“Lowering fertility will reduce the dependency ratio, allow for greater personal savings and government spending thus contribute to poverty reduction,” he said adding that with less population pressure, more resources for training and teacher incentives will increase and improve the learning environments with more, smaller classrooms and educational materials.
He was speaking in Baringo on Monday during a National Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) forum on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) held in Baringo. The forum was organized by the Ministry of Planning, National Development and Vision 2030 and supported by the Embassy of Finland. The forum brought together key stakeholders from the government, public and private sectors to share experiences on how to accelerate the achievement of MDGs process.
The forum was officially opened by Amb, Peter Ole Nkuraiyia, the Executive Director for the NGOs Co-ordination Board who appreciated the government’s recognition of the CSOs role and contribution in National development in general and specifically the attainment of the MDGs.
“The funding level to NGOs has increased steadily since 2005 and the highest amount of funding from local and international sources stands at KES 103 Billion as per our record for the year 2009/10. Data from annual reports of NGOs in 2009/2010 indicated that KES 82 billion was spent on MDGs programs such as HIV/Aids, Health, Education and Agriculture. Further analysis indicates that NGOs provide employment to more than 100,000 people. We can safely say that all NGOs are involved in the attainment of MDGs in one way or the other,” he said.
On food security the Kenya Red Cross representative Dr. James Kisia presented examples of communities in Yatta that Red Cross had engaged in their implementation process of cassava farming and where they had engaged pastoralist’s communities in Turkana on farming and created interventions on irrigation. Kenya Red Cross was recognized for the champion of the year and achievement of the year 2011 by the Millennium Development Goals Trust Fund in 2011 for an Achievement Award has been associated with the Kenyans 4 Kenya advocacy work in mobilizing funds to feed the hungry in Turkana and has been involved in Health and Nutrition interventions.
Philomena Chege the Deputy Director from the Ministry of Agriculture encouraged the private sector to invest more in the agriculture business as that would create more opportunities in the sector.
The young people were advised to take advantage of opportunities being created in the web. “Most media consumption is moving online; books, video, maps, research, university lectures and papers and since most things are moving online, users are also moving online.” Mr. Joseph Mucheru of Google Africa said. “The future for Africa will not be about resources, but about leveraging the power of innovation (Intellectual Capital), and social capital – the power of relationships.” He added referring to Apple who has been making money out of patenting their products. “Africa needs to focus on Intellectual Property and not just minerals. A combination of resources and Intellectual property will change African’s fortunes forever.” He said.
Dr Angela Lusigi from the UNEP making a presentation on environment said Kenya faces severe environmental problems such as soil erosion; declining soil fertility; deforestation; pollution of water supplies; biodiversity loss and over-abstraction of water resources. “The loss of natural capital is due to policy, regulatory and enforcement failures that affect economic growth is what aggravates poverty and achievement of MDGs and Vision 2030.”
Kenya has made progress to meet the MDGs as seen in the education sector with major improvement in the primary enrolment due to the free primary education. Gender equality has been enshrined in the new Constitution which reserves at least one third public appointments to either gender boosting the number of women in decision making positions. Infant mortality rate reduced from 77 per 1,000 in 2003 to 52 per 1000 in 2009. Malaria and HIV prevalence has gone down according to government statics. Despite numerous efforts Kenya still encounters various challenges in its quest to achieve the MDGs. In a closing speech delivered by the PS of Ministry of Planning, National development and Vision 2030 Dr. Edward Sambili, urged the CSOs to continue to advocate for stronger governance structures both nationally and at the devolved levels and to continue to collaborate and cooperate wherever possible with the ministry to accelerate the achievement of the MDGs in the Country.