Vihiga County

Transport, Infrastructure, and Communication

The department is tasked with the development, management, rehabilitation and maintenance of Transport Network and infrastructure facilities. The critical ideas include road works, electrification, ICT, street lighting, firefighting, and parking. The bulk of the road network (862km) in the county falls under the unpaved status. The county has only 157km of paved roads and 20km of this is a highway currently under construction by KeNHA. It has formed a county roads technical committee comprising of roads agencies operating in the county such as Kerra, KURA, CDF managers (Luanda, Emuhaya, Vihiga, Hamisi, and Sabatia), and Mudete Tea Factory among others . This committee is tasked with developing an integrated roads work plan for the county including all aspects of coordination, supervision and enforcement of envisaged standards. Our vision in the county is to increase paved roads by 50kmby the end of the five year plan period.

In addition, the ministry will engage Kenya Roads Board and other development agencies on matters related to policy development, upgrading of roads to paved status, capacity development of the staff and contractors, and purchase of our own plant and machinery Electricity penetration in the county is rated at 7%. This implies that the majority of residents cannot access electric power under the existing distribution channels. A sum of Sh. 100 million has been allocated in this year’s budget, and with collaboration with strategic partners, more residents and institutions will be electrified. The county’s ICT infrastructure is inadequate i.e. it is not networked either by Local Area Network, Wide Area Network 0r, to the internet service providers. This has impaired on good voice and data communication. The ministry is carrying out feasibility studies to identify suitable ICT infrastructure and solutions that will support the automation of services in the County. The major urban centers namely Mbale, Luanda, Chavakali, Hamisi, Majengo, among others shall be modernized by, designating parking space, installing streetlights, availing firefighting services, and constructing various social amenities. With these major infrastructural developments, we will be strategically positioned to achieve.

Finance and Economic Planning

Finance and Economic Planning is strategic and central to the County’s economic management to ensure proper budgetary and expenditure management of Resources. It is responsible for but not limited to formulating financial and economic policies and procedures; management of revenues, expenditures and borrowing by the county to ensure expenditure is within revenue collected to reduce borrowing and budget deficit; coordination of departments in preparation of county budgets; accounting, auditing, and procurement including receipting and accounting for county revenue, disbursement of funds, collection of taxes, cash and debt management. Corruption denies the development of valuable funds and therefore has not been tolerated within the County operations. One of the department’s priorities has been to work closely with the county executive in aligning the development plans and programs to ensure relevant uptake capacity of devolved funds. Key accomplishments by Treasury include preparation of the county budget that was consequently passed by the County Assembly that has seen the County rated as among the best in the utilization of funds disbursed. Adequate measures are being put in place to improve on revenue collection to ensure that the county raises adequate funds to finance development activities.

Administration and Coordination of County Affairs

The Department of Administration and Coordination of County Affairs was formed to implement specific county government functions. The Fourth schedule, Part II of the Kenya Constitution, 2010, outlines the devolved functions to be performed by the Department. The County Department consists of two directorates namely; Human Resource Management and Public Administration.
The county public sector is under continued pressure from the citizenry to demonstrate high levels of performance and results that give value for money. However the department is faced with several challenges and emerging issues limiting its ability to deliver its functions effectively. The major challenges include lack of enabling policy, legislations, and institutional framework to guide the department in executing its mandate, lack of resource management tools, inadequate ICT infrastructure and weak coordination among the county government departments.

The department has the following mandate

The Mandate of the Department is provided for in Article 186 of the Kenya Constitution 2010 and in Part II section 5 of the County Government Act No.17 of 2012. The Department Mandate shall include;

  • Formulation and implementation of Public Administration, Human Resource and Information Communication Technology policies in collaboration with other departments and relevant institutions
  • Coordination of the preparation and presentation to the County assembly the legal and institutional framework on Human Resource, Information Communication Technology, and Public Administration.
  • Enforcing staff discipline and code of ethics to ensure effective service delivery
  • Mobilizing resources and enhancing public participation through barazas and stakeholder fora.
  • Administration of salary, pensions, and compensations schemes for the county staff
  • Formulating guidelines on capacity building, training and performance monitoring of county civil servants.

Physical Planning, Lands, and Housing

The County’s population is projected to grow from 637,877 in 2017 to 694,819 in 2022. The increase in population in both urban and rural areas exert pressure on land and available resources. This leads to a number of challenges which include increased demand for socio-economic services. Deliberate programmes and projects under this sector aim at realising SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities)

In about forty years time frame, the rural households growth has doubled [NBO 1999] but still there is a mismatch between the demand and supply with respect to housing sector. The issue of provision of shelter facilities to all is a challenging task and calls for immediate attention because of the diversified nature of the problems and magnitude. The United Nations Council for Human Settlement (UNCHS 2001) highlights the urgent need to provide shelters for the low-income population in urban and rural areas and in underprivileged sections of the developing countries The County Government will endeavour to maintain and renovate dilapidated civil servants and Institutional houses as well as developing new infrastructure.

