Policy Briefs

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    COVID-19 and Domestic Violence against Men in Kenya: Issues and Policy Directions
    (Academia Kenya, 2021-07) Ondicho, Tom; Mwanyuli, Sharon
    Since the outbreak of COVID- 19 in Wuhan, China in December 2019, multiple media outlets around the world have reported an increase in the rates of domestic violence (DV). In part, this is the result of the stringent measures imposed by governments to reduce the spread of this deadly disease. Factors associated with DV have been exacerbated by the effects of restricted movements, increased time spent at home, financial hardships, increased parental stress, and rising unemployment linked to COVID-19. DV is defined in Kenya’s Protection Against Domestic Violence (PADV) Act 2015, as ‘any form of violence against a person, or threat of violence or of imminent danger to that person, by any other person with whom that person is, or has been, in a domestic relationship’. DV can manifest socially, psychologically, physically, sexually, emotionally, and financially (Obegi et al, 2017; Mangare et al, 2018). While DV affects both genders, more is known about male-perpetrated than female-perpetrated DV, and it is not clear whether what is known about male violence also holds true for female violence. Preliminary and anecdotal evidence suggests that domestic violence against men (DVAM) in Kenya has been on the increase in recent times (MAWE, 2017). While the true levels remain unknown, recent media reports show a significant increase in DVAM since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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    System Approach and Implementation of the Education Programme in Kenya
    (Academia Kenya, 2021-07) Mwaura, John; Gikonyo, Naomi; Kanjugu, John
    Education policy in Kenya, has been under review through various commissions since independence. Nevertheless, none of these attempts have provided a panacea to issues and challenges facing the education system. Sessional Paper Number 1 of 2005, recommended a Sectoral Wide Approach Planning, focusing on access, equity, quality, retention, and completion rates both at the primary and secondary level of education (MOEST, 2005). Though the approach is referred to as sectoral-wide, the policies focused more on two levels of education, disregarding early childhood and university.
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    The Future to Conservation of Ramsar Sites: Environmental Education And Awareness
    (Academia Kenya, 2021-07) Shah, Parita; Atisa, George
    Kenya signed the Ramsar Convention on October 5, 1990, and ratified it on June 5, 1991. Today, Kenya has six Ramsar sites, namely Lakes Nakuru, Naivasha, Baringo, Bogoria, Elementaita and River Tana. To successfully implement the RC goals, the country has developed several legal frameworks and policies that are designed to create awareness and educate communities on the value of protecting wetlands. These include the Wetlands Conservation and Management Policy (GoK, 2015), Wetlands Conservation and Management Act (GoK, 2013b), Environment Policy (GoK, 2013a), Sessional Paper No. 6 on Environment and Development (GoK, 1999), the National Constitution of Kenya (GoK, 2010) and the Environmental Management and Coordination (Conservation and Management of Wetlands) Amendment Regulations (GoK, 2017). By 2012, when CoP 12 was held in Romania, Kenya had developed a national plan, including sub-national plans, basin-level plans and site-related plans, in line with the CEPA programme.
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    Enhancing Antiretroviral Therapy Adherence Among the Youth
    (Academia Kenya, 2021-07) Maina, Angela; Mwangi, Naomi
    Mbagathi District Hospital in Nairobi has approximately 300 youth (15- 24yrs) on ART. Viral load suppression for this group was 63 percent for the year 2016. Between 2016 and 2017, 40 percent of the youth initiated on care were lost to follow-up. The youth do not feel free to share their issues with clinicians and counsellors who are much older than them for fear of being condemned. Similarly, the counselling approach used is ‘old school’ and fails to attract the youth who would prefer interactive modern sessions that are more appealing to them (MacCarthy et al., 2018). The youth also lack peer mentors/counsellors and exposure to peer advocacy campaigns to encourage them in their journey towards viral suppression. Ignorance and poor attitude to ART also contribute to non-adherence as well as a lack of disclosure of their HIV status to their families and friends.
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    Mitigating Engineering Profession Regulatory Gaps
    (Academia Kenya, 2021-07) Ndiba, Peter
    Regulation of the engineering profession is critical in developing and safeguarding the nation’s infrastructural systems. The regulation of engineering education through separate legal provisions of both the Commission for University Education (CUE) and Engineering Board of Kenya (EBK) resulted in uncoordinated and sometimes contradicting directives. The attempt by the University (Amendment) Act No. 48 2016, which was upheld by the High Court ruling of 2020, to resolve the duality by vesting the mandate for accreditation of programmes on CUE has created gaps in the regulation of the engineering profession. This policy brief traces regulation of university education in Kenya, identifies the regulatory gaps and suggests mitigation measures.
