Ministry Launches the Greening Kenya project at National Youth Service

Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia on Friday 27th, officially launched the Greening Kenya project at National Youth Service (NYS) Headquarters, Ruaraka following a directive from H.E. President, Uhuru Kenyatta to increase the forest cover from 7% to 10% of the land mass by 2030.

Prof. Kobia highlighted the need to plant trees in order to confront the effects of climate change and the increasing intensity and magnitude of weather-related disasters in the country that have aggravated conflicts over natural resources such as pasture and water.

“The importance of planting trees and achieving adequate forest cover in our country cannot be overstated. Our country is experiencing frequent changes in weather patterns that have led to extreme weather occurrences. Droughts, famines, and flooding becoming a commonplace. Environmental scientists have advised that the only way we can stabilize these extreme occurrences in our region is by planting more trees,” she said.

The Cabinet Secretary urged the Ministry Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to honor the presidential directive and ensure nationwide tree planting in their respective environments. “It is our duty and our responsibility as Kenyans and Government Officers to participate in the recovery of our forest coverage from 7% to 10%.”

The exercise kicked off with the planting of 1000 trees. So far, MDAs have planted 1.7 million trees in the 2019-2020 Financial Year. The target for 2020-20121 Financial Year is to plant 10 million trees.

The Ministry and NYS paid pending bills amounting to KES. 6 Billion to suppliers in the 2019-2020 Financial Year. KES. 15 Billion will be paid in this financial year 2020-2021.

Also present at the event was Principal Secretary, State Department for Public Service, Mrs. Mary Kimonye, Principal Secretary, State Department for Gender, Prof. Collette Suda, NYS Chairman, Rtd General Njuki Mwaniki, NYS Director General, Ms. Matilda Sakwa among other senior Government officials.

By Andrew Ishepai

Launch of the Report on Unintended Pregnancies and HIV Amongst Adolescents and Young People

Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia on Friday 27th, November participated in a dialogue to discuss the findings of a report on unintended pregnancies and HIV amongst adolescents and young people in Homa Bay County.

In her remarks, Prof. Kobia noted that the study findings are critical as they will provide solutions to help reduce teenage pregnancy.

She pointed out that teenage pregnancies are barriers to gender equality because when young girls become pregnant and drop out of school they miss out on an opportunity to build a better quality of life.

“If we empower families economically they will be able to provide basic needs for their children and we shall reduce the number of teenage pregnancies where the County is dealing with over 4,000 cases of teenage pregnancies as per the Ministry of Health reports released during the COVID-19 pandemic period,” said Prof. Kobia.

The Cabinet Secretary called for a gender sensitive approach to address specific vulnerability of both boys and girls.” Traditional social norms that endorse masculinity and perpetrate violence as an acceptable trait should be discouraged,” she said.

She said that the key findings from the report and the other reports recently released have implication for both levels of government and stakeholders in Kenya to accelerate efforts to present and effectively respond to the disempowerment of girls on issues of GBV.

Statistics from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS 2019) show that women and girls make up 50.5% of Kenyan Population. Nearly one quarter of women give birth by age 18 and 18% of adolescent girls aged 15-19 are already mothers or pregnant with first child.

Homa Bay County Governor, Hon. Cyprian Awiti welcomed the report and committed County Government support in the successful implementation of workable solutions. He urged all the partners to work together to achieve lasting solutions for the benefit of adolescents and young people.

On her part, UNICEF Country Representative, Maniza Zanam said with closure of schools due to COVID-19 pandemic, young girls are removed not only from education, but from the protective routine that schooling offers placing them them at greater risk of the triple threat of sexual violence, HIV & unintended pregnancy.

She noted that the report findings will guide in improving the interventions for adolescents and equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need to stay safe and healthy.

The event culminated in the official launch of the study report titled ”Unintended pregnancies and HIV Amongst Adolescents and Young People: A situation Analysis of Homa Bay, Kenya.”

