Environmental restoration and climate smart agriculture at the hearth of the Italy-funded initiative launched in West Pokot

Sigor, 30th November 2022 – This morning the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (Aics) and the County Government of West Pokot have jointly launched the project ‘Environmental Restoration of the Wei-Wei River Basin in the Water Tower of Cherangani’. The launch ceremony took place in Tamkal and counted on the presence of H.E. Robert Komolle, Deputy Governor of West Pokot County, and Giovanni Grandi, Head of Aics Office in Kenya.

Worth a funding of 1 million EUR (over 125 million KES), the initiative aims at restoring the most degraded areas of the water catchment extending from Mount Korellach to the WeiWei River by introducing soil and water conservation techniques, including regenerative farming practices. The initiative is realized through ARS Progetti, a consulting firm specialized in agriculture, social and physical infrastructure, with the full support of West Pokot County Government. Planned activities include the support to introduce appropriate measures for soil conservation through the use of soil erosion control structures, the rehabilitation of gullies and the promotion of terracing, agroforestry, and reforestation; support to WeiWei River Basin communities through the promotion of sustainable and income-generating environmental strategies; the provision of improved access to drinking water for Korellach-based communities.

The Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) are more severely affected by drought and by the effects of climate change. The Italian Cooperation in collaboration with the national authorities and the Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) is historically engaged in development programs promoting sustainable agriculture and irrigation in the semi-arid area of Sigor: between 1986 and 2019 approximately 700 hectares of irrigated land were realized through three different development initiatives, including both grants and loans. This initiative therefore represents a continuation of Italy’s commitment in the area.

As Mr. Giovanni Grandi said, “this initiative represents a step forward in the cooperation between Italy and Kenya towards sustainability and resilience to climate change. Building on more than 30 years of experience and projects in environmental restoration in West Pokot, we are sure that this contribution will improve the socio-economic situation in the County and protect a very fragile and endangered environment as the Cherangani Water Tower”.

On his side, H. E. Robert Komolle, County Deputy Governor of West Pokot, warmly welcomed the longstanding relation with the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, underlying once again that “the West Pokot County Government will continue to support the development efforts in the Cherangani Water Tower, which are crucial for ensuring a safe and better future for the people living close to the Wei Wei catchment”.

 

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AICS Head of Office Giovanni Grandi with H.E. Robert Komolle, Deputy Governor of West Pokot County and Litole Lucky Jemutai West Pokot ‌CECM for Water, Environment, Natural Resources And Climate Change on a field visit in Sigor © Martina Bolognesi

AICS Head of Office Giovanni Grandi with H.E. Robert Komolle, Deputy Governor of West Pokot County during the launch of the programme ‘Environmental Restoration of the Wei-Wei River Basin in the Water Tower of Cherangani’ financed by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation. © Martina Bolognesi

Group photo with AICS Head of Office Giovanni Grandi and ‌Hon. Litole Lucky Jemutai, West Pokot ‌CECM for Water, Environment, Natural Resources And Climate Change. © Martina Bolognesi

One of the gullies created by water and soil erosion. © Martina Bolognesi

 

Kenya: business development and job creation at the heart of the agreement signed by Italy with UNIDO

Nairobi, 29th July 2022 –  This morning the Ambassador of Italy to Kenya, Mr. Alberto Pieri, and the Acting Representative of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) for Kenya, Ms. Kawira Bucyana, have signed a cooperation agreement that will kick-start an initiative to boost the Nairobi-based E4Impact Accelerator. The agreement was countersigned by Mr. Giovanni Grandi, the Head of the Nairobi office of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS).

The E4Impact Accelerator and Incubator represents a centre of excellence in the country. It was established in 2018 through the support of the Italian Cooperation and the Catholic University ‘Sacro Cuore’ of Milan. Despite its relatively recent creation, the Centre has rapidly become a reference point in Kenya’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, offering legal, financial, entrepreneurial and mentoring services to more than 40 local businesses and start-ups. Today, the Centre has a dual function of both accelerator and incubator, supporting both the start-up and the strengthening of local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The companies supported are selected according to their potential social, economic and environmental impacts, with special attention given to female and youth entrepreneurs.

