If the gains of devolutions in the education sector at the Coast region were to be measured, then Kilifi County has made strides in the battle against illiteracy.
Kilifi has over the years been ranked as one of the areas with the highest illiteracy levels but the County has invested heavily to bolster learning system in the County.
From the introduction of free pre-primary education to the County ward scholarship fund, the County administration says that it is keen on developing and improving the County education standards.
The county government has spent Ksh 1.25 since it was sworn in, towards scholarships through the County Ward scholarship fund to fight illiteracy in society. The fund targets bright but needy students to help them further their education. So far more than 170,000 students have benefitted from the scholarship in Kilifi.
"Our main aim was to see that no student was unable to accesses education in the county,” County Executive In-charge of Education, Ms Salma Muhiddin says.
The programme has seen the county government allocate Ksh 10 million amounting to Sh 350 million distributed to all 35 wards in Kilifi County since 2013. In the 2014/2015 fiscal years, the county government raised the allocation to Sh525 million before reverting to Sh 350 million in 2015/16 to date.
The county government has also channeled its efforts towards infrastructure development that has seen over 595 new Early Childhood Centre established in all parts of the county.
"The construction of the ECD centers has greatly reduced the distance that young pupils travel to access quality education in the county. Before, young children had to walk for miles in order to access class, but these centers have eased that burden…" Says James Angore who is the County Director of ECDE programmes.
The County has also set aside Sh 65 million for a school feeding programme in the county that will see 80,000 pupils across the 799 ECD centers under the management of the County Government receive milk on a weekly basis.
In 2015, Kingi's administration introduced the free pre-primary school education to attract more pupils to seek education in the county and ease the stress on parents in terms of paying school fee in nursery school.
More than 700 caregivers have also been hired by the County Public Service board to see that proper knowledge is imparted on the children at an early age. However the county notes that there is still a deficit in trained personnel.
And even as the County grapples to fill the manpower vacuum, the county has finished the construction of its first model ECDE Teachers Training and Resource Centre, at Fumbini, which will churn 300 graduate trained ECD care givers yearly to fill the deficit.
A healthy County is a productive county. This is the commitment the county government of Kilifi has striven to achieve; providing better quality health services for all its citizens.
Through the department of Health services, Governor Amason Kingi's administration has ensured that better health services have been taken to the grassroots.
His commitment to improve maternal health services and reduce infant mortality rate in the county has seen the county government expand existing and build new dispensaries in all the 35 wards in the county.
In Kaloleni sub county, the county government has constructed a modern maternity and operating theatre at Jibana sub county hospital that will be able to hold at least five operations at ago.
Residents of Lenga now have access to sustainable health services following the opening of Lenga dispensary that was official opened by Kilifi Governor, Hon Amason Jeffah Kingi.
The county government has also announced plans to expands the three main sub-county hospitals of Kilifi, Malindi and Mariakani so that they can accomodate more patients.
In malindi the plans to increase the bed occupancy from 210 to 274, while in Kilifi the bed occupancy is set to increase to 264 from 200. For Mariakani the bed capacity is set jump from 72 to 136 beds, this according Health Chief Officer, Timothy Malingi.
Residents of Kayafungo recently welcomed the construction of the Ndatani dispensary which comes as a relief for more than three villages in the area after years of walking for miles to seek medical services in Mariakani.
Expanding health facilities has seen the county government commit more than Sh. 300 million towards the construction of a modern Cancer Centre care unit which once complete will be able to provide oncology services to cancer patients in the County.
The County has been able to distribute six state of the art incubators for its hospitals in Kilifi, Malindi and Mariakan, which has gone a long way in giving life support to pre-mature newborns.
The county government has also installed a Computed Tomography scan machine in the county largest referral hospital in Kilifi Township for. This is besides the new digital X ray machines that were bought to serve patients in Malindi and Mariakani hospitals.
Having allocated the department the highest amount of money since health was devolved, with a budget of Sh. 2.3 billion in the 2016/17 financial year, the County has seen also a sharp rise in the number of health officers being recruited.
Governor Amason Kingi notes that his administration has been able to hire 230 new nurses since it took over office compared to the 290 that were in the county since independence.