Other participants present were Homa Bay County Women Rep. Hon. Gladys Wanga, Homa Bay County Health Executive Committee Member, Prof. Richard Muga among others.
#HomaBayHIVReport #16Days #orangetheworld

By Nelly Kosgey

High-Level Inter-Ministerial Cross Border Meeting on Ending Female Genital Mutilation During and Post COVID-19 Pandemic

As one of the activities to mark International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls, Chief Administrative Secretary, Hon. Rachel Shebesh yesterday on 25th participated in a high-level inter-ministerial cross border meeting on ending Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) during and post COVID-19 pandemic, a virtual event that was hosted by UBC Uganda.

In her address, Hon. Shebesh called for the implementation and operationalization of FGM legislative frameworks by all the respective East African Countries in order to ensure progress made in ending FGM is not curtailed by the porous borders where FGM prevalence is still very high.

She noted that Kenya has made tremendous progress in the fight against FGM through the enactment and enforcement of the National policy on the eradication of FGM 2019 and implementation of multi-sectoral approach to eliminate FGM.

“Our President H.E Uhuru Kenyatta made a commitment to End FGM in Kenya and beyond its borders by the year 2022 and we are now implementing the presidential directive by engaging the community through the law enforcement officers to abandon FGM,” she added.

Hon. Shebesh called for a speedy action by The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) to ensure the commitment to End Cross Border FGM is achieved through legislation in place and all the Countries in the region must have FGM laws in place.

“If we have Ugandans crossing over to Kenya because they find it an easier place to have FGM then it is a big failure on our side as Kenyan government. I want to assure you as a Ministry we shall not rest until we put an End to Cross Border FGM by imposing tough penalties on the perpetrators and those abetting the practice through the border,” said the Chief Administrative Secretary.

She further mentioned the emerging trend being used by the FGM perpetrators where they carry out the cut on infants and also the medicalisation of FGM practice by rogue medical practitioners.

On her part, Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development of the Republic of Uganda Hon. Peace Mutuuzo said many girls are still being cut secretly due to hiding of information and poor reporting at all levels. We call on the media fraternity to give FGM the attention it deserves as it’s one of the worst forms of violence against women and girls as we also remain vigilant on the changing trends on the medicalization of FGM practice.

Hon. Mutuuzo emphasised the need to strengthen collaboration with the neighbouring Countries to ensure timely intervention in the fight against FGM which requires sustained funding is achieved.

UNFPA Deputy Regional Director for the East and Southern Africa Office, Justine Coulson on her presentation on cross border survey commended the East African region for setting the pace to show how cooperation is important to End Cross Border FGM. She said the study survey revealed that most cases relating to child marriages and FGM are interlinked amongst the cross-border communities.

Other participants present was UNFPA Uganda Country Representative, Mr. Alain Sibenaler, Anti- FGM Board CEO, Bernadette Loloju and Legislator and Human Rights Champion, Hon. Dora Byamukama.


By Nelly Kosgey

Dialogue Between Co-leaders of the Action Coalition on GBV

On the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women held on Wednesday 25th, the Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia participated in a dialogue between co-leaders of the Action Coalition on GBV and girl-led and women’s rights organisations on the frontline of tackling GBV.

Within the #GenerationEquality Action Coalition on Gender Based Violence that Kenya is co-leading with United Kingdom, Uruguay, Iceland together with UN Women and other partners, recognizes the critical role and contribution of Women Rights Organization’s and Girl led organizations in attaining our goal for gender equality.

The Government of Kenya commits to the following:

i. Ensuring that women rights and girl-led organizations participate and contribute meaningfully in the Action Coalition initiatives, even as the blueprint for the Coalition is being developed. More importantly by ensuring their voices are heard when coming up with the policy priorities commitments for the Generation Equality Forum in June 2021;

ii. Ensuring that they are part of the Kenya’s leadership structure of the Action Coalition on Gender Based Violence as the country support mechanism to be launched soon at the National level;

iii. Working in partnership in our advocacy work so as to strengthen and to sustain efforts to prevent violence by addressing social norms for promoting gender equality for a transformative world;

iv. Support their efforts for resource mobilization in order to effectively complement the Governments initiatives on ending Gender Based Violence; and

v. Strengthen our linkages with other arms of Government and stakeholders to ensure that adolescent girls and young women are not exploited, are protected from harmful practices such as FGM and Child marriage and safely return and stay in school for the realization of their full potential in life.

