Embu County

Youth Empowerment, Sports, Gender Children, Culture and Social Service

Department Brief and Highlights

The department’s goal is to empower youth through skills development, talent harnessing and developing and maintaining sporting facilities. The sector deliverables in the MTEF period include: Training of youth on entrepreneurial skills, construction of youth empowerment Centre and refurbishment of sports facilities. During the period under review, the department has worked closely with other departments and sectors to ensure that youth issues are adequately addressed. As it has been all through, the department will continue to promote initiatives by the youths that promote good behavior and ensure the youth are engaged constructively.

The department has the following priorities

  1. To equip youth with relevant skills, knowledge and right attitudes for the labour market and be productive citizens.
  2. To provide an enabling environment for sports development


Museums, Heritage and Cultural sites

Some places of interest include Mwea National Reserve near Makima town, Mount Kenya climbing expeditions and National Reserve and Karue Hill picnic site off Embu-Runyenjes road and 7 folk hydroelectric power plants near Kiritiri town. These cultural sites and heritages sites will be opened up and will be developed and will start earning the county revenues from local and international tourist

The wildlife found in Mwea National reserve include hippos and crocodiles, elephants, zebras, Impala, baboons, monkeys, water bucks, crested porcupine and buffalo among others. Facing Embu, Mount Kenya is perhaps the most eye-catching feature. Besides mountain-climbing, the abundance of endemic plants, wild animals and bird species is a huge attraction to the mountain. The plan will target to open up and continue to develop a southern route that will open the route and attract more local and international tourists.

Talent Academies
The Embu Talent Academy is a long overdue project that seeks identify, nurture develop and place talented individuals with the aim of enhanced livelihoods while strengthening their contributions to the economic growth of their communities and the nation. For Embu, investing in the youth is a critical step towards achieving our CIDP, the MDGs Vision 2030 which aims at moving Kenya from a developing country to competitive middle-income country by the year 2030. The main thrust is to establish Talent Development Centre’s (TDC) in the Sub Counties where talented individuals can access and get training on the basis of their talent and still get remedial basic academic teaching to supplement for those in school and out of school. The talent academy also will also target to host the talent classes, a theatre for performances, the proposed county radio and TV stations and audio-visual recording studio as well as an administration office block. The Talent academy will also create an avenue for talent marketing, promotion, leisure and recreation.

Sports facilities
In Embu we have a county Moi stadium that is currently under rehabilitation, 4 sub county community play grounds and 10 community play grounds distributed in the county. In order to reach the target population, the county has identified selected schools play grounds for improvement in areas where the public play grounds are not adequate in order promote talent development programme. To equip youths with relevant skills, knowledge and right attitudes for the labour market and provision of an enabling environment for sports development the plan shall come up with a road map to develop a world class stadium for the county and develop other community play grounds at the sub county levels that will be developed and rehabilitated to ensure that youth talents are taped at every level.

Lands, Physical Planning Housing, Urban development, Environment, and Natural Resources

The department is tasked with management of policies relating to water and sewerage services and waste water treatment and disposal, Environment, Solid Waste Management, Issuance of Noise License and Demolition permits, Licenses for refuse transportation, Environmental protection, and awareness campaigns, and to county forestry and other natural resources. It is further mandated to undertake conservation, control and protection of water catchment areas, water quality and pollution control, flood control and land reclamation, restoration of wetlands, conservation and protection and provision of county forestry services, protection and regulation of marine ecosystems, meteorological services and training, county environment management, restoration of strategic county water towers and coordination of climate change enabling activities.

Department Brief and Highlights

Water department addresses the water supply services, sanitation and sewerage services. The priority areas are to ensure access to safe and portable water to the household. Currently major water works are in progress and majority of the household are able to access water. The county has many boreholes, dams and water pans which have contributed significantly to food production and hence reliance on the rain fed Agriculture has been minimized

The water sub-sector has continuously rehabilitated the existing water infrastructure through frequent inspection of the existing water system. Boreholes and wells which have broken have been revitalized. In promotion of proper sanitation, the existing water supply have been integrated with treatments section to promote consumption

All major projects and programmes which are being implemented under the county have undertaken an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). These has been undertaken as requisite to ensure that no projects/programmes which have adverse effect to the environment is undertaken. In supplementing the lack of enough trained environmentalists, the NEMA officers at the sub-county have partnered with development partners in training staff under sectors which their programmes interact with environment on Environmental Impact Assessment. This has gone a notch higher in ensuring that programmes being implemented in the county are complying with the environmental standards.

