The Go-Blue Programme under the umbrella of Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani (JKP) is now ready to roll out its first phase projects aimed at creating income-generating activities for the region’s youths and women.
Speaking at Mombasa during the launch of a 9-day training exercise, stakeholders from the six coastal counties lauded the programme as a vessel to put the region at par or even ahead of other regions in the country.
The Go-Blue Programme embraces the spirit of African Ubuntu, which emphasises pulling together for a common cause and achieving a greater good for the targeted communities.
The programme is packaged in the form of training, capacity building, empowerment and the creation of opportunities available to the locals.
The areas earmarked for exploration are aquaculture, fisheries, and marine security, which have the most potential to lift the coastal region’s residents from poverty.
Other sectors with a huge potential include tourism, culture, environmental conservation, and spatial land-sea planning.
In attendance was Taita Taveta’s deputy governor Mjala Mlagui who praised the programme and expressed her county’s willingness to implement the recommendations and fund areas of need to realize the dream of many young people and women.
In Taita Taveta, 57.2 percent of the population lives within absolute poverty, a figure that translates to 175, 149 individuals as per the 2019 Sustainable Development Goals Implementation report.
The county has unique potential both in the blue economy and ecotourism. Lake Chala, Lake Jipe, and Aruba Dam place the county at a unique advantage to explore fishing and other blue-economy activities.
The county has also a huge potential in ecotourism by the virtue of being home to the two of the largest national parks in Kenya, Tsavo East and Tsavo West, and several other private and communal conservancies.
The Coastal Blue Economy endeavors have also received support from Portugal.
During the launch of the 9-day training exercise, Portugal’s ambassador to Kenya, Luísa Fragoso said that Blue Economy presents an unrivaled potential for the coastal region and Kenya in general in efforts toward fighting absolute poverty and creating economic-impactful activities among the youth and women.
In March this year, the Blue Economy for coastal counties received sh. 3.2 billion from the European Union (EU), targeting development projects to create job opportunities for the poor.
The Go-Blue Programme is set to run for four years from January 2021 to December 2024. In its full implementation, the programme will benefit over 3,000 youths and women across the six coastal counties.
By Arnold Linga Masila