CARITAS OFFICIAL Monday, October 8 2018
By BONIFACE MULU
The Caritas Kitui is the development arm of the Kitui Catholic Diocese and was established in 1978.
Making the disclosure, the non-governmental organisation’s director, Florence Ndeti, said that over the years the organization has implanted projects towards integral human development in Kitui County.
We are very committed to supporting our county in terms of development,” she said. Ndeti disclosed that the Ngomeni, Mitamisyi, Kimela, Masyungwa, Nguni and Ukasi Locations are their programme’s largest beneficiaries in the county. She was speaking during a Kitui County’s renewable energy stakeholders meeting organised by the County Environment and Natural Resources Ministry in partnership with the Groots Kenya and the Caritas Kitui at the Kitui Parkside Villa Hotel in Kitui Town on Thursday, October 4, 2018.
Ndeti said their services in Kitui County include training the groups on renewable energy activities in the county. “This is our fifth year in training the groups on the rocket stove making in the county. The making of a rocket stove requires the sand, bricks and red oxide among other materials,” the NGO official said. And she added that they train the region’s charcoal producer groups on briquette making as an alternative for charcoal production there.
The Caritas official announced that they have drilled the Ngomeni and Ngutani solar-powered boreholes in Kyuso and Mwingi West Sub-Counties where she said the projects are greatly helping the locals. “Please try to have the solar energy in your homes,” Mdeti told the people of Kitui County as she talked out about the importance of the solar energy.
The Kitui County Environment and Natural Resources Ministry Chief Officer, Engineer Joseph Kimanga, who officially opened and closed the meeting on behalf of the County Minister John Muneeni Makau, said the Western countries have a lot of technologies of using the energy for development.
“We are not at that level. We are just at the starting point,” the officer said. And on his part, the County Environment Director, Benjamin Musili Mukulo, highly thanked the participants for their participation.
Mukulo said that we need to understand very well when we are talking about the energy. “The energy is everywhere. When the energy is not used well, it can cause some effects to the world,” Mukulo, who is an environmentalist by profession said. He further said that the climate change has come out of the global warming.
Regarding the clean energy, he said the briquettes do not dirtify the environment. And on gases, he said that the methane gas is in the waste and that should it escapes from the waste, we can’t get rains.
The director disclosed that Kitui is one of the Kenya’s five counties that have embraced the climate and adaptation by coming up with the County Climate Change Funds. “The other four counties are Garissa, Makueni, Wajir and Isiolo,” Mukulo said.
“We have taken the lead because we are trying to manage it (the climate change) through energy sustainability,” the Kitui County Environment and Natural Resources Ministry’s official said.
“Kitui County has a climate change fund. And we have already drafted the County Climate Act and is awaiting to go to the County Assembly for approval by the county assembly members,” Mukulo added.
“Finally we will have a book called the Kitui County Renewable Energy Master Plan,” he said. The Kitui County Value Chains and Value Additions Advisor, Dr.Temi Mutua, said that the energy is a cross-cutting issue.
“I thank Groots Kenya and all others for finding time to be engaging with us,” Mutia said. The expert said that the Kenyans are over-charged by the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) in supplying them the energy. “The cost of using the energy in South Africa is four times cheaper than in our country,” Mutia said.
He announced that they (the county government) are planning to start a beekeeping project in Ikutha and Kasaala Locations within the Ikutha Sub-County for the good of the wealth creation for the locals.
“I am glad for what the Caritas are doing in the county’s Mwingi region,” the official said. The Kitui County Energy Assistant Director, Rachel K.Mwangangi, said that their vision is to be the leading county in the utilisation of electricity, alternative sources of energy and gainful utilisation of minerals in a sustainably managed healthy environment in Kenya. She added that the county government signed a memorandum of understanding with the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) in 2014.
“The MOU was faced with some challenges and for the last one year we have been working with the KPLC regarding the low voltage (LV) construction,” the officer said.
Mwangangi said that over 1,000 solar lights have been installed in the county by the county government. And she further said they are promoting the establishment of wootlots in the county under the Kenya’s energy Act 2006.
The official said the county had suffered a lot of environmental degradation through charcoal production and sand harvesting before January 2018 when Governor Charity Kaluki Ngilu banned the charcoal and sand trade in the region. And on his part, Bernard K.Kigwa, an official from the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI)Kitui Regional Tesearch Centre, said that they are conducting research on three local indigenous tree species-the Melia volkensii, Osyris (sandalwood) and payos. Kigwa said the Osyris in the area has been heinously uprooted by poachers for sale.
“We have plenty of indigenous trees in the county,” The KEFRI official said. Kigwa, who had represented the Centre Director, Dr. James Kamiri Ndufa at the function, disclosed that the centre covers 13 of the Kenya’s 47 counties including Kajiado, Tana River, Kitui, Garissa, Wajir and Makueni.
And addressing the function, the Groots Kenya Kitui County Coordinator, Jennifer Mutinda, highly praised the NGO for all its support for the women in Kitui County in terms of development.
“The Groots Kenya was started in 1995 and started its operations in Kitui 2003. It started its services in the county with the Kawongo Location dealing with the HIV/AIDS victims,” she said.
“The NGO is largely for supporting the women in Kenya but we have some few men who support us in the programme. We the Kenya’s women benefit from the NGO through its Women Property and Leadership Programme (WPLP” Mutinda said. Mutinda, who is a teacher by profession, disclosed that through the NGO’s support, they have constructed a dispensary and a polytechnic in Lower Yatta Sub-County. “And the government has provided us with a nurse at the health facility,” she added. She further said that they have constructed houses for some six elderly people in the area who are the guardians of their grandchildren who have been orphaned by the AIDS scourge.
She said that a survey revealed that 80 per of the people in Kitui County use traditional cooking stoves. “And it (the survey) revealed that a total of 3,000 people had died in Kenya from smoke related chest diseases. And Wilson Oduor from the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) Kitui County Office disclosed that they have a programme that is supporting a total of 15,000 households in the county especially the poor.
He added that they partner with the Action Aid, Caritas and Kitui County government in the programme. In his speech, the Kitui Energy Centre Manager, Nelson Waweru, said that they the centre are promoting the energy in the region and cited the biomass and biogas.
“The Kitui Energy Centre under the Kenya’s Energy and Petroleum Ministry covers the three South eastern Kenya’s counties namely Kitui, Machakos and Makueni,” the officer disclosed. “We are supporting the renewable energy in Kitui County.
We are working with the county government,” Waweru added. And on his part, George Mwangala from the Purpose Kenya, said they partner with the Caritas, CAFOD, Groots Kenya and Kitui County government in promoting the clean energy in the county. “
We are working to have everyone in Kitui County to have a clean, sustainable, reliable, accessible and affordable energy,” the NGO official said. The function was addressed by the Kitui Central Sub-County Forest Officer Jacob Kogo Joseph among others.
The end of the story.