Major challenges that the ministry has experienced includes low investments in environment and mineral resources, low staffing in technical cadres, low enforcement of environmental regulations and standards, uncoordinated policies and institutional frameworks, low investments in the economic instruments in  conservation and constrain on budgetary resources.

The planning has focused on formulation of water and sewerage management policies including construction, rehabilitation and expansion of urban and rural water supply, drilling and equipping of bore holes, construction, rehabilitation and de-silting of dams and water pans, and county spatial planning and urban planning.

Departmental Priorities

The departmental priorities are:

  1. Provide clean domestic water to households, public institutions, and private organizations.
  2. Conserve the environment through protection of springs, rivers, catchment areas, and the re-afforestation
  3. Provision of physical planning services by planning of towns, public institutions
  4. Establish a county land tenure system

Departmental Key Achievements

The departmental key achievements are:

  • Provision of 645 tanks to all primary schools and public institutions
  • 40 boreholes rehabilitated and refurbished
  • Over 700 households connected to clean domestic water.
  • 20 springs protected
  • 100 woodlots established in schools and public institutions.
  • Establishment of storm water drainage system in Embu, Siakago and Runyenjes town.

Public Service, Administration and Devolution

The department has a mandate to

  1. Provision of effective Human Resource Management services;
  2. To establish decentralized public administration mechanisms that are accountable and responsive to people’s needs;
  3. Develop policies that encourage public participation in policy making;
  4. Provision of law enforcement services;
  5. Provision of solid waste management services;
  6. Provision of Public Communication
  7. Provision of Public Communication
  8. Information Technology services;
  9. Enhance efficient and effective utilization of public resources;
  10. Prudent management of official records.

The County Department of Public Service and Administration (CDPSA) draws its mandate from Part VI, VIII, IX, X and XII of County Government Act 2012 which articulates its functions. The CDPSA monitors, evaluates and undertakes public administration practices as far as recruitment, transfers, promotions and dismissals are concerned. The Department is headed by a Member of the CEC who is accountable to the County Governor for the performance of the functions and exercise of his or her powers. The activities and performance of CDPSA are communicated to the county assembly through County Executive Committee which provides full and regular reports on matters relating to the county to the County Assembly.

The CDSPA is composed of the following service units

Human Resource Management Unit

  1. Establishment of the section and section’s organization Structure
  2. Recruitment and staffing
  3. Improved payroll administration
  4. Staff audit ;
  5. Sound management of labour relations which led to reduced labour unrests;
  6. Set up Human Resource Advisory Committee.

Public Communication unit

  • Provide avenues for the access to government information
  • Publish and publicise any important information affecting the nation.
  • Integration of communication in all County development activities;
  • Observation of access to information by county media in accordance with Article 35 of the Constitution;
  • Adherence to the observation of media ethics, standards and professionalism.
  • Create awareness on devolution and governance;
  • Promote citizens understanding for purposes of peace and national cohesion
  • Undertake advocacy on core development issues such as agriculture, education, health, security, economics, sustainable environment among others;
  • Promotion of the freedom of the media in the County;
  • Establish mechanisms to facilitate public communication and access to information in the form of media with the widest public outreach in the county,
  • Facilitate other means of mass communication including traditional media.
  • Provision citizens on request to information held by any county government or any unit or department thereof or any other State organ in accordance with Article 35 of the Constitution.

Finance and Economic Planning

This County Annual Progress Report (CAPR) being prepared by the Economic Planning department. The report presents a full financial year review of budget performance for FY 2017/18. It is prepared in fulfilment of the County Government Act Article 102 (h) on principles of planning and development facilitation in a county which shall provide a platform for unifying planning,budgeting, financing, Programme implementation and performance review. It also seeks to fulfil Article 104 (1) (r) of the Public Finance Management Act on reporting regularly to the county assembly on the implementation of the annual county budget.The report presents the status of budget execution by Embu County Government during the period July 2017 to June 2018. It offers useful insight to the County Executive as well as the County Assembly on utilization of funds at the departmental level. The county executive is able to evaluate its achievement against set targets while the county assembly will be in a position to leverage on the report in oversight role. It also provides a platform for the public to evaluate county performance on budget implementation by the county government to enhance transparency and accountability as provided for in the Public Finance Management Act.The report comprises of four chapters as follows; chapter one captures the County background information while chapter two presents the county revenue basket. This involves undertaking a deeper analysis into the various revenue streams that make up the overall county revenue. Chapter three on the other hand analyses the broad economic classification of both recurrent and development expenditure. It focuses on performance of disaggregated expenditure that also outlines Personnel Emoluments (PE). Chapter four focuses on key issues, challenges faced by the county in the implementation of the budget are highlighted. It also provides recommendations and measures to be put in place to ensure that set objectives are met.

