Recurrent drought in recent years has affected millions in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALS) of Kenya, leading to an increase in food insecurity and reliance on emergency food aid among the region’s pastoralists and agro pastoralist communities.
To address this issue, the World Bank, through the Ministry of Energy organized a short sensitization course titled: “Environment and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA)” for county executives that seeks to equip participants with skills that will help minimize adverse environmental and social impact before they occur.
The two-week short course sponsored by the Kenya Off-Grid Solar Access Project (KOSAP) and offered at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) NCBD Campus, closed on Friday, October 8, 2021, with 27 candidates issued with participation certificates.
The course was offered under the JKUAT Institute of Energy and Environmental Technology.
The trainees were drawn from Environment and Physical Planning, among other relevant departments from 14 ASAL counties of Mandera, Kilifi, Lamu, Garissa, Wajir, Tana River, Taita Taveta, Samburu, Isiolo, Marsabit, Narok, Turkana, West Pokot and Kwale.
Speaking during the ceremony, Amb (Eng) Mahboub M. Maalim, Chairman of Council at JKUAT, thanked the Word Bank for sponsoring the participants, as well as the Ministry of Energy for choosing JKUAT to administer the ESIA course.
“Institutions should strive to partner with organizations such as the World Bank which has the capacity to facilitate programmes, especially in the counties,” adding, “County officials should know that not all things can be done through county financing,” Amb. Maalim noted.
The Ministry of Energy representative, Ms. Irene Maina, said, KOSAP, which started 3 years ago was a flagship project of the Ministry of Energy and financed by the World Bank, aims to provide electricity and clean cooking solutions in the remote, low density and traditionally underserved areas of the country.
This, she further noted, is part of the government’s commitment to provide universal access to electricity in Kenya by 2022 as well as create the impetus for growth in achieving vision 2030.
“What the ministry requires of you, is to assist in marketing KOSAP to the community in your various counties through community engagements among other ways,” she said.
“Help the ministry sell solar and clean cooking solutions in the project areas so as to reach our target of 250,000 stand-alone solar home systems, and higher tier clean cooking solutions to 150,000 households,” she added.
The Director, Institute of Energy and Environmental Technology (IEET) Prof. Ngugi Kamau, advised the participants to use the skills learnt to improve their community’s well-being.
“You are also welcome for other courses offered at the University. Ensure you take such opportunities offered by Devolution to enhance yourselves and improve the welfare of the counties you come from,” Prof. Ngugi told the participants.
Ms. Esther Lokwei, the participants’ leader from Turkana County, thanked JKUAT on behalf of the candidates for offering detailed and educative sessions.
Also in attendance during the closing ceremony was the Course Coordinator, Ms. Purity Gitau and the Nairobi Campus Director, Prof. Peter Njenga.