of the policies in natural resource management that are currently in place are not friendly to agro forestry. The promulgation of the new constitution provides space for policies formulation at the local level under the devolved governance giving the communities a chance of active participation.

Kitui County has 40 wards and 8 constituencies. In the larger Mwingi, there are fifteen (15) ward. There are five (5) wards in Kyuso, Six (6) wards in Central and four (4) wards in West. The larger Kitui has a total of 25 wards. These are four (4) in Kitui West, six (6) wards in Kitui South, six (6) wards in Mutitu, four (4) wards in Kitui rural and five (5) wards in Kitui central. In each of these wards there will be county representatives and youth representatives, in the new county assemblies.
The Kitui County Forest, Water and Sand Association has two volunteer coordinators in every ward, giving a total of 80 volunteers. These, for the purpose of community mobilization, and for awareness and sensitization around environmental conservation, climate change and sand and forest conservation, have been identified out of the work they do among the community. The coordinating Office is in Kabati town, in Kitui West. There is a board composed of 7 board members with different competencies; and a secretariat composed of 5 volunteers, including the Programs Coordinator, Technical and Liaison Officer and three district coordinators.
KCFWSCA has worked in collaboration with PACJA, and KCCWG, to organize the Kauw’ini Gender, reproductive health and climate change workshop in June 2012. It also collaborates with the South Eastern University College, SEUCO, a constituent college of the University of Nairobi, in designing and coming up with topical issues in environmental protection and conservation in the county. Some of the proposals include to package sand and sell it in a more organized and profitable manner, also replant trees in all the hills in Kitui county and in all schools and towns in the county; to harvest all water and sand for proper utilization in improving the livelihoods, to replant wood for carving and train wood carving crafts men in the area, among.

2.3 Collaboration in project implementation and multiplier effect

One of the cost effective ways to undertake activities towards common objectives has been the collaboration between the different actors. This has been made even more impactful, as an example, when OPM, PANEREC and KCCWG collaborated to come up with the Climate Change Authority bill, 2012, which is awaiting presidential assent into law.
Collaboration has helped reduce duplication of efforts, made activities more effective and helped in creating sustainable advocacy, as the different actors continue with policy influencing efforts in different parts where they work.
This workshop will be a collaboration between, mainly, the Kitui County Forest, Water and Sand Conservation Association, the Office of the Prime Ministers Greening Kenya Initiative and the Climate Change Unit, the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance and the Caritas Kenya (see their brief profile attached separately for your reference). The concept was developed by KCFWSCA and received inputs from all these partners.
It is hoped that such workshops could be replicated in other counties where there are elaborate civil society networks.
This workshop, innovatively, suggests that there will be a percentage of the contributed funds that will facilitate the host organization in the county, to undertake ‘follow up workshops at lower levels’ of the county. In this case KCFWSCA will undertake three further meetings at the Northern, Central and Lower parts of the county. Within the community, these workshops will also serve to undertake a community-based natural resources management needs for each area. Two more things will have been achieved, that KFCWSCA’s capacity will have been tangibly build by enabling it to plan and implement project activities; and that the community will be prepared, in a more effective manner, to prepare and participate in the sustainable management of the natural resources in Kitui county, and are expected to therefore be more involved in the management.