Prof. Kobia reiterated the Action Coalition Joint Leadership Statement of 29th September 2020 on the commitment to work together to stop any reversal of hard-won progress on advancing gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment due to COVID -19 pandemic.

She noted that efforts to rebuild after the COVID-19 pandemic must have women and girl’s agency at their heart and tackle the longer- term strategy and root causes of GBV.


Ministry Launches 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence and Gender Based Violence Recovery Center Guidelines

The Ministry of Public Service and Gender in partnership with development partners and civil society organisations yesterday launched 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence and Gender Based Violence Recovery Center Guidelines at a colourful virtual event.

This year’s event comes at a time when the world is grappling with the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic which has ravaged global economies and has brought with it social, economic, health and psychological effects of unexpected magnitude. Subsequently, cases of GBV against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, have escalated around the world.

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence is a time that is set aside every year to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world. This year’s theme is “Orange the World, Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect”.

The event was presided over by Principal Secretary for the State Department for Gender, Prof. Collette Suda who in her opening remarks noted that there had been a 55% increase in GBV cases between March and June when COVID-19 struck however, the figure had reduced by 41% between July and October largely due to advocacy work.

Prof. Suda pointed out the various initiatives that have been undertaken to deal with GBV including the establishment of gender desks in police stations, establishment of toll-free hotlines such as 1195 as well as advocacy campaigns. “The State Department for Gender in partnership with Healthcare Assistance Kenya operates a 24-hour toll-free helpline that supports survivors of GBV to receive online counseling and referrals for medical and legal services,” she said.

The Principal Secretary said the 16 days of activism this year will focus on the five Ps which are prevention of GBV, protection of the survivors, prosecution of perpetrators and partnership in the implementation of programmes around GBV. “No single Government Ministry, Department, Agency, faith based or civil society organization can address GBV in isolation. Therefore, this calls for multi-sectoral and multi-agency interventions to address health, legal, psycho-social, economic and cultural issues. We must focus on the five Ps that guide our work in this area,” she noted.

The UN Country Representative, Ms. Anna Mutavati affirmed that UN Women is committed to providing technical and financial support for Kenya to deliver on its obligations to prevent and respond to GBV but called on more efforts to go beyond financial funding. “We must put in more effort on mobilising every resource available in the communities as opposed to focussing on financial funding to fight GBV,” she stated.

The EU Ambassador to Kenya, Amb. Simon Mordue, who is also the Co-Chair of the Development Partners Group on Gender pledged more support from the EU during the 16 Days of Activism and beyond.

Another highlight of the event was the launch of the Guidelines for the Establishment of Gender Based Violence Recovery Centers (GBVRCs) in Kenya which were developed to standardise the service quality of the centers across the country. The GBVRCs are provided for in Vision 2030 as underscored in the social pillar that prioritises prevention and response to gender based violence and eradication of FGM.

Important days that will be marked during the 16 Days of Activism are the International Day for Persons with disabilities on the 3rd of December, the International Volunteer Day on the 5th of December and the International Human Rights Day on the 10th of December.

#16Days #OrangeTheWorld

By Catherine Kamau and Jacquiline Kirimi

The Centrality of Leadership in Fostering an Ethical Culture

Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia on 5th November, 2020 presided over the virtual launch of a culture change conference themed “The Centrality of Leadership in Fostering an Ethical Culture” which was convened by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.

The conference highlighted the ethical deficiencies in public, private and civil society sectors and focused on the centrality of leadership in fostering an ethical culture.

In her address, Prof. Kobia highlighted the government’s commitment to entrench a culture of integrity in the social fabric and fight corruption challenges in both public and private sector, noting corruption as one of the greatest impediments to development the world over. “The World Economic Forum indicates that the global cost of corruption is at least $2.6 trillion or 5% of the gross domestic product (GDP),” she said.

The Cabinet Secretary challenged the participants at the conference to come up with recommendations that will positively contribute to the achievement of Kenya’s development blueprints including Kenya Vision 2030, Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union Agenda 2063.

