Habiba Fora

Feb 24, 2017

Mombasa, Kenya

Lamu County

Lamu County is located in the Northern coast of Kenya and is one of six coastal counties in Kenya. It lies 1° 40’ and 2° 30’ south and longitude 40° 15’ and 40° 38’ south. The county has a land surface area of 6, 273.1 km that includes the mainland and over 65 islands that form the Lamu archipelago.
The county population as projected in 2012 stands at 112,252 persons composed of 58,641 males and 53,611 females. With the youth comprising of 28%, young female of the reproductive age at 22.5% of the county population.

ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES
(i) Tourism is the main economic activity. Visitors enjoy Lamu’s pristine white beaches and annual festivals.
(ii) Others include fishing and artisan industry, crop production, livestock production, fisheries, mining and quarrying.
(iii) The Chinese government in collaboration with the Kenyan government has done feasibility studies of developing the largest port, Lamu Port Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport.
(iv) (LAPSSET) on the eastern Africa coastline that will greatly boost the economy of Lamu.
(v) Mining is also an economic activity. The county is rich in minerals including titanium, salt, limestone, natural gas, coral stones and sand. Oil exploration is also ongoing and mining activities are currently taking place in Faza.

Recently, Lamu is set to develop East Africa’s first coal power plant that will go a long way in doubling Kenya’s electricity generating capacity to about 6,700mw by 2017, providing power for industries and much needed jobs in the country.

CHALLENGES
(i) The ongoing LAPSSET project has resulted in the displacement of people from their lands with little/no compensation. Aspects such as prior involvement in public participation forums are not incorporated during project execution and implementation.
(ii) Communities’ views on implemented projects are often overlooked. An example is the coal plant being introduced in Lamu, which communities have strongly opposed but is still underway as part of the LAPSSET project.
(iii)Gender inequality. Women are often denied the right to have a say in natural resources and environmental management especially when it comes to land therefore limiting their decision making abilities and capacity to maintaining and wellbeing of their households.
(iv) Poor access to environmental information. This goes to show the very low rate of awareness portrayed by the majority of the county residents and an obvious challenge to provision of civic education on environmental management issues to the public.

INTERVENTIONS
(i) Enhance partnerships between local, multinational and national groups by Ensuring public participation in decision making in relation to the LAPSSET project.
(ii) Fair compensation for the people affected by the project.
(iii) Advocating for sustainable resource utilization which will include promoting reforestation and proper waste management.
(iv) Conducting civic education on environment issues, gender mainstreaming and education for children.
(v) Empowering women and giving them a platform to participate in decision making on matters of land and natural resource management.