While the County used to have only three ambulances before devolution, the county now prides itself for having a fleet of 25 top of the range ambulances fully equipped and capable of providing emergency services 24 hours a day, seven days a week free of charge.
Before, pregnant mothers were ferried for miles aboard motorcycle health centres to deliver. A risky undertaking that made many young mothers opted to deliver at home under the supervision of untrained mid-wives. But Kilifi department of health has seen to it that all health centers have delivery rooms where mother are able to deliver with dignity.
Long gone are the days where patients would go to hospitals without medical supplies, as the county has been able to supply all health facilities with adequate medicine on time.
Even the dead have not been forgotten. The county has been able purchase new freezers at the Kilifi county and Malindi hospital to preserve the dead.
The desire to become a food secure county, able to feed its own citizens and bar any reliance on relief food is what has made the Kilifi County Government invest heavily in Agriculture
Under the stewardship of Kilifi Governor, Hon. Amason Kingi, Kilifi County has seen tremendous transformation in the Agricultural sector since devolution took effect. From embracing new methods of farming to farm mechanization, Kilifi County is on the road to achieving its vision of "Food security for all people in the County,"
Kilifi County Department of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries has in the last four years dedicated more than Sh. 1.4 billion towards enhancing agriculture and livestock production in the County.
Since commencing the devolved units of Governments, Kilifi County has been at the forefront in embracing irrigation with the county setting up more than seven irrigation schemes in a bid to combat food shortage.
From Uhai Marakano in Jilore, to Mdachi irrigation scheme in Ganze sub-county, Hon. Kingi's administration has seen more than 500 acres being put under irrigation in places such as Mangudho, Zia ra Wari, Pangan, Burangi and Madoviani. Others include Kakuyuni irrigation cluster, Kwa ndezi irrigation scheme, Bombi, and Hongera Bwagalao.
For a very long time, farmers in Kilifi had been using the common traditional hand hoe to prepare their farms. The use of these farm tools has had a negative impact on crop production due to the size of land acreage cultivated.
To reverse this outdated practice, the Department of Agriculture purchased 38 tractors and ploughs for farmers across the county to embrace mechanization. The move has greatly improved the total surface area in Kilifi under farming with close to 50,000 hectares from 10,000 hectares now under farming.
The County government has also been able to introduce a farm subsidy program, where farmers have benefited from free certified seed as a way to improve the quality of their produce. Since inception of the programme, 479 tons of seeds have been distributed to farmers to promote the production of maize, cowpeas and green gram. The county government has also distributed 14,564 bags of fertilizer to its farmers in the last four years.
The county government of Kilifi has also embarked on reviving its once vibrant fruit crops; cashewnut, coconut and mango which were once the envy of the country. So far the department of Agriculture has distributed 121,666 Cashew nut seedling, 68,000 Mango plants and 300,000 Coconut seedlings that have benefited 6,913 locals' farmers across the county.
Through the Kilifi County Development plan, 7,407 acres coconut orchards, 2,074 acres Cashew and 1,407 acres Mango have been established in various parts of the County in an effort to revive the sectors which for many years have been the main source of income to many households besides being the Coastal Agricultural identity.
Access to clean safe water has always been a priority of Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi. When the County Governments were sworn in, one of the first tasks that Hon. Kingi aimed to tackle was to provide clean water to his people.
"Water has always been an issue in Kilifi since independence. This is despite the fact that the major source of water in the Coast region, the Baricho water works are based Kilifi County," Says Kingi.
Four years into devolution, the County Government through the department of water has made deliberate measures and injected over Sh. 1.6 billion interconnecting more than 550 km of water pipes across the County. This has seen over 400,000 residents of Kilifi have direct access to clean water.
Through partnerships with donors such as The Kenya Red-Cross, Governor Kingi's Administration has been able to quench the thirst of Kilifi residents after the County Government began laying afresh basic infrastructure to improve water supply across the County.