She urged participants to embrace partnership building in creating and nurturing ethical cultures in their organizations. “It is important to identify supportive stakeholders – the institutions that may reinforce and help promote desired ethics in your organizations. I urge you to explore ways of engaging these institutions as partners in your agenda to grow and foster ethical culture,” the Cabinet Secretary said.

A 2015 EACC Report indicated that corruption tops the list of major challenges facing Kenya at 49.4%; followed by unemployment (36.8%) and poverty/famine (27.2%). Another survey in 2017 – National Ethics and Corruption Survey – indicated that corruption and unethical conduct were widespread at over 71%. Most notable, the survey indicated that 67% of Kenyans were doing nothing in the fight against corruption and unethical conduct, signaling a salient acceptance and resignation to the phenomenon.

Prof. Kobia also noted that ethical culture formation and sustenance depends much on the quality of leadership in an organization and called on leaders to shape the culture of their organizations positively through their words and deeds.

Present at the event was Secretary-General African Association for Public Administration and Management, Dr. George Scott; Chairperson, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, Archbishop (Rtd) Dr. Eliud Wabukala; Head Public Sector Governance Commonwealth Secretariat, Dr. Roger Koranteng; Chief Public Administration, United Nations, Dr. John-Mary Kauzya; Executive Secretary, International Institute of Administrative Sciences South Africa, Dr. Steve Troupin; and Head, National Integrity Academy, Dr Purity Gitonga among others.

By Nelly Kosgey

Commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325

Commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325

The Ministry of Public Service and Gender in collaboration with UN Women and the Government of Finland today held a high-level meeting in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.

The virtual meeting which was attended by Cabinet Secretary for Public Service and Gender, Prof. Margaret Kobia, UN Women Country Representative, Ms. Anna Mutavati and Finland Ambassador to Kenya, H.E. Amb. Erik Lundberg, sought to assess the progress on the implementation of UNSCR 1325; highlight the role of women in peacebuilding and women leadership in conflict resolutions.

20 years ago, the UN Resolution affirmed the importance of the participation of women in peace negotiations, humanitarian planning, peace-keeping operations, and post-conflict peacebuilding and governance. The resolution recognized that conflicts affect women differently and addressing the needs, views and participation of women is a positive peace dividend.

However, despite all these resolutions and important gains that have been made since the adoption of UNSCR 1325, there still exists a major gap between the intended and expected results and the reality on the ground. There is an urgent need the world over for more concerted effort to facilitate women involvement in peacemaking, peacebuilding and peacekeeping to realize sustainable global peace.

In her address, Prof. Kobia noted that Kenya is making steady progress towards equal participation in peace and security matters and highlighted the recent appointment to the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member. “Kenya will seize this window of opportunity to ensure women are at the core of peace and security agenda,” she said.

However, the Cabinet Secretary acknowledged that Kenya is still grappling with challenges and that the inclusion of more women in peacebuilding processes still remains an uphill task. She called on for more strengthened efforts towards inclusion and also the prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a reported increase in domestic and intimate partner violence. The national GBV helpline 1195 recorded a 33.7% increase by end of March and hit 50% by June.

UN Country Representative, Ms. Anna Mutavati recognized Kenya’s commitment to advancing the women, peace and security agenda and noted the adoption of the Ministry of Defence’s first Gender Policy which she said has contributed to an increase in women’s meaningful and effective participation in decision making. “I am pleased with the appointment of women in senior ranks such as the first female Major General in Kenya, Fatima Ahmed,” said the UN Representative.

The Finland Ambassador to Kenya, H.E. Erik Lundberg pledged the support of Finland in the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda and the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls. The Ministry of Public Service and Gender in collaboration with UN Women and the Government of Finland and the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government implemented the first Kenya National Action Plan on 1325 (KNAP I) in 2016 and recently launched KNAP II in May 2020. KNAP II reaffirms women’s right to participate in all aspects of peace and security in Kenya as a means of promoting sustainable, transformative, and prosperous peace and development in Kenya.