The Department of housing will lay emphasis on the application of appropriate building technologies in addressing acute shortage and high cost of housing through training, community sensitization, and collaborate with training institutions and development partners. More emphasis will be on provision of relevant infrastructure and services, and community participation in integrated approaches to upgrading, re-development and improvement programs to settlements. In about forty years’ time frame, the rural households growth has doubled [NBO 1999] but still there is a mismatch between the demand and supply with respect to housing sector. The issue of provision of shelter facilities to all is a challenging task and calls for immediate attention because of the diversified nature of the problems and magnitude. The United Nations Council for Human Settlement (UNCHS 2001) highlights the urgent need to provide shelters for the low-income population in urban and rural areas and in underprivileged sections of the developing countries The County Government will endeavour to maintain and renovate dilapidated civil servants and Institutional houses as well as developing new infrastructure.

the core mandates of the department include:

  • Spatial planning, regulation and sustainable land use
  • Property valuation for various purposes
  • Upgrading informal settlements and slum prevention
  • Construction and management of civil servants houses
  • Management of map amendment centres
  • Develop and implement policies on Land, Housing, urban and physical planning county
  • Generation, maintenance and dissemination of accurate and update geo-data
  • Promote the use of appropriate building technologies in construction of affordable housing in the county

Trade, Industry, Tourism, and Entrepreneurship

The department has significantly grown in the last year. It has three sub- departments which correlate. The biggest achievement of the department in the area of trade is where the county government has established Vihiga County community Empowerment Fund (VICOCEF) aimed at benefiting the marginalized, women, youth and small-scale traders. The revolving fund will be interest free and will not need any security. The fund will dwell on groups as a guarantee of repayment.

The department has conducted training of local traders on entrepreneurship by conduction a workshop locally, initiated a loan scheme in conjunction with the Joint Loans Board to give loans to traders to a tune of Ksh. 4 Million where Governor Moses Akaranga is to preside over issuing of the loans in a weeks’ time after training of the beneficiaries. We have also identified potential traders in the county and are in the process of training them on investment opportunities before they finally benefit from VICOCEF. On industrialization we have managed to form several associations and SACCO is the county. Two weeks ago the department conducted a Jua Kali Workshop with the theme JUAKALI the driving wheel of Vihiga county economy. The workshop was attended by Juakali trader from all the 5 sub counties.

The Tourism sector which is upcoming steadily in the county has experienced a tremendous growth compared to its state a year ago. We have secured rights to host Miss Tourism Kenya 2015 National Finals, this means the whole nation and the international tourist will converge in the County for the pageantries to demonstrate their talents. Vihiga being the smallest county in the country will ride on the event to market itself globally so that people get to know of investment opportunities and also get to know Vihiga is a safe tourist destination in the whole world not forgetting that Vihiga has the best preserved Cultural practices which are valued. Miss Tourism Vihiga County Edition 2014 will be launched on 22nd of this month in which the winning delegate will represent the county in the National Finals to be held in Nairobi later in the year.

Tourist Attractions
As a rural County, Vihiga has great geographical & natural diversity such as:.

  • Kaimosi Forest
  • Mungoma Caves
  • Maragoli Hills
  • Jesus footprint

Economic Activities
The main Economic Activities for people are;

  • Subsistence Farming
  • Livestock raring
  • Cottage Industry
  • Tea Production

Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries & Cooperatives

Department of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperative Development is expected to steer the County towards an innovative and commercially-oriented agriculture and food secure economy. Though highly populated, Vihiga County has enormous resource endowment ranging from high precipitation, arable land, good road network and close proximity to both local and external markets. These tangible factors give the county the impetus to pull itself together and saddle itself on the development lane with minimal delay.

Role of the Department in the County’s Development Agenda

Vihiga County economy is predominantly agriculture with approximately 85 % of the population living in the county having their livelihood mainly from agricultural activities. Of the 65% of the population estimated to be living below the absolute poverty line, subsistence farmers account for 90%. The County government in its CIDP plans to promote growth in the education, industrial, I.C.T and infrastructure as well as the agricultural sector towards increasing food security, income generation and employment creation within the ASDP and Vision 2030 framework. Co-operatives will be vital to the attainment of the broad objectives of the agriculture sector in the county, since they can make considerable contribution as a whole to food security by supplying inputs as well as marketing agricultural output. The policy objective of the co-operatives sub-sector will aim to revitalize the co-operative movement in the county which will in turn spur sustainable economic growth and development.

  • Support the formulation and review of enabling institutions, legal and regulatory framework for the revitalization of agriculture sector in the County, and effective and efficient service delivery.
  • Build capacity of farmers through extension services and animal welfare in order to improve agricultural productivity in the county.
  • In collaboration with the National Government and other stakeholders, coordinate the construction of modern abattoirs, fresh produce markets, greenhouses, fish hatcheries and cold storage plants for fish, and coolers for milk.
  • Establish and coordinate agriculture support programmes, e.g. subsidized farm inputs, enhanced credit to farmers and free tea seedlings to support the poor farmers.
  • Improve market access for smallholders through better supply chain management.
  • Promote value addition to farm/livestock/fisheries products before they reach local, regional and international markets.