Trade, Tourism, Investments and Industrialization.

Department Brief and Highlights

It aims to embrace policies and programmes that optimize the economic, environmental and socio-cultural benefits of trade and tourism thus contributing to sustainable growth and development of the county. The County has contributed towards the achievement of the vision and mission by provision of credit facilities to small-scale traders, providing training on entrepreneur and management skills to the already existing and potential traders.

To spur economic growth and propel the county to higher levels of development, the county government has promoted investment opportunities and trade. Market sheds and Boda Boda sheds have been constructed at various markets to spur small business and encourage youth to venture into business. Fresh produce markets have also been improved in different markets to enable farmers have a market for their produce. Market toilets and water connection in markets has also been established.

The county government also aims at establishing proper marketing strategies aimed at opening up of key tourist destinations. In regard to this the county has undertaken tourism infrastructure development in some key areas like the Mwea Game Reserve, Mt Kenya Eastern route and Nthenge Njeru Falls.

Main tourist attractions and activities
Tourism is a key sub-sector that has a high potential in the county for both local and international tourists. Some of the available sites include caves, waterfalls and rocky hills for rock climbers. Tourists visiting Embu County will also be able to engage in rock climbing at the Karue hill that towers along the Embu-Meru highway. The county is also a gateway to Mt. Kenya which, if aggressively marketed can bring huge incomes to the county. The county is also a host to a number of hydro-electric power dams which are a source of tourist attraction for both local and international tourists.

Other potential tourist attractions include the Nthenge Njeru waterfalls near Kirimiri. A trip to Mwenendega site and the Mbui Njeru waterfalls can be an exciting experience. There are caves near these waterfalls and others inside Kirimiri forest hill which are historically significant as they served as the hideouts for Mau Mau freedom fighters. The Mwea National Reserve which is located in Mbeere South at a distance of about 200km from Nairobi. It is a major attraction site for wild game viewing boat rides at Kamburu dam, hippo point, rare birds watching and a walking circuit. Its ecosystem comprises of small hills with bushy vegetation and scattered bushes of acacia and baobab. It is also the meeting point of rivers Tana and Thiba, Kamburu and Masinga hydro-electric dams, which harbor variety of biodiversity

Main wildlife
Wildlife is also a significant source of attraction for tourists. Two national parks namely; Mwea and Mt Kenya that are managed by KWS have great potential for the tourism industry in the county. Mwea game reserve is home to species such as the Elephant, lesser kudu, Nile crocodile, hippo, giraffe, Burchell’s zebra, buffalo, leopard, grey duiker, black-backed jackal, bushbuck, waterbuck, olive baboon, sykes’ monkey, serval cat, spotted hyena, warthog, rock hyrax, bush pig, impala and hartebeest. Rare animals like; Stripped ground squirrel, Genet cat
and Black backed jackal yellow baboons. Over 200 species of birds are also to be found in the reserve which is renowned for its water birds and waders. Mwea game reserve is the only protected area in which the globally threatened and Kenya-endemic Hinde’s babbler is known to occur. The reserve also shelters two other rare species; Pel’s fishing owl and the white-backed night heron. In Mt. Kenya National Park, wildlife species include Elephants, tree hyrax, white-tailed mongoose, suni, black fronted duiker, mole rat, bushbucks, water buck and Elands. Animas rarely seen include leopard, bongo, giant forest hog and rhino. Over 130 bird species are also available in the National park.

Departmental Priorities

The departmental priorities are:

  1. Increase volume of intra and extra county trade
  2. To stimulate industrial technological activities to create employment and eradicate poverty
  3. To increase the number of tourist arrivals and earnings from tourism.

Departmental key achievements

  • Training of entrepreneurship and business development
  • Weighing & Measuring Equipment calibrated
  • Increased number of domestic and foreign investors
  • Value addition Processing unit established
  • Increased number of tourists’ arrivals and earnings from tourism
  • To increase the number of bed nights occupancy and tourism revenues

Infrastructure, Transport, Energy

Road and Airstrips
The road network in the county as shown in map consists of 914.3 Km of earthen surface, 154 km of tarmac which includes the Meru-Embu highway and Embu- Kiritiri road, as well as 948 km of gravel surface. The county is also host to two airstrips. One airstrip is located at Don Bosco in Embu town and is currently being refurbished. It is used mainly for security purposes. The other airstrip is in Kiambere and is mainly used by KenGen.

