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Kakamega Slum Transformation: Multi-Million Project Aims to Enhance Living Standards and Dignity

By Seliphar Machoni

Kakamega County, in partnership with the World Bank and the French Development Agency, has embarked on a significant Sh269 million slum upgrade initiative.

According to Governor Fernandes Barasa, the World Bank will allocate Sh153 million for the enhancement of slums in Mumias municipality, while the French Development Agency will contribute Sh116 million to upgrade Kakamega municipality’s slums through the Kenya Informal Settlement Improvement Project (KISIP).

During the launch at Amalemba Grounds, Governor Barasa emphasized the project’s goal to uplift living standards in Kakamega County’s informal settlements. He highlighted its focus on areas struggling with high poverty levels and poor drainage.

In discussing the collaborative effort, Governor Barasa underscored the significance of spatial plans in Kakamega and Mumias municipalities, expressing confidence in implementing sectoral development policies, especially those aimed at upgrading informal settlements.

Governor Barasa noted, “Kakamega and Mumias municipalities have complete spatial plans; meaning we can confidently proceed with relevant sectoral development policies including upgrading informal settlements.”

The upgrade will address various challenges, including waste management, climate-resilient infrastructure, and gender equity.

Governor Barasa emphasized the importance of ensuring dignified living conditions for residents, aligning with the vision to transform Kakamega into a city. He stated, “My administration is careful with these aspects given our vision to transform Kakamega into a city.”

In the County Integrated Development Program (CIDP) for 2023-2027, informal settlements were identified as a major obstacle to urban growth.

Governor Barasa expressed optimism about the diligent execution of the program, aiming to showcase positive outcomes aligned with global development goals.

Engineer Joash Mwende, representing KISIP, highlighted collaborative efforts to upgrade sanitation and slums in urban areas across 28 counties.

He stated, “We are closely working with the county government of Kakamega and other 28 counties to ensure we give our people a dignified life and enhance security, water, sanitation, electricity, and infrastructural systems.”

Mariam Barasa, CECM in charge of Lands, Housing, Urban Areas, and Physical Planning, detailed specific improvements for different areas. She highlighted the multifaceted approach to upgrading Mjini, Amalemba, Lukoye, Kambi Somali, and Shibale.

In response to the project, a resident, Mohammed Sedi from Amalemba, expressed optimism about improved living conditions.

Sedi noted the challenges they faced, including poor sanitation and lack of electricity, and anticipated positive changes through the project, including upgraded roads and potential land ownership.

“We have been having difficulty in road access, poor sanitation, lack of electricity, and even the ownership of plots we are living in but with this project, we are optimistic that we are going to live a dignified life,” said Sedi.

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