Since its creation, Italy has invested over 2.8 million euros to strengthen the E4Impact accelerator and incubation centre, with an additional 600,000 euros of Italian contribution to UNIDO approved by the cooperation agreement signed this morning. UNIDO will oversee technical assistance to expand the training offered by the Centre and scale up its autonomy and effectiveness.

The initiative represents a pilot project in the partnership between the academia, the private sector and public institutions (the so-called triple helix approach) to promote entrepreneurship and job creation in Kenya.

"Through this investment, Italy aims at creating a favourable environment to strengthen the private sector and to promote research, innovation, training, job creation and technological development", said Ambassador Pieri. ''Small and medium-sized enterprises play a crucial role in Kenya as in Italy, representing around 80% of the gross domestic product and 70% of total employment. Our support to the young and dynamic entrepreneurial class characterizing Kenya is intended to allow entrepreneurs to best express their potential and become a driving force for sustainable development''.

"Employment creation, start-up and expansion of small businesses represents a qualifying element for the action of the Italian Cooperation in Kenya'', added Giovanni Grandi, Head of AICS Office in Nairobi. ''In Kenya, AICS is active with initiatives specifically targeting job and businesses creation; in addition to that, support to the private sector and creation of income is transversal to our interventions in the country. It is a necessary element to promote sustainable economic growth, but also for the affirmation of democratic and participatory principles''.

“UNIDO is pleased to work in cooperation with E4impact in order to improve SME sector contribution to the economic growth of Kenya” said Ms. Bucyana from UNIDO “ this project represents an opportunity to foster the collaboration with public and private partners to  achieve impact and improve project sustainability. The project is being implemented within our 5-year programmatic framework known as Programme for Country Partnership (PCP) that was signed in 2021 by H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta. The PCP is UNIDO’s innovative model for accelerating inclusive and sustainable industrial development in Member States".

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Brief background info

The 'Improvement of business acceleration services through a public-private partnership approach'  initiative is worth an investment of 600,000 euros and has a duration of two years. It will be implemented by UNIDO and is funded by the Italian Cooperation. The goal is to consolidate the presence and training offer of the E4Impact Accelerator through UNIDO specific technical expertise.

The focus of the project is based on identification of sectors with the potential to create inclusive and sustainable jobs, in line with national strategies and plans for economic growth. The project operates on two main axes: i) Expansion of E4Impact partnerships; ii) Provision of training programs. The small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) selected by the Center will be sustained through technical support for  development of entrepreneurial and technical skills, with a special focus on young people and women.

The initiative is complementary to the 'Business Incubator and Energy Innovation in Kenya' project developed by the Catholic University ‘Sacro Cuore’ of Milan with the E4Impact Foundation and AVSI. The project is currently under implementation and is worth  2.3 million euros for a duration of three years. It aims at consolidating the E4Impact Accelerator, scaling up its activities and improving its infrastructure.

For more information you may contact:

Ms. Martina Bolognesi

Communications officer / Italian Agency for Development Cooperation

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Ms. Kawira Bucyana

Officer in Charge

UNIDO field office in Kenya

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AICS and the Global Health Center of the Tuscany Region launch the regional program for the creation of a health network in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda

Nairobi, 29th June 2022 – This morning, the agreement between the Nairobi regional office of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) and the Global Health Center of the Meyer University Hospital has been signed. The Center is the hub for international health cooperation initiatives of Tuscany Region, Italy. The program is worth an investment of 5.5 million Euros in total, and it aims to develop a regional health network in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda to improve the quality and access to health services for women and children. The initiative plans to intervene on over 30 health facilities, covering a total population of about 6.2 million people in the three countries.