Energy Access
Embu County is a major stakeholder in the energy sector nationally. It is host to the regionally famous seven-folk project which has an installed capacity of 543.2 MW, placing its contribution to the national installed H.E.P capacity at 80.2 percent. The production capacities for the various stations. Electricity connectivity stands at 21.2 percent of households in Runyenjes and Manyatta sub-counties while 4.9 percent of households’ percent in Mbeere North and Mbeere South sub-counties are also connected. The main source of energy is fire wood (80.4 percent) while electricity coverage is more confined to urban areas as compared to rural areas. Many trading centres have not been connected to the national grid although the rural electrification programme is reversing this scenario. The other major beneficiaries of rural electrification are public institutions such as schools and health facilities. The majority of residents use paraffin as the main source of lighting. The traditional stone fire is the most prevalent cooking appliance used by the county population.

Housing Types
Housing is generally classified as permanent and semi-permanent. As recorded in the 2009 census report, 121,230 households in Embu County use corrugated iron sheets, of the permanent houses in the county, 54,114 are constructed using corrugated iron sheets, tiles, shingles all laid on timber trusses for roofing. For the permanent houses, walling is composed of quarry stones, bricks and man-made concrete blocks. These types of houses are found to dominate in all the urban centres in Embu County and the rural areas of Sub Counties of Embu West, Embu East and Embu North. Most of the permanent houses in Embu town are storeyed. However, the majority of the buildings in other towns in Embu County are single floor.

Of the total number of households in Embu County, 4690 households use grass, makuti or tin for roofing. The walls are made of either mud, timber, or a combination of mud and timber, and stabilized interlocking earth blocks. However, stabilised interlocking earth blocks can be used in constructing permanent houses, depending on the level of stabilization. These semi-permanent houses are largely to be found in the Sub Counties of Mbeere South and Mbeere North.

Land and Land Use
The County is characterised by a predominantly rural settlement pattern. There is a concentration of people along the major permanent water sources such as rivers and dams where irrigation, farming and fishing are carried out. The settlement pattern is also influenced by social economic activities, rain and soil fertility. Mbeere North and Mbeere South receive less rainfall and have a more scattered settlement pattern compared to Manyatta and Runyenjes sub-counties which receive more rainfall.
The county has three major urban centres, namely Embu, Siakago and Runyenjes towns. There are also major market centres like Ishiara, Karaba, Kiritiri, Gachoka, and Kianjokoma. These areas have relatively better developed infrastructure and therefore have good potential for business enterprises.

Health and Nutrition

Health Access

The county has one level five hospital, 4 level four, 11 level 3 hospitals, and 77 level two hospitals. This gives the total of 93 county public health facilities with Mbeere South sub-county having the largest number of health facilities followed by Runyenjes sub-county with 25, Manyatta sub-county with 23 while Mbeere North Sub County has 17 public health facilities

Diseases of the respiratory system account for the largest share of diseases affecting the general populace accounting for 57.23 percent of the five most common diseases. Diseases of the skin account for 14.12 percent while intestinal account for 11.72 percent.

Nutritional status
The wellness of any population is gauged by the nutritional status of children under-five years who is the most vulnerable subset of the population of any community. Globally malnutrition accounts for 11% of the disease burden leading to long term poor health, education and developmental outcomes. Malnutrition places children at an increased risk of morbidity, mortality and impaired mental development.

Water, Irrigation and Natural Resources

The main sources of drinking water in the county include rivers, dams, piped water, boreholes, springs, wells and pans. The County is served by six major rivers; Thuci that borders Tharaka- Nithi that borders, Tana that borders Machakos County, forms the boundary to Kirinyaga County, Rupingazi forms the boundary to kirinyaga, Thiba and Ena. These major rivers originate from Mt. Kenya Forest in Manyatta and Runyenjes sub-counties, 30.1 percent of the population get water from rivers, 35. Percent from piped water and 21 percent from dug well. In Mbeere North and Mbeere South constituencies, 40.4 percent get water from rivers, 8.2 percent from piped water, 23.7 percent from dug wells and 10.9 percent from boreholes. Manyatta constituency and Kirimari ward have the highest number of residents who have access to clean and improved water sources compared to residents from Mbeere North and Mbeere South sub- who have difficulty accessing water for both domestic and farming
purposes. These two sub-counties heavily rely on mirra as their source of income and in most cases have to ferry water tanks from major towns with water. In order to reduce water shortages and improve on drought preparedness in Mbeere North, the County Government of Embu.