Also present at the event was Special Envoy, Women Peace and Security, African Union, Mme. Bineta Diop; Chief Administrative Secretary, Hon. Rachel Shebesh, Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Ababu Namwamba; Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, Amb. Hussein Dado, Governor Kericho County, Prof. Paul Chepkwony and Principal Secretary, Prof. Collette Suda among others.

By Maurice Goga and Jacqueline Kirimi

Launch of Boda Boda Safety Association Kenya (BAK) Women Chapter

Launch of Boda Boda Safety Association Kenya (BAK) Women Chapter

Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia on Monday 26th October, 2020 presided over the launch of Boda Boda Safety Association Kenya (BAK) Women Chapter an Association that seeks to improve the welfare of Boda Boda women entrepreneurs through training on road safety, social-economic empowerment and security.

Prof. Kobia applauded the women who she noted have taken a bold step to venture into the motorcycle business which is perceived to be a male-dominated field. “I congratulate the women in Boda Boda business for taking a bold step to transform their lives for better by exploiting motorcycle business opportunities. We celebrate these hard-working women who have proved that they can work and excel in a male-dominated field,” she said.

Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia making her remarks during the launch of Boda Boda Safety Association Kenya (BAK) Women Chapter in Nairobi on 26th October, 2020.

Prof. Kobia commended the Boda Boda Safety Association (BAK) for the inclusion of women in the sector, “as the Ministry in-charge of gender affairs that advocates for equal opportunities for both men and women, I am pleased to see the inclusion of women in this growing sector,” she said.

The Cabinet Secretary committed to support the women entrepreneurs through Women Enterprise Fund loans to enable them to expand their businesses and appealed to them to support the government in fighting against Gender-Based Violence, Teenage pregnancies, Female Genital Mutilation, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Leaders present during the launch included Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of ICT, Innovation & Youth Affairs Nadia Abdalla, UNFPA Country Representative, Dr. Ademola Olajide, CEO Taxiye, CEO ICL Africa, Eve Maina, Chairperson BAK, Mr. Kevin Mubadi among other officials.

By Maurice Goga

Cabinet Secretary Prof. Kobia Flags off NYS Donations to Needy Schools

Cabinet Secretary Prof. Kobia Flags off NYS Donations to Needy Schools

Needy students in various parts of the country will receive various items in support of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic which will be provided by the National Youth Service (NYS). The items which will be donated will include face masks, girls’ dignity kits, hand sanitizers, bar soaps, buckets and jerricans.

Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia addressing the stakeholders during the flagging off ceremony of NYS donations to needy school

In her address during the flagging off ceremony of the first consignment held on Thursday 22nd October, 2020 at NYS Headquarters in Ruaraka, Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia recognized the need to support needy students now that there has been a partial reopening of schools.

“There are some areas in this country where a parent affording a mask for his or her child going to school is a problem so this donation by NYS is timely. She thanked the institution for being on the forefront in the fight against the pandemic through mass production of masks and the provision of other critical services.

NYS Council Lt Gen. (Rtd) Njuki Mwaniki and NYS Director-General Matilda Sakwa who were present reiterated the institution’s commitment to public service and said that the institution will continue to explore ways to serve to the best of its capacity during the pandemic.

Since the outbreak, NYS has been involved in the transportation of passengers from the airport, guarding isolation centres and cessation areas, renovation of Mbagathi Hospital to accommodate more patients and distribution of masks to needy Kenyans.

By Brian Were

Renewed Public Service reforms to drive the country’s socioeconomic agenda – PS, Kimonye

Renewed Public Service reforms to drive the country’s socioeconomic agenda – PS, Kimonye

Over the years, Kenya’s public service has been viewed as slow in service delivery and basically reluctant to change and improvement. However, contrary to this view, the current public service is undergoing immeasurable number of reforms, as the Principal Secretary for State Department for Public Service, Mrs. Mary Kimonye explained to MyGov’s Michael Okidi in an interview, excerpts of which are reproduced here.

In the structure of Government, what function does the State Department for Public Service play?

The State Department for Public Service provides strategic leadership and policy direction in Public Service Management, Human Resource Management and Performance Management. The State Department provides policy advisory and guidelines that propels the Public Service in Kenya to deliver efficient, effective and ethical services to citizens.