The agreement was signed by the Head of AICS office in Nairobi, Mr. Giovanni Grandi, and the Director of the Global Health Center, Ms. Maria José Caldés Pinilla. The program is funded by the Italian Cooperation, and the Global Health Center is the technical and scientific coordinator also in charge of monitoring and evaluation activities over expected results.

The initiative will be realized in partnership with the Ministries of Health of the three countries and aims to strengthen south-south and north-south collaboration through the exchange of good practices, knowledge sharing activities, data collection and performance evaluation. In addition, the project will intervene with infrastructural interventions and supply of medical equipment aimed at enhancing health centers functioning and the management of obstetric-neonatal emergencies. Finally, technical assistance and training activities at national and regional levels will be realized.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted how global challenges cannot be faced with local responses, and how health is key for human development. The Italian Cooperation promptly responded to this need by implementing a program targeting the most vulnerable sections of the population in the three countries, and in particular women and children.

> Joint press release

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Tanzania – The program to strengthen vocational education kicks off: Italy at the forefront to create employment opportunities for young people

Dar es Salaam, 15th June 2022 – This afternoon the Italian government and the Tanzanian government signed the agreements that officially kick off an important program worth around 20 million euros disbursed through a soft loan that will promote the creation of new employment opportunities for young people through the strengthening of technical and vocational education in Tanzania. The agreements were signed by the Ambassador of Italy in Tanzania, Marco Lombardi, and the Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Planning of Tanzania, Emmanuel M. Tutuba, at the presence of the representative of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) in Tanzania, Paolo Razzini, and a delegation from the Italian Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) composed by Dr. Antonella Baldino and Dr. Lisbi Carina Valdez, who flew to the country to sign the financial agreement. The agreements see the Embassy of Italy in Tanzania, CDP, the Ministry of Finance and Planning of Tanzania and AICS put their efforts together to strengthen different technological institutes through the creation of new training courses that can enhance employment opportunities for young people, while strengthening the technological innovation.

The Italian Cooperation in Tanzania has intervened in the past with a grant program concluded in 2014 aiming at improving the quality of teaching and learning in scientific and technological education, with a special attention to promoting women access to this type of education. This new initiative stems from the success of the previous one and means to significantly contrast the phenomenon of youth unemployment. Planned activities include the creation of four Centres for Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Technology Transfer (CEITT), which will include start-ups incubators and laboratories for innovation; the creation of new training programs at the Dar Es Salaam Institute of Technology (DIT) in the fields of energy, civil engineering, tourism and agriculture; the creation of a centre of excellence in leather processing technologies; the creation of new curricula in technologies for renewable energies and for environmental protection and conservation.

The initiative intervenes in sectors of excellence for Italy, as it covers areas in which the Italian System has developed a high-level expertise representing an added value within the creation of strategic partnerships between the two countries (professional training, artistic-cultural heritage preservation, technologies for renewable energies, conservation techniques of agricultural products).

 

> Download the joint press release

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Kenya – Italy and UN WOMEN renew their commitment to fight gender-based violence in Kenya

Nairobi, 12th of April 2022 – The Ambassador of Italy to Kenya, Alberto Pieri, and UN Women Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, Maxime Houinato, signed this morning the Agreement to officially kick-start the third phase of the project “Let it not happen again: Enhancing Prevention and Response to Violence Against Women in Elections”. The event counted on the presence of Mr. Giovanni Grandi, Head of Office of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation in Nairobi, Ms. Anna Mutavati, UN WOMEN Country Representative for Kenya, representatives from the Ministry of Public Service, Gender, Senior Citizen Affairs & Special Programmes, representatives from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Right (OHCHR), from the National Police Service and from the civil society.

With this new phase the overall initiative is worth a commitment of more than 1 million USD from the Government of Italy, which has greatly contributed to strengthen the response and accountability mechanisms with regards to gender-based violence (GBV) in sensitive periods such as the elections and the COVID pandemic in the counties of Nairobi, Kisumu, Bungoma and Vihiga.