Irrigation is the application of controlled amounts of water to plants at needed intervals. It helps grow agricultural crops in dry areas and during periods of less than average rainfall. Irrigation infrastructure and schemes ensures repair of water supply and irrigation distributions systems.

Irrigation potential
Irrigation includes any practice that stores, directs, or exploits water such as water harvesting, use of low lying wetlands and ground water as well as the more traditional techniques of diverting or lifting water for distribution using surface, sprinkler or trickle irrigation methods. There are two categories of irrigated farming in Embu county namely- private commercial farms e.g. yonder and Smallholder schemes. Presently the county is irrigating an average of 1067Ha and can achieve more to about 60,000Ha if all water sources could be exploited i.e.
Ground water, Rivers, springs, shallow wells, boreholes and runoff harvesting.

Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperative Development

Crop, Livestock, Fish Production and Value addition

The agriculture sector continues to play a vital role in the rural economy. The sector was one of the first to fully devolve the function of service provision to the county governments underscoring the importance of County Governments’ role in ensuring food security. Agriculture is key to Kenya’s economy, contributing 26 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and another 27 percent of GDP indirectly through linkages with other sectors. The sector employs more than 40 percent of the total population and more than 70.1 percent of Kenya’s rural people. Majority of the population in the county derive their livelihood from crop farming and livestock keeping, which accounts for approximately 87.9 percent of the County population.
Main crops produced
The main crops produced in Embu County are classified into three categories namely; food crops, industrial and horticultural crops
Acreage under food and cash crops
Acreage under crop measures the average number of acres planted to a particular program crop for a specified year.

Main livestock breeds and facilities
Livestock farming is gaining popularity with the revival of milk cooperatives and investment by private sector and county government on dairy value chain. Dairy farming is concentrated in Manyatta and Runyenjes sub-counties while in Mbeere North and Mbeere South, indigenous breeds are reared. The main types of animals reared include cattle, goats, sheep and chicken. Rabbit rearing has also become an attractive venture to the farmers. The main types of livestock kept include cattle (zebu and dairy), the East African Goat, red Maasai sheep, donkeys, goats (dairy and beef), chicken (Indigenous, layers and broilers), pigs and rabbits.

Education, Skills, and Literacy

Pre-school: The ratio of teachers to pupils in ECDE in the county is 1:42.There is a higher number of boys than girls enrolled in public ECDE by 4.28 percent and 9.04 percent in private ECDE. In general, the enrolment for boys in both public and private ECDE is higher by 5.8 percent than that of girls. Comparing with 2015, there is a positive record of boys’ enrolment by 2.73 percent and a negative record of girls’ enrolment by 3.81 percent in both public and private ECDE; translating to a decrease by 0.45 percent in enrolment rate for all pupils in both
public and private ECDE.

Primary Schools:

There are a higher number of boys enrolled in public primary school and also in private primary school by 0.97 percent and 3.35 percent respectively. The enrolment for boys in both public and private primary schools is 1.27 percent higher than that of girls. There was a decrease in boys’ and girls’ enrolment from 2015 by 6.14 percent and 8.81 percent respectively. This shows an average decrease of enrolment rate by 7.48 percent.

Secondary Schools:

The enrolment for girls in secondary school is 3.81 percent higher than that of boys in both public and private secondary schools. There was a 3.61 percent increase in the enrolment rate for boys from 2015 and 3.62 percent for that of girls. This translates to an average enrolment rate of 3.615 percent for all students enrolled in both public and private secondary schools.

Tertiary institutions
Embu University: It is located along Meru Nairobi Highway. It was created from Embu Agricultural Staff Training (EAST). EAST College was established in 1947 as an agriculture training school for pre service training at certificate level to Kenya African Preliminary Examination (KAPE) students.

Vocational Training centres:

There is a higher number of enrolments for boys than girls in Youth polytechnics by 45.38 percent. The government has distributed equipment worth Ksh 8.6 million; it has also allocated 63 youth instructors for all the Vocational training centers in the county. In respect to the needy cases in the youth polytechnics, the county government has offered them financial assistance in terms of bursaries.


Last Update: November 30, 2021
November 30, 2021 657 DEBORAHEmbu County
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