In areas such as Ganze Sub-County, the County government has partnered with the Kenya Red Cross Society to initiate the 11-Km Ganze – Bamba main rising water project at a cost of Ksh. 180 million. The County Government injected Sh. 105 million towards the rehabilitation of the dilapidated Ganze pipeline and setting up of a pumping station and construction of a 320,000-litre water storage tank.
The project aims to supply water not only in Ganze Sub-County but also supply bulk water to close to 50,000 residents of Hademu, Mwanamwinga, Mwijo and neighboring communities within Kaloleni sub-county. This is one of the single largest projects that the County Government of Kilifi has undertaken to bring fresh and clean water closer to its people.
For the first time since independence, residents of Adu, Magarini Sub-county are able to access fresh; tap water after the county government finished the Kadzandani -Adu Kamale pipeline extension project and the completion of the Kathama – Chakama water extension project. The 19-Km water supply pipeline has made it possible for over 8,000 households of Kadzandani and Kamale feel the fruits of devolution.
Before, residents of Adu and Kamale used to walk for up to 6 kilometers in search of water from drying streams and water pans in forest, competing for resources with wild animals. But this is now a thing of the past after the County took water to their door steps.
Hundreds of water vendors have been registers in the county after the directorate of water services set up water collection points (Kiosk) where people are able to buy water at a modest rate. The county government has also drilled modern boreholes across the seven sub counties to arrest the water situation in the county.
The boreholes powered by solar panels have been able to serves close to 30 villages in Kilifi County that have been for a long time affected by water shortages.
The County Government has also been on the fore front in the installation and construction of over 500 storage tanks in all the 35 wards of Kilifi County.
From road, sea to air, Kilifi County accessibility has never been much easier. More than 15 kilometres of roads in Kilifi have been upgraded to bitumen and cabro standard since Governor Amason Kingi took office. This is besides the more than 100 new roads that either been constructed, murramed and leveled and graveled.
The County has seen the upgrading of more than 40 roads, including the upgrading of the Majengo- Kiulu road in Magarini, the rehabilitation of Watamu Jakaranda road, the upgrading of Kibaoni/ Adu/ Chamari/ Baricho/ road to bitumen standard.
Before the County government took over, the road situation in Kilifi was in a pathetic state. Some of the roads were rundown from wear. While most of the roads in the county are earth roads the county has been able to gravel and level more than 50 km of the road system in the County.
The department in the last four years has also established Bus parks in all the seven sub-counties of Kilifi.
Example once the Mtwapa Bus park in Kilifi south is complete, the park will be able to decongest the town and reduce traffic jam by two fold as vehicles will no longer be parked in roads ways and walking alleys in the town. Matsangoni bus terminal has been rehabilitated while the Mariakani bus park has rehabilitated to a modern bus park.
Drainage in the County has also been improved after the County Government undertook the initiative to construct culverts and storm water drainage systems to allow free flow of storm water to avoid flooding of the county urban towns.
The Construction of the Kikambala- Sultan palace is now complete so is the Karima, Muyeye and Shella road in Malindi town. Other projects include the rehabilitation of Mbogolo-Mumangani road, Mwereni –Coast palace road, Rehabilitation of the Tsangatsini- Kayafungo road in Kaloleni, Chumani, Roka, Matsangoni, Kiwandani road, Diamond Kiteco road among other roads in the County.
With the introduction of Traffic Martials to enforce traffic rules by the department of Public works, roads and Transport, traffic jams have reduce in the growing town of Mtwapa which is now a hub for business opportunities.
When the County government took office, one of the first things that the County Government did was to purchase graders and excavators that were to be used in the construction of new roads within the county. 3 graders were purchased.
Opening up the county hinterland was a key undertaking. With over 80 projects in its belt, the County department of roads has used more than 1.2 billion in four years in ensuring that the County road network is as magnificent as any other city in the region.
The County prides in having linked the people of Gongoni and Shomela through the 14 km gongoni Shomela road in Magarini, besides the rehabilitation of the Rare, Bare, Ganze road.
Besides construction of the roads the County Government has ensured that it lights up the County in readiness of a 24 hour economy in the urban areas.
This has seen the county rehabilitate street lights besides installing new light and high mast which have reduced crime to minimal levels in the county.