Roads, Public Works, and Transport
Homa Bay County has one class A1 (Kisii-Kisumu) road which covers about 30Km. There is the one class C20 (Homa Bay Rongo) road covering about 30Km; two class C19 (Homa Bay – Mbita and Homa Bay – Kendu Bay) road covering about 71Km, one class C18 (Rodi Company- Sori, Oyugis to Rodi) road covering about 32Km. All these class A and C roads are bituminized surfaces except Oyugis-Rodi Kopany. A total of 201Km of the road surface in the county is under bitumen, including one class D217 (Kadongo – Gendia) road covering about 33Km and one D221 road of about 5Km linking Kadongo to the county boundary with Nyamira County. The rest of the classified road network of about 3041Km is not bituminized with 25 per cent under gravel and 75 per cent under earth, though D219 is currently under construction to bitumen standards.
Homa Bay County also has five airstrips, namely: Kabunde, Mfangano, Rusinga, Otange and Otaro airstrip but only Kabunde airstrip has been upgraded to 1.2Km of airport standards runway and is operational with nine flights per week. In terms of water transport, Homa Bay County has 2 water buses, 2 ferry services between Mbita and Lwanda Kotieno, and Mbita – Mfangano. Homa Bay County has 151 underdeveloped landing beaches and 6 jetties which includes Mbita (2), Kendubay (1), Mfangano (2), and Homa Bay (1). The 12 islands in the county water surface area are accessible with the majority only by motor boats. The harbors established by Kenya Railways in Homa Bay, Kendu -Bay and Kajimu need basic rehabilitation. The county has neither a railway system nor a pipeline.
Education and ICT
Education, Skills, Literacy, and Infrastructure
Literacy is the ability to read for knowledge, write coherently and think critically about the written word. It involves, at all levels, the ability to use and communicate in a diverse range of technologies. Education on the other hand is the activity involved in the acquisition of knowledge and skills both formally or informally hence makingit very critical for economic development. This section gives information on facilities and enrolment, teacher to pupil/student ratios, transition rates, completion rates and retention rates for both pre-school education, primary education and secondary education.
Pre- School Education /Early Childhood Development Education
Attendance to pre-school education in an organized learning or child education program isimportant for the readiness of children to school. It is well recognized that a period of rapid brain development occurs in the first 3-4 years of life, and the quality of home care is a major determinantof the child’s development during this period. In this context, adult activities with children, presence of books at home, for the child, and the conditions of care are important indicators ofquality of child care. A World Fit for Children goalis that “children should be physically healthy,mentally alert, emotionally secure, socially competent and ready to learn”.Activities that support early learning and development included the involvement of adultswithchildren in the following activities like reading books, looking at picture books, telling stories,singingsongs, taking children outside the home, compound or yard, playing with children, andspending timewith children naming, counting, or drawing things.
Universal access to basic education and the achievement of primary education by children is one of the county’s most important goals of the Sustainable Development Goals. Education is a vital prerequisite for combating poverty, empowering women, protecting children from hazardous and exploitative labour and sexual exploitation, promoting human rights and democracy, protecting the environment, and influencing population growth.
Non-formal learning includes various structured learning situations, such as swimming sessions fortoddlers, community-based sports programs and conference style seminars, which do not either 56 have the level of curriculum, syllabus, accreditation and certification associated with ‘formal learning’, but have more structure than that associated with ‘informal learning’, which typically take place naturally and spontaneously as part of other activities.
Adult literacy is an SDG indicator, relating to both men and women. 74 per cent of women in Homa Bay County are literate. According to MICS 2011, literacy varies by age, education level and levels of household wealth index. 68 per cent of young women aged 20-24 and 79 per cent of young women aged 15-19 years are literate. Also, 63 per cent and 98 per cent of women who have attained primary school and secondary school/higher education respectively are literate. Literacy rate is at 61 per cent in women from the lowest wealth quintile and 87 per cent in women from the highest wealth quintile.
The county has in the most current Cedia Utawala Survey Report, 2014, 50 Youth Polytechnics witha total enrolment of 2,970 students. The number of Youth Polytechnics in Homa Bay increased from 24 in the year 2013 to 26 in the year 2016. There is a need to establish more youth polytechnics to cater for the growing youth population.