As Ambassador Pieri said, “the strategic partnership between the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (Aics), UN WOMEN and OHCHR ensures on one hand the reinforcement of the capacities of key public institutions and on the other hand the empowerment of civil society organizations and human rights defenders’ associations in their advocacy efforts towards duty bearers”.

According to Dr Houinato, “In Kenya, electoral violence has been predominant since the introduction of multi-party democracy in the early 1990s. The “Let it Not Happen Again” project will address persisting challenges that hinder access to justice for survivors, building on the previous implementation.”

The Government of Italy is one of UN WOMEN’s top donors and stands with Kenya in the fight and prevention of gender-based violence: the promotion of gender equality is a priority and transversal theme for the action of the Italian Cooperation in Kenya.

Brief background info
“Let it not happen again: Enhancing Prevention and Response to Violence Against Women in Elections” is financed by the Government of Italy and represents the third phase of the "Let It Not Happen Again" initiative. The first two phases were focused on improving the access to justice for victims of GBV and in particular during electoral periods, while strengthening the institutional mechanisms for prevention and response. Concurrently, the initiative has intervened to strengthen civil society organizations engaged in human rights defense.
Among key results achieved during the first two phases (2019 – 2021) are the establishment of the first Gender Directorate at the National Police Service; the enhancement of the capacities of 484 professionals in the sectors of justice, security and health in the prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and the improved access of survivors to essential services, with 930 SGBV survivors accessing medical-legal services.

>Download the joint press release

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Kenya – Blue economy and intermediary cities protagonists at the first day of Africities Summit in Kisumu

Kisumu (Kenya), 18th May 2022 – During the first day of the Pan Africa conference ‘Africities’, dedicated to sustainable urban development, the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) Office in Nairobi has participated in the session dedicated to the nexus between the blue economy and intermediary cities. AICS has presented the cooperation initiative "Go Blue" financed by the European Union, aiming to stimulate a debate with the various representatives of local and subnational governments present at the panel on the potential offered by the coastal resources for the sustainable development of the country. The session was organized by UN HABITAT with the participation of AICS and the economic bloc of coastal counties (JKP Secretariat), and counted on the participation of various members of the Council of Governors, the organization bringing together the governors of Kenya’s 47 counties. The panel offered a unique opportunity to stimulate an interactive dialogue with local and subnational authorities on themes such as territorial development, knowledge sharing and coastal cities growth, and has represented a precious opportunity for the Agency, who has an important portfolio of initiatives underway in the sectors of urban regeneration, slum upgrading, improvement of social services, construction of infrastructures, creation of employment in Kenya and Africa.

The session was focused on the unexploited potential of the resources offered by the blue economy: according to the 'Nairobi Statement of Intent on Advancing Global Sustainable Blue Economy', oceans, seas, lakes, rivers and other water resources are key assets for achieving the ambitious goals set in the 2030 Agenda by the United Nations.

Mr. Paolo Damato, coordinator of the Italian component Paolo of the Go Blue Programme, started the debate by recalling the theme characterizing this ninth edition of the Africities Summit ("The Role of Intermediary Cities of Africa in the implementation of Agenda 2030 of the United Nations and the African Union Agenda 2063'') and highlighting the importance of secondary cities in a context like Africa, interested by very rapid urbanization processes and with a rapidly growing population often concentrated in intermediary cities. He then underlined how the strategic relevance of investing in intermediary cities has been acknowledged by development partners: intermediary cities have indeed the potential to catalyse the growth of entire regions. If on one hand these cities have less resources and possibilities to invest in long-term strategic planning, on the other hand they can drive inclusive and balanced economic development in different ways - for example, they are more easily manageable in comparison with megacities, and communities are generally more structured due to their sizes.