Historically, it has been at the center of government since independence. From 1963 to 2006 as the Directorate of Personnel Management in the Office of the President; from 2006 to 2013 as the Ministry of State for Public Service in the Office of the President and later in the Office of the Prime Minister; from 2013

to 2018, it was restructured as the Directorate of Public Service Management in the Ministry of Devolution and Planning. Then in the Executive restructuring of 2018 it was established as the State Department for Public Service and Youth under the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender.

It gained its present structure following the reorganization of National Government vide Executive Order No. 1 of May 2020, which placed it as a State Department under the Ministry of Public Service and Gender.

As the oversight agency for the entire civil service, it would seem to play a very significant role in government. More specifically, what is your mandate?

The State Department consists of several units that facilitate the management of the entire public service body as we know it.

First, there is the Public Service Performance Management and Monitoring Unit, which manages Performance Contracting in all the ministries, departments and state agencies. Second, we have the Human Resource Management Policy Unit, which manages the entire human resource function within Government in terms of policy direction. Third, there is the Human Resource Development Unit that deals with matters of capacity building, training and development of the human resources within the public sector. We have the Public Service Management Advisory Services that advises public sector entities on reforms and transformation, organizational structure, job analysis and evaluation, payroll management as well as how to mainstream research and innovations.

Then there is the Counselling unit which has overall responsibility for the coordination and management of psychological counseling services across the entire public service sector. Besides these functional units, the State Department also oversights three Government agencies: the National Youth Service that offers para-military and community service training to our youth, The Kenya School of Government whose mandate is to offer management training, research, consultancy, and advisory services to the public sector and finally the Huduma Kenya Programme, which acts as the face of Government services and ensures government services are accessible and effectively delivered to wananchi across the country.

You have been talking about public service reform as a priority in your administration. What reforms have you undertaken so far?

Since the start of the Jubilee administration, the reform agenda has been extensive. Most notable is the Huduma Kenya Programme which is a one-stop-shop for government service delivery, now firmly established in all the counties. In essence automation has been a key reform driver with recent reforms including operationalization of a Unified Payroll Number (UPN) system that uniquely identifies and tracks public servants from entry to exit. Government Human Resource Information System (GHRIS) has consolidated all human resource functions and processes. The department has also automated the Performance Contracting, Monitoring and Evaluation cycle which was previously a manual system. Records has also been digitized.

We have been adaptive and responsive as needs have arisen. For instance we have developed and operationalized guidelines on alternative work arrangements including working from home to ensure continued government business during COVID-19 pandemic. Simply put, reform and transformation is part of the DNA of the State Department.

A mention of Government Human Resource Information Systems creates a picture of a public service that has gone digital. To what extent has this digitization been successful?

The State Department spearheaded development of the Government Human Resource Information System (GHRIS) from the year 2012.

GHRIS has automated HR functions and services from recruitment to separation including generation of payroll numbers for new employees in Ministries/Departments and County Governments. The system has also automated the Performance Appraisal System.

GHRIS has consolidated the entire human resource data in the Public Service and interfaced the data with other Government systems such as Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS), Pension Management Information System (PMIS), iTax, Teachers Service Commission Human Resource Management Information System (HRMIS) and Integrated Population Registration System (IPRS), among others

Not very long ago, some public sub sectors, especially former local authorities, were found to condone the existence of ghost workers in their payrolls. Can you say the introduction of the GHRIS and payroll management systems have eliminated this vice?

The Integrated Payroll & Personnel Database (IPPD) is a computerized system which is used by Ministries/ Departments, Counties and Government Agencies to process their payrolls. The IPPD system has enhanced accountability in payroll management since erroneous entries can easily be attributed to an individual officer with 100% certainty.

The Department undertakes regular upgrading of IPPD System. The state department also undertakes regular payroll audit for Ministries/Departments and Counties

with a view to identifying any irregularities on the set human resource rules and procedures. Irregularities include unauthorized payments and presence of ghost workers. The objective of the payroll audits is to improve compliance with effective payroll management.

Further to this, the State Department has developed and implemented the Unified Payroll Number (UPN) System. This system enables employees to have only one identifier throughout their stay in the public service and therefore prevents double allocation of payroll numbers and eliminates the possibility of employees to be in multiple payrolls.