According to MICS report 2011, the average net attendance ratio at secondary school is 18.2 per cent 21.3 per cent for boys and girls respectively. This means that less than a quarter of children of the secondary school-going age are in school on a typical day. There are over 180 secondary schools in the county catering for the secondary education needs of a total 96,131 eligible children however only the 63,400 children between the ages of thirteen and seventeen are accommodated. This represents an average enrolment of 66 per cent of the children eligible for secondary school education. With an estimated staff establishment of 1,224 it can be projected that the teacher pupil ratio will jump from 1:49 currently to 1:79 once a gross enrolment rate of 100 per cent is achieved. To achieve the national target of 100 per cent gross enrolment and a teacher pupil ratio of 1:40,measures must be in place to hire additional teachers for the existing secondary schools in the county. With 42.8 per cent of the married having got married at between 15 and 17 years and with over 56 per cent of the children who attend school being involved in some form of child labour, it is imperative that challenges of child marriages and child labour are addressed as a matter of priority.
The county of Homa Bay according to the study has 2 public technical training institutions: Mawego, Wanyama and one public Teacher Training College at Asumbi. There are6 private accredited Teacher Training Colleges: Nyandiwa, Nyabola, GEBS, St. Francis, Mbita ECD, Joy ECD and, one private accredited commercial college in Homa Bay (Yolifa Institute). There are also two University Branches in the county: Tom Mboya University College and University of Nairobi and Homa Bay Extra-Mural Centre. With poverty rates of Homa Bay at 48.4 (KNBS), most of the students who complete secondary are not able to proceed to tertiary institutions. The low 58 transition to post-secondary institutions must be addressed first by building tertiary institutions within the reach of the populations in each sub-county and then support in terms of tuition, transport and accommodation given to students from those households of poor wealth quintiles.
Adult and Continuing Education
Literacy rates in the County are quite low. Given the general apathy towards adult education, the County should seek ways of attracting more adults to continuing education in order to improve literacy among the general population. As a way of doing this and of increasing the number of existing designated adult education centres, new adult education units could be started atminimum cost within existing public institutions such as primary schools, secondary schools,vocational and technical institutions.
Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET)
There is only one Technical Training Institute (TVET) in Homa Bay County known as Mawego TTI in Karachuonyo Sub County according to the most current Utawala, 2014 Survey reports.
Information Communication and Technology
Homa Bay County has 14 post offices spread across its vast territory to adequately cater for its population needs. However, with the emergence of mobile phones-based short message services, increased availability of email facilities, other electronic media and curio services, the use of post office services has been significantly reduced. The county enjoys mobile phone penetration of 85.6% with all the national telephone operators registering a presence. The use of all landline services has virtually ended in the county with most connectivity infrastructure vandalized. Possession of mobile phones is at 54% averagely in the county, while this has significantly increased for the urban households with 9 in 10 urban households (94 percent) owning a mobile phone. Huduma Centre was introduced in the county hence bringing services closer and boosting the economy.
The County Government of Homa Bay has developed a Multi-Sectoral County ICT Road Map to guide the implementation of ICT in the County; established an ICT and Innovation Hub in Homa Bay Town; extended the fiber optic cable to the County Headquarters; operationalized County Website and improved government service delivery processes by networking various offices. There is need to expand the already existing ICT hubs that had been started by the National Government and further expand incubation centers in the remaining sub counties.
Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food Security
Agriculture extension service is provided majorly by the County Department of Livestock, Fisheries, Agriculture and Food Security and to a small extent by the private sector. The county gets research services from Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) Opapo Sugar Research Station, ICIPE Mbita, Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research institute (KEMFRI) based in Kisumu and Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization Kisii. There has been an Agricultural Training Center that has since been converted into Tom Mboya University College. Self Help Africa through an NGO called Rheal Solution has established cassava multiplication sites in most of the sub counties. International Sweet Potato Center (CIP) has also established sweet potato multiplication sites in Rangwe, Kasipul and Kabondo Kasipul sub counties.
The main livestock breeds reared in Homa Bay county are: the east African zebu for meat, milk and draught power, meat and dairy goats, indigenous poultry, indigenous sheep and to some lesser extent dairy animals and few exotic poultry, donkeys, a few pigs, ducks and geese. Emerging livestock including quails and ostrich keeping is yet to be introduced in the county and has great potential. Livestock keeping is practiced in all parts of the County. Livestock production facilities in the county include: livestock auction yards in major livestock markets of Nyangweso, Rodi, Kipasi, Mbita, Sindo, Pala and Magunga, Oyugis, Ringa, Oriang and 2 slaughter houses one in homa Bay and the other in Oyugis.
There exists no known form of ranching in Homa Bay County. Ranching is not viable in the county due to the land subdivision into small unsustainable units. Ranching requires large tracks of land which does not exist as single units in Homa Bay.
