With Emergence of Covid 19 global pandemic in the country, devolution and the government’s big four agenda for development have been cited as some of the major reasons that have informed review of the sessional Paper No. 3 on Population Policy for National Development (PPND).
A consultative forum consisting of various stakeholders in Kisii County reached a consensus that there were many changes since the sessional paper 2012 was put in place hence the need to revise it and make it more responsive to new developments like the 2019 population
Addressing the press during the exercise held at Kenya Institute of Highways and Building Technology, Kisii County commissioner Abdirisack Jaldesa underscored the importance of the exercise which will be carried out in all the forty seven counties.
Jaldesa said the county governance structures have changed since the enactment of the new constitution thereby changing nature of implementation actions required to address population issues and other development activities in every county.
Representing County Governor James Ongwae, CEC for Administration Edna Kangwana noted that youth comprised the bigger population in the area while cases of gender based violence and teenage pregnancies had gone up saying all had to be catered for in the in the review.
Kangwana said traditional vegetables farming in the area, soapstone mining and booming business of the bodaboda sector would all be considered to ensure all sectors were factored in the review.
CEC Agriculture Esman Onsarigo said understanding of the connection between the population and food production would help to incorporate the youth who are the majority in the county to jumpstart agrarian revolution which will increase production to feed the high population.
He cited the need to do policies that will exploit youthful manpower to replace the ageing workforce.
County Public Health Director Dr Richard Onkware said Covid19 had brought new population challenges especially in the densely populated county of 1.3m people.
Dr Onkware said social distancing in some areas was not possible due to the high population which has been compounded by the second wave which is more lethal with 800 people infected so far and 26 casualties within the county.
Clarifying that more members of the community had died outside the county before they were brought home for burial hence raising the number of casualties to 100, Onkware said such information would be incorporated in the recommendations for the review because health
matters were a population issue.
An Assistant Director National Council for Population Development Francis Kung’u cited various factors to be looked into including population growth, health, agriculture and environment among others.
Kung’u said this was the second phase of the stakeholders’ forums which started this month and will incorporate 32 counties. The first phase was carried out last October with 15 counties.
The objectives of the revision and update of PPND are to review and align the Population Policy to the relevant national, regional and international development agenda, to include emerging issues and gaps identified during implementation, to provide opportunity for county
stakeholders to identify population issues to be included in the population policy, and to discuss challenges faced in implementation of the population policy and suggest recommendations.
Another objective is also, to provide a platform for consultation between the national government and county government on policy formulation.
By Clinton Nyamumbo and Jane Naitore