You mentioned counseling as one of the sub-sectors within your mandate. Now, in the face of the Corona virus pandemic, what service do you have for public servants affected by Covid-19?

His Excellency the President directed that we assess, diagnose and manage the mental well-being of public servants, especially those affected or in the frontline of tackling Covid-19. The state department has provided tele-guidance/counseling services, and psychological First Aid (PFA) to public servants as first responders.

The state department also established counseling outreach programs in the counties. For sustainability and wider reach, we identified and capacity-built Public Service Mental Health Champions in Ministries/ Departments equipping them with essential counseling skills. We are conducting mental health screening/ assessment/survey and establishing a mental health wellbeing dashboard for effective monitoring and evaluation.

There have been complaints of certain cadres of civil servants getting faster promotions than others. Are these complaints legitimate and if so, is the State Department doing anything in mitigation?

The state department has developed new guidelines for career management in the Service in consultation with Public Service Commission and other stakeholders. This was done on the basis of job families to ensure uniformity in their implementation. We have also identified cadres without schemes of service and developed their career guidelines accordingly. This has been extended to the counties to ensure that standards for selection, recruitment and advancement are maintained across board.

On Huduma centers, what milestones can you say have been achieved through this relatively new service delivery system?

Since its formation in 2013 the programme has expanded to all the counties with 52 centres in total. In the seven years of its existence the programme has managed to serve a total of 51 million customers. It has established several service channels to reach wananchi where they reside. There is Huduma Mashinani – a mobile outreach programme that brings services to the grassroots; Huduma Contact Centre whereby citizens can call in and enquire about government services; and Huduma Mobile Application that allows citizens to access government services from the convenience of their mobile devices. We are realizing the concept of Huduma Popote through digitization and automation.

We recently launched the Service by Appointment (SBA), which enables citizens to make online booking of services well in advance wherever they are, and only come to the centre at the appointed hour. We are soon rolling out a new online document tracking solution, which will enable citizens track the status of their documents without having to make several visits to centers.

Huduma Kenya has transformed how government services are offered and has enhanced the trust between citizens and government. It is a most trusted customer-centric public service brand with a satisfaction level of 95 – 97% as per the last survey conducted.

The centers have started online bookings for services. What is your early bird assessment of this system?

Our early assessment of the Service by Appointment system, is that it will enable us to manage the high numbers of citizens visiting the centers. It will also reduce the waiting time for services while ensuring adherence to COVID-19 protocols. The pilot at GPO Huduma Centre has been successful. The Centre serves an average of 5,000 citizens daily, and the system has helped to eliminate the crowds and long queues that were the norm.

The Kenya School of Government is another agency under your department. What role does it play in Public Service Management?

The School is responsible for capacity development of public servants through training, policy research and consultancy services. In the school, public servants acquire leadership and management competencies that contribute to improved performance and productivity.

This is evident through continuous adoption of best practice in all the spheres of the service including performance management system; strategic plans, innovative service delivery and business process re-engineering.

Public officers upon training are able to drive positive change and enhance efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery. Training in public administration contributes to reduction of resource waste, red tape, duplication of roles and skills misalignment. The school serves as a knowledge management institution for public servants.

The National Youth Service (NYS) has undergone changes under its new council. In respect to this, what achievements have been registered by the service, in terms of community service projects and programmes.

Part of the NYS mandate is to undertake national development tasks and assist in national emergencies. Some of the national tasks that NYS has taken part in include locust control and rehabilitation of the old railway line running from Nairobi to Nyahururu to Nanyuki as well as rehabilitation of the Kisumu Port.

The service has also been active in the containment and mitigation of COVID-19 providing security and logistical support to the containment efforts. It has stitched over one million masks for distribution to the vulnerable population, and installed water tanks and provided water and soap in strategic areas in informal settlements. The service has re-invented itself under an independent oversight council and the past negative image and reputation of the service has changed. I am confident that it will continue to churn out patriotic, disciplined and committed youth ready to serve their country.

As published in MyGov, 20th October, 2020

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