Two main commercial fish species in the County includes Nile perch (L. Niloticus) which accounts for 37,000 Metric tons annually and dagaa (R. Argentae) accounting for 34,000 metric tons annually. Production of Tilapia which is a local delicacy is still low and it is sourced throughcapture fisheries and fish farming. The fisher folk in the County are organized into Beach Management Units (BMUs) and the County has a total of 133 Beach Management Units (BMUs)which are distributed in 141 fish landing sites where active fishing activities are undertaken. Homa Bay County has a relatively long lake shore with less polluted inshore waters bordering Uganda. The County produces approximately 50% of the total fish production in Kenya’s Lake Victoria.
The sector had various key notable achievements during the period 2013-18 including procurement of drugs and non-pharmaceuticals for all gazetted health facilities(260); recruitment of 711 additional health personnel; construction of modern maternity wards in Ndhiwa, Rangwe and Kendu Bay sub county hospitals; renovation of part of County referral hospital, establishment of 1 satellite MTCs in Oyugis; implementation of the Community Health Strategy, recruitment of 2147 CHWs in the process; procurement of digitized medical equipment including renal and dialysis machines, x-rays, CT scan and ultra-sound machines; construction of 5 staff houses, construction of 4 general wards, purchase of 7 fully equipped ambulances in collaboration with partners; purchase of 2 hospital generators and establishment of 14 WASH facilities in the county. The sector established green energy (solar energy) in 11 facilities with the support of partners.
Trade, Industrialization, Cooperatives and Enterprise Development
Trade and industry is extensively done through the department of trade, industry, investment and enterprise development in Homa Bay County. The trade and industrial processes in the county are markets, industrial parks, major industries and varied businesses.
Homa Bay County currently has 103 active major markets generating revenue in the 8 sub counties. Some of the markets and trading Centre’s lack vital services such as proper sheds, parking space, public space, water and sanitation facilities, and proper solid waste management among others. These markets generate a bigger portion of the local revenues thus there is need to develop them.
Homa Bay County has no industrial park. However, efforts have been made that have culminated to the signing of MoU with EPZA on the same. 100Ha of land for industrial park and 10Ha for waste management has been acquired for the same at Kakdhimu.
Homa Bay County has a limited presence of industries being home only to two fish processing industries in Homa Bay Town and Mbita Point, one sugar processing industry in Ndhiwa, an ice plant in Mbita Point that processes and packages drinking water and, an integrated industry in Kwethumbe (Suba) that processes forest products. The cotton processing ginnery in Homa Bay had collapsed due to market and technological challenges and with the introduction of cheap synthetic alternatives to cotton in the world market that made cotton farming unattractive to most farmers in the county. Effort is however being made by Cotton Development Authority (CoDA) to reintroduce cotton farming as a serious enterprise in the county particularly in Karachuonyo, Homa Bay Town, Ndhiwa and Rangwe sub-counties where great potential still exists. The county‘s cottage industry is still modest with about 6,400 artisans registered in 356 jua kali associations.
Tourism, Sports, Gender, Culture and Social Services
Homa Bay County sits in a prominent position to be a lead destination in the Western Tourism Circuit and is home to Ruma National Park which is the only park where unique and rare species like the roan antelope can be found. The county also hosts events and sites of mythical interest like the Tom Mboya Mausoleum, the Mfangano Rock Art, Oyugis Bird Sanctuary, Homa Hills Hot Spring and SimbiNyaima. There are over 18 islands such as Rusinga and Mfangano, peninsulas and bays some with unique fauna and flora and an impressive array of physical features with great aesthetic value. There is need to improve these tourism sites to bring in revenue to the county. It also boasts of breath-taking scenery and forested landscape leading to and around the Lake Victoria coast line, especially within Mbita and Suba, such as is the case with the Sikri peninsula. There are also opportunities for sports and cultural tourism especially as relates to the way of life of the Luo and the Abasuba whose traditional boat racing and artifacts continue to attract a lot of local and international tourists.
Main Tourist Attractions and Activities
Homa Bay County is home to tourist attractions of the lake region that has been categorized as Nature and Wildlife, Culture, Heritage and Community-Based Tourism, Agro-tourism, Eco-tourism etc. Some of the major tourism attraction sites include Ruma National Park and Homa Hills. The county local residents are usually involved in cultural events that boost tourism.
Homa Bay County has 91% and 9% of unclassified and classified hotels respectively. This is according to the last National Hotel Classification exercise that was carried out in 2003.