2.4 The case of people with Disabilities

People with disabilities (PWD) have the right to be equal members of society. This is often not the case. People with disabilities are among the most marginalised groups and experience discrimination in society. WHO estimates that 10% of the population has a disability. The Kenya National Survey for Persons with Disabilities (KNSPWD) undertaken in 2008 noted that 4.6% of Kenyans experience some form of disability; this translates to approximately 1.8 million people. A complex web of rights-based issues, including gender inequality and associated myths and cultural beliefs leads to the exclusion of people with disability within political, social and economic life as well as within the disability movement itself. Women often face a double burden, discriminated against on the basis of their gender as well as their disability.
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPWD), of  which Kenya is a signatory to sets out key recommendations to governments and civil society to promote equal access to rights and services for PWD. Government policies recognise disability as a barrier to reducing poverty and exclusion.  In Kenya, the Persons with Disability Act created the National Council of Person with Disabilities (NCPWD) in 2004. NCPWD comprises representatives of PWD, who are primary targets in this action. Disability Persons Organisations (DPOs) have over the years developed capacity in advocacy and desire to strengthen its involvement in monitoring of national policies and legislation.
The KNSPWD (2008) was designed to provide up-to-date information for planning, monitoring and evaluating the various activities, programmes and projects geared towards improving the wellbeing of PWDs. The KNSPWD findings concluded that: 4.6% of Kenyans experience some form of disability; more disabled persons reside in rural than in urban areas; 15% of PWDs are likely to be affected by environmental factors on a daily basis and 3% on a weekly basis; 65% of PWDs regard the environment as a major problem in their daily lives. The study also noted that the attitudes displayed by the people around them can be a bigger problem for PWDs than the medical condition they must cope with and; lastly people living and interacting with PWDs tend to treat them differently in relation to their disabilities.
The Constitution of Kenya (2010) article 69 states that the state shall ensure sustainable exploitation, utilization, management and conservation of the environment and natural resources, and ensure the equitable sharing of the accruing benefits; and encourage public participation in the management, protection and conservation of the environment.
Worth noting therefore, sectors like the people with disabilities, women or youth may be identified as key actors to enable the sustainable management of natural resources in the county, yet not well reached during the workshop. Therefore the seed money will be used to target such a sector in an identified local area for further dissemination of the workshop information and further needs identification for their effective participation in the sustainable management of natural resources in the county.

2.5 Purpose of the workshop

The workshop was a ‘Consultative workshop on sustainable utilization of natural resources in Kitui county’.
The purpose of this workshop was, among others:

  1. To link the information gap between the ongoing work by the remote sensing department, and NEMA, of mapping available natural resources and the communities, for the purpose of enabling the communities organize themselves better to effectively participate in the sustainable management of natural resources in Kitui county
  2. To create awareness about sustainable land use planning and land use management as is being undertaken in the Tana delta, whose secretariat is coordinated at the Office of the Prime Minister. This will also link with the Greening Kenya initiative, where a team to help sustain the objectives of the initiative has already been trained.
  3. To provide a platform where the community members and the scholars, researchers and educators exchange ideas on the matter of sustainable utilization of the natural resources in Kitui County. This will ensure that the information gap between facts and documentation by NEMA and the remote sensing department is understood by the community in a way that it can be transformed to actions at the local level.
  4. To enhance citizens participation in the policies and laws formulation processes, pursuant to the new constitution.  It is worth noting that in light of the new constitution, each county will have to plan for and manage the available resources for their socio-political and economic progress and environmental sustainability.

The best solution to the perennial poverty in the county would be to have the county government, the leaders and the civil society and other non-state actors in the county well aware of the available resources, and get them to influence county government strategies and plans that are well informed by these facts, about the available resources and how to best exploit them sustainably.  For example, sand can be conserved and packaged for ultimate benefits to this county.
The values of Green economy need to be discussed for the civil society and other development actors to take up and start implementing the county. These will include initiatives that support a well forested county with enough water and consciously and sustainably managing these resources for sustainable development. This would include initiatives on tree planting, establishment of sand dams and proper utilization of the water and sand which sufficient in this county. If rain water is well harvested in this county, and stored under sand in the many sand rivers, then we will have enough water for drinking and small scale agriculture for improved livelihoods. This will also contribute to the adaptation projects for sustainable livelihoods in the county. Green energy concepts also, e,g, solar and wind power need to be initiated and promoted.

3.0 WORKSHOP PREPARATIONS

The workshop planning team was coordinated by the Kitui County Forest, Water and Sand Conservation Association and the Kenya Climate Change Working Group. It involved the Office of the Prime Minister’s Climate Change Unit and the Greening Kenya Initiative, the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, the VSO Jitolee, Caritas Kenya and Caritas Kitui and the Institute of Environment and water management.
Two planning meetings involving all the above partners were held at the national level. These helped in streamlining the workshop content and participants, as well as agreed on the level of contribution and involvement of the different partners who supported the event.
There were three local planning meetings in Kitui county level which enabled the local partners- Caritas Kitui and the Kitui County Forest, Water and Sand Conservation Association to agree on the key stakeholders to be involved and distribute roles among themselves. The meetings also involved the local administration, through the office of the county commissioner; which coordinated the effective participation of Chiefs, Dos and DCs during the event. See annex 1, typical notes from one of the preparation meetings.