The session then concentrated on the nexus between the blue economy and intermediary cities, with a focus on the Go Blue initiative: the Italian Cooperation component intervenes in fact to support the economic development of coastal cities by strengthening the blue economy value chains. It was emphasized that while investments in the blue economy have the potential to catalyse the development of the Kenya coast, an adequate operational environment is also required, with efficient waste management systems that can actually preserve coastal and marine environments and enable the development of fishing and tourism; a network of urban and regional infrastructures to support the logistics for the blue economy development; a resilient urban planning to manage rapid urban growth.

Some representatives of the Board of Governors underlined the importance of identifying knowledge sharing mechanisms in order to be able to benefit from the best practices developed within the Go Blue Programme, also to possibly incorporate lessons learned in sectoral policies.

Damato stressed that within the Go Blue Programme AICS encourages a constant stakeholders’ engagement, promoting dialogue with the private sector, with research centres and universities, passing through the authorities and with the involvement of the local communities.

The CEO of the JKP Secretariat, Mr. Emmanuel Nzai, reaffirmed the importance of policy dialogues with County governments to improve interventions’ sustainability, and underlined that Go Blue is developed in accordance with the local development strategies (the 'County Integrated Development Plans').

The Coordinator of UN HABITAT for the Go Blue Programme, Mr. Florian Lux, stressed that the interventions carried out within the initiative are complementary to the actions already undertaken by local governments, so that UN HABITAT catalyse the investments already adopted at local level.

Finally, all participants agreed on the success of the event and on the fact that continuous dialogue coupled with the involvement of all stakeholders is essential for the success of cooperation initiatives.

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ITALY and UNEP working together to empower rural communities through clean and sustainable energy

Nakuru (Kenya), 02 December 2021 – Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (Aics) office in Kenya and the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) Regional Office for Africa jointly launched today the project “Transformation of Climate action through utilization of a hybridized Clean and Sustainable Energy as a driver to climate-smart agriculture and agribusiness value chain”. The ceremony was held at the presence of the Deputy Governor of Nakuru, Mr. Erik Korir; Mr. David Mutisya Director, Renewable Energy from the Ministry of Energy of Kenya; Ms Juliette Biao, UNEP’s regional director for Africa; Mr. Jared Othieno from the Geothermal Development Company in Kenya; and Mr. Francesco Palumbo Programme officer from AICS. A video message by the Italian Ambassador to Kenya Alberto Pieri set off the project launch.

As Covid-19 pandemic continues, it is affecting water, food, and energy systems through decrease in purchasing power and difficulties for small-scale farmers in obtaining the inputs needed for their production. Therefore, thanks to a 300.000 Euros support of the Italian Government through AICS, Unep in close collaboration with the Nakuru County Government will implement a 14-months pilot project to provide access to sufficient, sustainable, and alternative sources of energy (solar and geothermal) to foster Climate-Smart Agriculture for women and youth small-holder farmers living in Rongai sub-County in Nakuru.

In his remarks Amb. Alberto Pieri highlighted Italy’s priority to scale up its partnership with Africa, underlying in this context the initiatives of the Italian Cooperation in Kenya aimed at promoting renewable energy and sustainable development: “The project we launch today is thus a further proof of our commitment. To strive for countering climate change by enhancing the use of clean and sustainable energy while also impacting positively on agriculture, a crucial sector for Kenya”.

The interlinkages of water, energy and food supply systems are a major consideration in Kenya’s sustainable development strategy,” said Juliette Biao, UNEP’s Regional Director for Africa. “The results of this project are expected to increase sustainable livelihood and income generating opportunities through capacity and skill development as well as research in both the energy and agricultural sectors for the small-holder farmers in Rongai”, she added.

Clean and renewable energy are key elements to counter climate change reducing C02 emissions and will be fundamental tools to drive sustainable development and foster faster economic recovery in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. This intervention thus aligns itself to the ongoing efforts of the Government of Kenya to mitigate the socio-economic effects of climate change, in line with its Nationally Determined Contributions on climate.