The County Government of Homa Bay has entered into negotiation with the National Government to support the development of Homa Bay County Stadium at a cost of Kshs. 1.5 billion. The focus of this current CIDP (2018 – 2022) will be on the development of Homa Bay County Stadium as a Regional Sports Stadium, development of 8 Sub-County Stadia, Development of an ultra-modern Sports Gymnasia and establishment of Homa Bay County Sports Fund to promote sports activities in the County.
Museums, Heritage and Cultural Sites
Homa Bay County is a home to several heritages and cultural sites. Prominent among these are: Lake SimbiNyaima, Ruma National Park, Tom Mboya Mausolem, Rusinga Cultural Festival, Gor Mahia Shrine in Ndhiwa, among many others. In the previous term of (2013 – 2017), The County Government of Homa Bay face lifted and refurbished Tom Mboya Mausoleum in Rusinga, Oyugis Birds Sanctuary in Kasipul, purchased land around the GorMahia Shrine and earmarked it for the development of GorMahia Sports and Cultural Complex through PPP and mapped all other cultural sites across the county for conservation and protection.
Focus in the current CIDP (2018 – 2022) will be on the development of Homa Bay Stadium to an ultra-modern sports complex with the support of the National Government, development of GorMahia Shrine as a Tourist Attraction Site complete with a Cultural Artefacts Exhibition Centers, a Sports Complex and Conference Facility, in partnership with the KWS, initiate the Roan Antelope Conservation Campaign and promote Eco-Tourism Investment in and around Ruma National Park to boost both local and international tourism at the Park and to promote linkage between Research Institutions and the Homa Bay County Government for the purpose of further development of our unique heritages and cultural sites.
Currently Homa Bay County has no talent academies but there is dire need for the same to nurture the various talents among the youth in the County.
Lands, Housing, Urban Development and Physical Planning
A desktop survey by Cedia Africa/Utawala (2016) revealed that only 11% of the land is used under cash crops. Most of the land is being used to produce subsistence food crops. The County has the potential to produce more than it can consume. The mean land holding size in Homa Bay County stands at 6 acres, meaning majority of farmers fall in the bracket of smallholders. On average, two acres of these are used for settlement and the balance is used for agricultural and rural development purpose.
The survey further reported key challenges facing land use and hence agriculture to include drought, lack of access to credit, and outbreak of pests/diseases such as army worms, inadequate staff at the sub-county, ward and location levels, especially extension staff, high poverty levels and low soil fertility. 80% of the farmers produce maize and beans as the staple crops of the county. Main cash crops produced in the county are sugar cane (Ndhiwa), Sun Flower (Suba North and South) Rice, Pineapple (Rangwe) and Potatoes and Groundnuts (Karachuonyo South, Karachuonyo East, Rangwe and Ndhiwa). Excellent potential exists for cotton production in Suba North, Homa Bay Town, Rangwe and Karachuonyo North Sub-Counties.
Homa Bay County land is subdivided into type and size. The various land types include arable, non arable, water mass and urban area. The land is further categorized into arable land (2154.9Km2), Non-arable land (843.1 Km2), water mass (1227.3 Km2) and urban area (185.3 Km2). Arable area occupies the largest area at 2154.9 km2 followed closely by water mass at 1227.3 Km2. This is an indication that Homa Bay County has high potentials for fishing and agriculture, main economic activates for the county.
The type of material used for the floor of a building often serve as useful indicator of housing quality from both health and wealth perspective. The vast majority of housing units in the county are earth-floored (74.7 per cent), mud-wood walled (65.6 per cent) and iron-roofed (82.3 per cent). According to the 2009 Kenya Population and Housing Census, 11.2 per cent of the housing in the county was classified as permanent even though this figure is expected to have experience great improvement over the last three years. 24.4 per cent of the housing in the county had floors made of cement, 15.1 per cent roofs were grass thatched and 16.5 per cent and 5.6 per cent had walls made of cemented materials and corrugated iron sheets respectively. Less than 1 per cent was tiled either on the roof or on the floor. Appropriate infrastructure for housing development is still lacking in the county and it would be imperative for government to step in and help modernize housing in the county through appropriate support mechanisms such as mortgage guaranteeing, urban regeneration and housing subsidies.
