Trans Nzoia Informal Settlements Get Boost with KISIP Labor intensive Community Works (LICW)Program.

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The Trans Nzoia County government, in collaboration with the Kenya Informal Settlement Improvement Program (KISIP), is launching a new initiative to support residents in informal settlements. The program, dubbed the “Labor Intensive Community Works” (LICW) program, falls under Component Two of KISIP and aims to empower communities through social and economic interventions.

Zennah Kurui, head of the KISIP Social Economic and Inclusion Program at the national government, explained that the program seeks to address a gap identified during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many residents in informal settlements rely on daily work, and lockdowns significantly impacted their livelihoods. The LICW program is designed to provide similar opportunities to the Kazi Mtaani program, offering daily wages for manual labor on tangible projects that benefit the community.

“This component is not just about sweeping and cleaning,” Ms. Kurui emphasized. “We want to leave a lasting mark by creating projects that allow the community to earn a better living.”

Janerose Nasimiyu Mutama, Trans Nzoia County’s CEC for Lands, Physical Planning, Housing, and Urban Development, highlighted existing benefits from KISIP, including land tenure regularization in settlements like Shimolatewa, Khalabana, and Maridadi, alongside infrastructure improvements. Component Two seeks to build upon this success by directly targeting community well-being.

The program envisions a range of potential projects, including road improvements, bicycle lanes, pedestrian walkways, improved lighting, solid waste management with bins, water and sanitation upgrades, storm water drains, public parks, community centers, and greening initiatives. These projects will utilize manual labor, allowing residents to directly participate in their community’s development.

“We also want to support roadside workers who lack proper work environments,” Ms. Mutama continued. “The program can provide welding shades for those working in the settlements, enabling them to work longer hours under any weather condition.”

Upgrading market areas, particularly for small-scale vendors, is another focus. The program might explore using manual labor to improve structures currently utilizing makeshift materials and plastic sheeting.

Beyond physical improvements, the LICW program aims to foster positive behavioral change within the community. Artists and painters will be engaged to create public murals with messages promoting good practices in areas like solid waste management, gender-based violence prevention, and disaster risk reduction.

Edith Baraza, the Trans Nzoia County KISIP program coordinator, emphasized the program’s focus on sustainability. By sensitizing residents and creating visually appealing spaces, the program hopes to prevent misuse of infrastructure once completed.

The LICW program prioritizes labour-intensive activities with minimal mechanization. This ensures maximum community participation and avoids lengthy approval processes typically required for larger projects.

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