Wednesday, 07 December 2022 12:51

COG PARTNERS WITH BILL AND MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION TO BOOST SERVICE DELIVERY IN COUNTIES

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The Council of Governors (CoG) on 17th November 2022, held a roundtable meeting with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) led by its co-chair Bill Gates, to deliberate on possible areas of partnership in Kenya’s devolved sectors. Also in attendance was the foundation’s Global Director, Benjamin Piper, the Africa Director, Cheikh Oumar Seydi and the East African Regional Representative, Samburu Wa-Shiko.

Speaking during the meeting, CoG Chair H.E. Anne Waiguru noted that while Counties had made significant strides towards realizing the devolution dream, there was need for greater collaboration to safeguard the gains made and ensure sustainability of programs and projects initiated in the Counties.

“We call for a direct partnership with the CoG to enable it effectively deliver on its mandate of sharing of information and best practices in the devolved sectors,” added H.E. Waiguru.

On health, CoG called for the strengthening of primary health care initiatives at the County level through capacity building for community health workers and the use of technology such as point-of-care ultrasound and artificial intelligence. The CoG emphasized the need for funding various primary health care interventions with a view of cascading key interventions aimed at attaining Universal Health Coverage in the country.

Further, the County Chiefs called for increased investment to boost the country’s food security owing to the perennial drought situation in the country, further exacerbated by the adverse effects of climate change.

“We need to strengthen agriculture extension services and value addition, particularly through the provision of agricultural inputs to farmers, reduction of cost of mechanization, and enhancing market access,” noted H.E. Kenneth Lusaka Chair of the Agriculture, Livestock and Cooperatives committee.

The roundtable meeting between Governors and the BMGF follows the just concluded COP 27 UN Summit of Climate Change where Governors called upon the international community to support interventions Counties are undertaking to counter climate change. The CoG highlighted the need to strengthen the capacities of County Governments in climate change response and delivery mechanisms and building resilient communities.

“The CoG cannot turn a blind eye to the impacts of climate change and a lasting solution can only be achieved through joint locally-led climate actions at the lowest level. This includes adaptation initiatives such as the adoption of smart agriculture through improved drought-resistant seeds and improved dairy breeds for increased milk production,” noted the Chair, CoG.

Other areas of partnership singled out include the adoption of technology through automation of government services across devolved sectors such as health, revenue collection, agriculture extension services, waste management, urban planning, and development. This will support an open governance system that enhances transparency and ensures effective service delivery.

In addition, Governors called for the inclusion and involvement of Counties to ensure the co-creation of projects and the development of transformative programmes that are responsive to the needs of the people. The CoG also reiterated its commitment to the full implementation of Sustainable Development Goals, noting that Counties have put in place SDG units to track and report the progress of implementation.

“We would like to reaffirm the forward-looking commitment of the Foundation to support innovations and solutions aimed at improving critical areas such as health and food security. Through the existing partnership between the Foundation and County Governments, we will continue to advance the devolution agenda in Kenya to enhance service delivery as well as improve the lives and livelihoods of all Kenyans,” said Bill Gates.

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