Relief as slums in Kakamega set for Sh269m upgrade

Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa speaks during the launch of a slum upgrade program in Amalemba. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Kakamega County government, the World Bank, and the French Development Agency (AFD) have partnered in a Sh269 million slum upgrade project.

World Bank will finance the upgrading of slums in Mumias municipality for Sh153 million while AFD will finance slums in Kakamega municipality for Sh116 million through the Kenya Informal Settlement Improvement Project (KISIP) which will implement the project in partnership with the two development partners.

Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa, who was speaking when he launched the second edition of the Kenya Informal Settlement Improvement Project at Amalemba Grounds, said residents living in informal settlements in Kakamega County will have their infrastructure upgraded in a quest to improve living standards.

Governor Barasa noted that the program will improve the areas that are choked by high poverty levels, and poor drainage among others.

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

The five areas identified for upgrade are Amalemba, Kambi Somali, Mjini, Lukoye, and Shibale where more than 350 plot owners will get property ownership documents.

“We will have 108 plot owners in Amalemba, 81 will get documents in Kambi Somali, and Mjini in Mumias will have 130 plot owners acquire ownership documents,” he said.

The upgrade in the settlement will focus on establishing a waste management system, creating infrastructure for climate resilience, and enhancing gender equity among others.

Barasa said the main purpose of the informal settlement upgrade is to guarantee the residents a dignified living.

"My administration is careful with these aspects given our vision to transform Kakamega into a city," said Barasa.

The governor said in the County Integrated Development Program(CIDP), 2023 - 2027 they identified increasing informal settlements as a major challenge to the growth of urban areas adding that informal settlements have high poverty levels, poor housing, inadequate social amenities, and an unregulated land tenure system.

"We look forward to a diligent execution of this program given the consolidated resources we have, so that the benefitting urban areas may be part of the positive stories in the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals as stipulated in the UN-HABITAT’S Global Action Plan on Informal Settlement and Slum transformation," said Barasa.

Barasa said the Sh1.2 billion Regen Organic Fertilizer manufacturing plant in Mumias West will help in addressing the solid waste from the slums under the project.

Engineer Joash Mwende, Representative from KISIP said they would partner with Kakamega to upgrade sanitation and slums in urban areas in 28 counties.

"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," said Mwende.

CECM in charge of Lands, Housing, Urban Areas and Physical Planning, Mariam Barasa, noted that Mjini will get road and drainage works, solar street lighting, water extension, and water connection in the program.

"Amalemba will get roads and drainage works, sewer line extension, solar street lighting, and one high-security mast while Lukoye and Kambi Somali will get road and drainage works,” Barasa said.

Shibale will get road and drainage works to Shibale Primary and St Joseph Secondary, a water pipeline extension, four water kiosks, and one security high mast.

Mohammed Sedi in one of the slums in Amalemba welcomed the project stating that it will uplift their living standards from the dilapidated area.

“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 by having all the required amenities because we can see upgrading of roads and some of us are going to get title deeds to own some of the plots,” said Sedi.