A group of group of British MPs from the UK Parliament International Development Committee have recently been on a climate and displacement fact-finding mission to Kenya.
Chairman and Liverpool West Derby MP Stephen Twigg was joined by Birmingham Northfield MP Richard Burden, Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans, Mid Derbyshire MP and Kenya Trade Envoy Pauline Latham, Dundee West MP Chris Law, Bury South MP Ivan Lewis, Brighton Kemptown MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Sutton, Cheam and Worcester Park MP Paul Scully and Ealing Southall MP Virendra Sharma for the visit which also included time in Uganda.
On Monday, the MPs were shown around Kakuma Refugee Camp and nearby Kalobeyei Settlement to see how some of the £100m from the UK for humanitarian assistance for refugees across Kenya has been spent. They also visited the UNHCR officer in Kakuma.
The average refugee at Kakuma spends 17 years and Kalobeyei represents a settlement approach as opposed to a refugee camp approach to enable refugees to become more self reliant in the long term.
As well as teaching self reliance, some of the aid money is spent educating those at the settlement about inclusion. This important work was underlined by the fact that 85 per cent of the world’s refugees are hosted, protected and assisted in developing countries like Kenya.
Another project visited by the British MPs the following day was the UK funded, Ksh 5 million, Masue Rock Catchment which launched in 2015 and is the main source of water for domestic and livestock use, besides small scale irrigation farming, for more than 1, 500 residents in Masue village in Nzaui Sub-County.
The chairman of the Masue Rock Catchment Project, Mr. Daniel Kimaile told the MPs that the project had alleviated the water shortage in the area and three schools had also benefitted from the project. However, he added that storage tanks were few and asked for more funding in order to help in harvesting the rainy water that goes to waste in the area.
“The project has alleviated the acute water shortage in the area. There is enough water for domestic and watering animals. We have even started a boarding school because of availability of water for use,” Mr Kimaile said.
Speaking at the same event, the visiting members of the International Development Committee aid they were satisfied with how the funds were used.
Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans said: “We are impressed on how our tax payers’ money was being spent. We would also like to know areas that Kenyans need our support so that we can chip in and make them self-reliant.”
He also praised the Kenyan government’s ban on logging and charcoal burning that impacts negatively on the environment.
In Makueni, the politicians heard about Department for International Development (DfID) support for community led climate adaptation work by looking at Makueni Climate Change Projects and how an investment of £40k has changed lives for one village during a look around the Tosekha Textiles Silk Factory.
Meeting with the British delegation, Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana thanked the residents for owning the project, saying they have helped in implementing the project which helped make it a success.
He added that they were working closely with faith based organisations, saying they were better placed in mobilising wananchi (the public) on development issues.
“The project is an example of how government money can be utilised. As government there is need to be transparent and accountable in spending monies on projects,” the governor said.
Earlier the Makueni County Commissioner Mr. Maalim Mohammed assured the MPs that all financial assistance given as grants will be utilised on projects intended, adding that the government was keen on fighting corruption.
Mohammed said through the Masue Rock Catchment project, people are able to access clean water and were now using it for irrigation, hence increasing food security in the county.
“The project has enabled people at Masue to access water and engage in irrigation activities to produce food for subsistence. This has made them to be self-reliant and were no longer depending on relief food,” the County Commissioner added.
In Nairobi, the visiting MPs visited Strathmore Business School to see the climate enterprise project which is supported by ARFC, World Bank and Fairview.