Majority of Homa Bay county residents rely heavily on fuel wood (84%) and charcoal (13.4%) for cooking. Firewood is used more intensively in rural areas while charcoal in urban areas. As a result, Homa Bay is one of the counties with a negative biomass net balance represented by an annual deficit of 257,706 cubic meters. The county is not doing well in terms of efficient use of paraffin for lighting, with 94.6 per cent of households using it for lighting. This scenario is unsustainable and must be reversed by increasing access to alternative clean energy such as grid electricity, off-grid solar, biomass energy and solar lamps. Energy saving cook stoves or Jikos will also be promoted to reduce firewood and paraffin consumption in the county through the program known as “Operation Nyangile out.” Average annual demand for electric energy in Homa Bay County was 51.1GWh as at the end of 2016 and is expected to increase to 149.31Gwh (low case scenario) or 284.25Gwh (high case scenario) by the year 2030. This does not compare favorably with power supply, which originates from Eastern and Central parts of Kenya where most of the power generating plants are located. Given the expected growth in electric energy demand, the County Government plans to meet the deficit by facilitating investments in solar, geothermal and biomass power generation plants, which have significant power generation potential in the County.
Finance, Economic Planning and Service Delivery
The financial services are critical for the achievement of 10 per cent annual GDP growth rate as indicated in the Vision 2030. A significant increase in investment is needed for mobilizing both domestic and international resources towards achieving the Vision 2030.The goal of the sector will be achieved by deepening financial markets focusing on enhancing effective access to financial services and improving efficiency while maintaining financial stability.
The system of payments of taxes via mobile money has been implemented and payments can now be made via Safaricom’s Mpesa system and Airtel Money. More people now preferusing the money mobile banking and payments system as opposed to walking to the banks. Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) survey, 2017, recorded number of mobile money subscriptions as 31.9 million served by 161,583 active mobile money agents in the county. It should be noted that this volume included person-to-person transfers and mobile commerce (paying for goods and services using till and pay-bill numbers, among other options), where KES 515.9 billion and KES 586.4 billion worth of transactions were made for the respective categories.
There are six formal banking institutions in Homa Bay County namely Barclays Bank, Kenya Commercial Banks, Cooperative Bank, Equity Bank, Post Bank and National Bank. Notably, most co-operatives are SACCO’s providing their members with convenient and secure means for saving money and obtaining credit at affordable interest rates.
Water, Sanitation, and Environment
Save for Lake Victoria and other known natural sources such as rivers and springs, the county of HomaBay has several water facilities spread over 211 sub-locations. These facilities include boreholes, water pans and water wells/springs. Whereas development partners such as World Vision have made great sides in development and rehabilitation of water facilities, many areas still remain water-deficient particularly in Karachuonyo, Rangwe, Suba South and Homa Bay Town.
In each of the four county towns, rehabilitation of both the old and new intakes is on-going, and new pumps are being installed, resulting in a doubling of urban water production. Immediate works to reduce leaks and rehabilitate the treatment works at the reservoirs will help to reduce unaccounted-for-water from 65% to the present level of 41%. Additional works will include the laying of many kilometers of PVC pipeline, installation of 100 tipping bins and 10 waste transfer stations, construction of 80 VIP latrines in selected schools and public areas and a number of water kiosks in low income settlements.
The major water resources in Homa Bay County includes rivers AwachKibwon, AwachTende, Maugo, Kuja, Rangwe, Riana, Sondu-Miriu and Lake Victoria. Other sources include 71 shallow wells, 43 protected springs, 78 unprotected springs, 383 water pans, 119 boreholes and rainwater catchment in 8,553 households.
Conserving natural resources is a basic requirement for ensuring local populations is not vulnerable to climate change risks and impacts. It is also important for improving the quality of life for 41 communities. Therefore, changing how essential resources are managed and how energy needs are met is a priority for the County of Homa Bay. Urgent action must be taken to halt global warming and reduce climate change risks while encouraging sustainable development. The Lake Victoria Basin continues to face major ecological challenges that have caused considerable hardship for the population depending on it for their livelihoods and have also reduced the biodiversity of the lake’s flora and fauna. According to ICRAF (2000), more than 80% of the population in the basin is engaged in agricultural production. Deforestation coupled with bad agricultural practices has persistently exacerbated the problem of land degradation in the basin and sedimentation in the lake. As a result, land degradation in prime agricultural areas within the catchments has been attributed to food productivity losses. By fusing geospatial techniques and empirical soil erosion modeling techniques mainly the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) Model that looked at five key soil erosion control parameters: vegetation cover, rainfall erosivity, slope factor, soil erodibility and population density, the major land degradation hot spots were defined by the very high class as well as overall spatial variability of land degradation severities in the basin’s context. The finding from analysis of results revealed that majority of the basin is experiencing moderate soil erosion but this is shifting towards high.
Last Update: December 21, 2021