Environment, Water, Energy, and Natural Resources

The department is one of those with the greatest potential to uplift the county. Although Vihiga covers fewer square kilometers, it lies on many readily available resources that are to be utilized. The department in tends to create wealth and employment through its vision: to have a clean and health environment for job and wealth creation. One of the long term plans for the ministry is to reduce over dependence on agriculture and land for subsistence living through sustainable use of the environment and natural resources On matters of forestry, the county has initiated an ambitious plan of the planting of 300,000 trees in public primary schools and the planting of 8,000 indigenous seedlings at Emabungo Hills. It has further held a major clean-up of Mbale and Chavakali markets and the preparation of County Environment Action Plan.

Health Services

The County Government of Vihiga is committed to providing equitable, affordable and quality health care of the highest standard to all its residents as stipulated in the Bill of Rights in the Constitution 2010. To achieve this, the department of health services developed a county health strategic plan for 2013 2018 which provides a roadmap of how the Health Department intends to provide Health Services in an enabling environment. This strategic plan unveils the Health Department’s Vision, Mission, goal, strategic objectives, core values and functions; policy priorities, investment areas, implementation framework and the resource requirements between 2013 and 2018. The plan is aligned and anchored to the Integrated County development Plan, National Health Policy, The Kenya Health Sector Strategic and Investment Plan, the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and The Kenya Vision 2030.

The department is governed by a lean team which consists of the County Executive member, Chief Officer, County Director and five heads of divisions namely: Head of Curative, Diagnostic and Rehabilitative Services; Head of Health Administrative and supportive services; Head of Health Information, Planning, M&E; Head of Preventive and Promotive health services; Head of Nursing and Family Health Services. Consequently, this health management team oversees other 600 officers working within 32 different cadres out of which 310 are nurses, for effective service delivery. Currently, the department has a total of 43 public health facilities which comprises 3 hospitals, 18 health centers and 22 dispensaries. All these facilities are well spread in the entire County within a radius of not more than 5 kilometers apart. The department has realized very significant achievements since its inception. This includes, establishment of County Medical

Training College in collaboration with Kenya Medical Training College, currently with a total of 200 students whereby the majority comes from our county; Opening of 3 new Dispensaries; Procurement of 3 fully equipped ambulances to aid patients emergency and referral services; construction of an oxygen plant at county referral hospital and modernization of the mortuary is ongoing; employment of 163 health workers in various cadres, Procurement of assorted equipment for our public health facilities; completion of 20 stalled health projects; Renovations and improvement works in 5 public health facilities; procurement of drugs, non-pharmaceuticals and other medical commodities necessary for quality health care. Our strategic direction is to improve, upgrade and equip the existing facilities without opening any other new one in order to gain optimum output from the available human resources, financial resources and infrastructure which includes buildings, equipment and technology.

In addition, the department shall upgrade six health facilities in the five sub counties to hospitals that can provide level four hospital services. The county referral hospital will be modernized. Plans are at an advanced stage to commence construction of a six storey plaza that will house various wards that will accommodate a capacity of 160 beds including executive wing, several theaters, ICU unit, Dialysis unit, administration offices and medical school classes among others. More specialists will be employed and more sophisticated diagnostic equipment will be procured for managing patients with chronic diseases.

Youth, Gender, Sports, Culture and Social Services

The County Department of Youth, Gender, Sports, Culture and Social Services was formed to implement County Government policies towards protecting and promoting the interest and rights of Children, Persons with disabilities, Youths, Minorities and Marginalized and older members of the society.

Education, Science and Technical Vocational Training

The county government has continued to expand space for people to enjoy their rights, liberties and responsibilities. This has been witnessed in public participation in various programmes especially in the realm of education. The county has mobilized its resources to set up Kaimosi University of Science and Technology .The University opens its doors to students in September 2014. Sh. 30 Million has been disbursed as bursary to bright and needy students both at secondary and at tertiary levels, to help retain them at school.

The county has collaborated with the National and Chinese Governments on skill development in all polytechnics. Twin workshops are under construction at Karandini and kitulu polytechnics. The county government will be collaborating with NINGBO Polytechnic in china. To lay a firm foundation in early childhood development sector, the county has embarked on serious rehabilitation of ECDE centers. So far 18 ECDE centers are under construction, the county has also furnished 63 ECDE centers with new furniture. The strategy is to improve the learning environment by constructing and equipping ECDE classes fully. As regards ECDE teachers, a tentative programme to provide top up grants is in its final touches and 745 ECDE teachers and 117 youth polytechnic instructors will be given these grants. Arrangement is also in place to have all ECDE teachers joining college to undergo a start-up course in ICT. The strategy is to prepare teachers to handle children and introduce them to ICT at an early age. To improve enrolment and retention, the county intends to introduce feeding programme for all ECDE children. A number of bills are in place in readiness for enactment into laws

Last Update: November 26, 2021  

November 26, 2021 145 DEBORAH  Vihiga County
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