By The COAST Team
The government and its development partners on October 24, 2023 launched a Sh750 million blue economy project that will benefit some 50,000 households in Kilifi County.
The Regenerative Seascapes Project for Planet Earth, Nature and People (ReSea) was officially launched by the Ministry of Mining, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs during an event held at the Dabaso Primary School in Kilifi North Constituency.
The project aims at enhancing the climate and socio-economic resilience for beneficiaries’ households along the County’s coastline from Takaungu (Kilifi South Constituency) to Marereni (Magarini Constituency).
The project is part of a three-year Sh3.3 billion (Canadian dollar 30 million) being implemented in conjunction with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature made possible through funding from the Global Affairs Canada.
While launching the project, Cabinet secretary Salim Mvurya said most of the beneficiaries of the project would be women and youth groups involved in climate change interventions and the blue economy.
“This project will mobilise women and youth groups that are proactive in climate change and the blue economy. We want to start from zero so that the program does not work alone and we shall link it with the already existing capacities and scales so that it is in tandem with the priorities of local communities.”
The secretary ordered the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) and the Kenya Coast Guards (KCG) to stop harassing fishermen who use illegal fishing gears, but instead help them follow the law by empowering them to acquire the right fishing gears.
“Don’t harass fishermen but help them to follow the law. I order that no fisherman should be harassed and we shall equip them with the correct fishing gears so that they can operate within the law.”
Instead of harassing fishermen, according to Mvurya, the authorities should enlighten them on how to use safe fishing gears that will protect the marine ecosystem.
Accompanied by Kilifi Governor Gideon Mung’aro, the CS told officials implementing the project to scale down capacity building programmes that have no benefit to the beneficiaries so that the money could uplift livelihoods instead of being spent in boardrooms.
On his part, Gov Mung’aro challenged the field officers noting that a lot of funds were being used to train and sensitize communities instead of equipping them with tools for their respective trades.
“Those who will implement this project should reduce or stop the sensitization and use those funds to equip them with proper tools.”
Ms Janine Cocker, the Canadian Head of Commission in Kenya, said her government had partnered with a number of organizations, governments and communities across the globe who share her country’s vision of a world where oceans thrive and communities prosper.
“Together, we are leveraging our collective knowledge, resources and coastal expertise to make the Regenerative Seascapes project a resounding success.”
Mr Richard Veenstra, the Executive Director of Mission Inclusion, who spoke virtually, said that through the ReSea project, his organisation was aiming at locally tailored solutions through collaboration with various stakeholders including civil societies, private sector, local governments and national government.
“Our primary focus is to empower women, youths and vulnerable individuals as we believe these groups possess untapped potential to be key players in sustainable development and the blue economy.”
This collaborative horizontal approach aims to drive lasting change, benefiting both people and the environment.”
Kenya country representative of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Innocent Kabenga said the ReSea project would not only help invest in the prosperity but also fortify the environment.
The function was addressed by representatives of various stakeholder organizations, among them Dorothy Asuza from Mission Inclusion, Ms Betsy Njagi, the Principal Secretary for Blue Economy, Malindi Deputy County Commissioner David Lusava and Dabaso Member of County Assembly Emmanuel Changawa.