By Joel Mzee
At least 27 women groups received a total of Kshs 800,000 aimed at enabling them to set up food bazaar in this year’s 20th Lamu Cultural Festival.
The 4 day Lamu Cultural Festival started on the 24th of November and runs up to 28th of this month with much expectations of reviving the tourism that had declined significantly due to the COVID-19 crisis for the past three years.
Speaking to the media on the 20th edition of the Lamu Cultural festival Lamu Governor Issa Timamy stated the funds issued to the women groups is a seed capital for them to provide food and drinks for the more than 50,000 tourists expected to grace the festival.
“The monies that translate to Kshs 30,000 for each group will enable the women establish food stands that will provide food and drinks for tourists gracing the Lamu Cultural Festival,” he stated.
The Lamu governor further said that the county government had set aside Kshs 30 million for the cultural event that sets off the county’s Lamu festival calendar.
He further said that the county government has invested heavily towards rehabilitating the Lamu seafront area, with a new cabro seafront road.
The Lamu Governor further revealed that there are plans underway to ensure that the tourism sector experiences a revival following its decline during the COVID-19 crisis period.
Nana Mote, a local woman leader hailed the move by the Lamu county government stating that the initiative to fund the women groups will further aid in encouraging the setting up of informal businesses within Lamu.
“The move to fund the women groups will further boost many individuals to start their own businesses, that will aid to tackle poverty,” Nana said.
On her part Lamu Women Alliance Chairperson Raya Famau Ahmed said that the Lamu Cultural Festival presents an opportunity for Lamu to boost its status as a viable and safe tourist destination.
“Lamu’s status as a World Heritage Site has in the past been under threat due to some industrialist proponents wanting to set up the Amu Coal Power Plant,” she said.
Raya said that the move to boost women groups during the Lamu Cultural Festival, a welcome step towards providing small businesses with funding initiatives in a bid to tackle poverty and joblessness which she added is rampant despite the immense tourism and trade potential within the county.
Timamy also stated that the county government was working closely with the national government’s security agencies to ensure that the security prevails during and after the four days’ festival.
The governor further said that adequate street lighting has been facilitated across the Lamu Old Town area
Sentiments echoed by Lamu County Commissioner Macharia Irungu, who added that the county’s security agencies were up to the beat.
“We have dispatched adequate patrols around the Lamu Old Town environs where the festival is being held and we would like to assure the public that there is adequate security throughout the festival period,” Macharia said.
Lamu Tourism Association (LTA) Ghalib Alwy further commended the Lamu County government in collaboration Festival, noting that a substantial effort and funding has gone towards making the event a success.