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Kenya – Signed the agreements for the implementation of a 4.6-million euros integrated social and health program in Malindi

Nairobi (Kenya), 26 January 2022 – Italy and Kenya signed today, at the National Treasury building, the agreements to fund and implement the “Malindi Integrated Social-Health Development Programme – Phase II” (MISHDP II). The ceremony was held at the presence of the Cabinet Secretary of the National Treasury Amb. Ukur Yatani, the Italian Ambassador to Kenya Amb. Alberto Pieri, and the Head of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation – Nairobi Office – Mr. Fabio Melloni.

The initiative follows a first phase of an integrated socio-health development programme funded by Italy through a 2.6-million-euro grant, and implemented by the Coastal Development Authority of Kenya (CDA) between 2006 and 2012. This first phase saw the implementation of basic infrastructure in health, education and marine sectors.

The phase two will be funded through a 6.4-million-euro soft loan and will aim to improve the living conditions for the population within Malindi and Magarini sub-counties, through a series of projects contributing to socio-economic development; such will include education, health, potable water and transportation network. Specifically, it will foresee the following activities and works: construction of a 11.5km tarmac road, in Ngomeni Peninsula, Kilifi County, a pedestrian bridge across river Sabaki, a water supply system, school facilities and supply and installation of equipment for schools and health facilities. The implementation will be undertaken by the CDA, which also undertook the implementation of the first phase.

By delivering public infrastructures, health and educational projects, this initiative will align itself to the Kenya Vision 2030 and have positive impacts to the citizens and areas of Ngomeni Peninsula, Malindi and Magarini sub-counties.

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Kenya – Italy and Unep working together to empower rural communities through clean and sustainable energy

Nakuru (Kenya), 02 December 2021 – Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (Aics) office in Kenya and the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) Regional Office for Africa jointly launched today the project “Transformation of Climate action through utilization of a hybridized Clean and Sustainable Energy as a driver to climate-smart agriculture and agribusiness value chain”. The ceremony was held at the presence of the Deputy Governor of Nakuru, Mr. Erik Korir; Mr. David Mutisya Director, Renewable Energy from the Ministry of Energy of Kenya; Ms Juliette Biao, UNEP’s regional director for Africa; Mr. Jared Othieno from the Geothermal Development Company in Kenya; and Mr. Francesco Palumbo Programme officer from AICS. A video message by the Italian Ambassador to Kenya Alberto Pieri set off the project launch.

As Covid-19 pandemic continues, it is affecting water, food, and energy systems through decrease in purchasing power and difficulties for small-scale farmers in obtaining the inputs needed for their production. Therefore, thanks to a 300.000 Euros support of the Italian Government through AICS, Unep in close collaboration with the Nakuru County Government will implement a 14-months pilot project to provide access to sufficient, sustainable, and alternative sources of energy (solar and geothermal) to foster Climate-Smart Agriculture for women and youth small-holder farmers living in Rongai sub-County in Nakuru.

In his remarks Amb. Alberto Pieri highlighted Italy’s priority to scale up its partnership with Africa, underlying in this context the initiatives of the Italian Cooperation in Kenya aimed at promoting renewable energy and sustainable development: “The project we launch today is thus a further proof of our commitment. To strive for countering climate change by enhancing the use of clean and sustainable energy while also impacting positively on agriculture, a crucial sector for Kenya”

“The interlinkages of water, energy and food supply systems are a major consideration in Kenya’s sustainable development strategy,” said Juliette Biao, UNEP’s Regional Director for Africa. “The results of this project are expected to increase sustainable livelihood and income generating opportunities through capacity and skill development as well as research in both the energy and agricultural sectors for the small-holder farmers in Rongai”, she added.

Clean and renewable energy are key elements to counter climate change reducing C02 emissions and will be fundamental tools to drive sustainable development and foster faster economic recovery in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. This intervention thus aligns itself to the ongoing efforts of the Government of Kenya to mitigate the socio-economic effects of climate change, in line with its Nationally Determined Contributions on climate.

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