Blue economy and coastal communities’ development: Kenya government officials travel to Italy to boost their skills and networks

In July 2023, 14 Kenyan County government officials travelled to Italy to attend a one-week workshop aimed at exchanging perspectives over the sustainable management of coastal territories and the development of blue communities through a set of meetings with sectoral experts, associations and representatives from the private sector, as well as field visits aimed at promoting exchange of experiences and best practices. The workshop counted on the participation of high-level government representatives, including Issa Abdallah Timamy, Governor of Lamu County, Andrew Mwadime, Governor of Taita Taveta County, as well as the Deputy Governors of Tana River, Kwale and Kilifi counties.

The workshop, held from 13th to 18th of July in Tricase, was managed by the Agronomic Mediterranean Institute of Bari (CIHEAM Bari), the technical partner of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) in Kenya for the implementation of the Programme ‘Go Blue: Partnership between the EU and the Government of Kenya to advance the Blue Economy Agenda through Coastal Development’, funded by the European Union.

‘The workshop was organized concurrently with the conclusion of the training course ‘Sustainable Development of Coastal Communities’’ explains Enrico Nerilli, Scientific Coordinator of the Italian component of the Go Blue Programme. ‘It was organized with the collaboration of FAO. Two Kenyan officials received the diploma within this edition of the course’.

Main topics discussed during the workshop were related to the blue economy and the coastal management, such as small-scale fishery management and processing, multifunctional development of fishermen communities, environmental management, rural development and policy planning for land and coastal territories. Field visits included a center for seafood purification and a cooperative for seafood processing. In addition to that, participants had the chance to meet and network with Federpesca, the national federation representing Italian companies active in the fishery sector, AssoIttica, the National Association of Fish Companies bringing together companies operating in fishery, and the national office of LegaCoop, the Italian cooperative federation. This last meeting was particularly relevant, considering that the main target communities of the Italian component of the Go Blue Programme are the community-based organizations reuniting all stakeholders involved in the fishery value chain, the so-called Beach Management Units, that in the near future should assume the legal form of cooperatives, according to the Kenya law.

The workshop also represented an opportunity to discuss the achievements and lessons learnt of the EU-funded Go Blue Programme, whose component on the blue economy value chains enhancement is implemented by AICS. Some of the Implementing Partners, like AICS and UN HABITAT, intervened with presentations related to their components.

‘The Advanced course in Sustainable Development of Coastal Communities course was a valuable experience that provided us with skills, information and practical experiences on how to advance blue economy initiatives sustainably in our region through enhancement of the fisheries value chain’ says Gladys Mnjama, Financial Services and Investments Expert for the Jumuyia Ya Kaunti Za Pwani (JKP) Secretariat, the local partner supporting the overall implementation of the Go Blue Programme. ‘For the Jumuiya Region over the 4 editions that this course has been done it has equipped us and given us a vision of how to proactively design projects from production to market that will assist in the improvement of livelihoods for our communities across the Beach Management Units in the coast.’

‘The approach of AICS is to tackle complex issues such as the sustainable development of the blue economy and the sustainable use of the marine and coastal resources, through a multi-dimensional approach that involves various stakeholders including government agencies, civil society organizations, research institutions, private sector entities. Italy's coastline, geographic location, and historical relationship with the Mediterranean Sea have led the country to have a significant presence in marine and coastal activities, and we are willing to support our Kenyan partners in initiatives to manage its marine and coastal ecosystems’, concludes Giovanni Grandi, Head of AICS Regional Office in Nairobi.


Course participants during a technical visit to Marevivo, Italy

Course participants during a technical visit at Marevivo, Italy

The conclusion of the 'Sustainable Development of Coastal Communities' course

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