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    Cowpea Leaves: Feasible Solutions to Overcome Seasonal Availability
    (Academia Kenya, 2021-07) Owade, Joshua; Abong', George; Okoth, Michael; Mwangombe, Agnes
    Cowpea leaves (Figure 1) is the most produced ALV in the country and has been promoted as a food security crop due to its rich micronutrient content (Owade et al., 2020). However, seasonal availability of the crop constrains its extensive utilization. Moreover, during the long and short rains in ASALs, the vegetables is in abundance but this is followed by scarcity in the off-season. The leafy vegetable has been promoted over the grains of the crop as a cheap alternative source of micronutrients (Mamiro et al., 2011). Value addition of fresh produce is deployed for product diversification and postharvest management of produce. Without postharvest management, Gogo et al. (2017), reports economic losses of 12.6–34.4%, further limiting vegetable availability for household utilization and commercialization. Policy gaps with regards to cowpea leaves in the country are evident due to limited policy focus of this value chain as there is limited documentation of the postharvest losses of any vegetable in the African Postharvest Losses Information System.
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    Improvement of Coconut Production in Kenyan Coast for Income Generation
    (Academia Kenya, 2021-07) Oyoo, Maurice
    The potential value of the coconut sub-sector is estimated at US$180.6 million. But the actual value is only 25 percent of that (US$44.5 million) annually and consists of nuts (mature and immature-madafu) accounting for about 24 percent, coconut wine (60 percent), Makuti roofing materials (12 percent), brooms (3.3 percent) and coconut wood (1 percent). The low level of productivity is due to old and unproductive orchards – the East African Talls (EAT) with no designed improvement programme since they were introduced in Kenya, inadequate quality planting material, lack of fast means of generating clean planting materials, unavailability of improved varieties and a general lack of value addition (Muhammed et al., 2013). Slow growth and long pre-breeding period of palm is also a factor (Rajesh et al., 2008).
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    Using Flexible Loans to Improve Access to Credit for Farmers in Kenya
    (Academia Kenya, 2021-07) Onyango, Fredrick; Upadhyaya, Radha
    ending to the agricultural sector in Kenya is low. According to a report by the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA), only four percent of commercial banks’ lending goes into agriculture (KBA, 2018). Most of these loans go to large farmers as smallholder farmers are unable to meet banks’ requirements as well as the stringent repayment terms demanded by banks. Thus, smallholder farmers have to rely on other sources of finance for farm financing. As Kenya seeks to achieve the food security goal as enshrined in Vision 2030, it is increasingly important to finance smallholder farmers in order to improve agricultural production and productivity and transform the rural economies. Given that farmers do not have regular incomes, making regular repayments from agriculture is untenable. Some lenders, especially microfinance lenders, have designed loan products that offer farmers some flexibility in repayment. Such loans mostly contain features such as grace periods and flexible repayment schedules. Other features include bullet/balloon payments, loan refinancing, loan rescheduling, and credit lines. Flexible loans are expected to be attractive to farmers given that they usually match the cash flows of farmers. Thus, access to credit is expected to improve when loan products are designed with flexible terms. This has been a subject of debate among scholars.
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    Role of Fintech in Enhancing Credit Usage Among the Un(der)-Banked
    (Academia Kenya, 2021-07) Ntwiga, Davis
    The un(der)-banked lack financial histories and financial strength to be attractive to financial institutions, and this limits their ability to access credit. In 2015, around 36.1 percent of Kenyans were classified as poor. Access to micro- credit loans through financial technology (Fintech) can promote individual outcomes while contributing to several of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (Hove and Dubus, 2019). Some of the un(der)-banked perceive technology to be risky and not easy to use. A study in 2016 found that M-Pesa had lifted 2 percent of Kenyans out of poverty and reduced the unbanked population (Hove and Dubus, 2019). A Financial Access Household Survey in 2016 noted that individuals seek financial products that cater to their small and inconsistent incomes, offer better tools for managing day to day transactions and risks, while supporting them to face major life transitions (FSD, 2016). This profile of consumers requires an innovative approach, for example, through the use of big data and artificial intelligence deployed by Fintech firms, to cater for their lack of financial histories in the credit lending process. The availability of soft information means that Fintech can cater for this market gap to further enhance financial inclusion if vibrant, competitive and sound credit market practices are introduced and enforced.
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    Transformational Leadership in Adopting Online Learning
    (University of Nairobi, 2021-01) Gikonyo, Naomi; Ndiritu, Anne
    More than 1.725 billion learners across the globe are currently affected due to the closure of their learning institutions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic (UNICEF June 2020). Over 98% of the world's student population have found themselves out of school due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This population includes university students who were aspiring to complete their academic years. Schools and colleges are making every effort to ensure that teaching and learning are going on even during lockdown occasioned by COVID-19. Examples of postponed examinations include Cambridge International Examination and Kenya National Examinations. The closure of learning institutions has impacted not only the students but also the teachers and school leaders. In response to school closures, the use of online, e-learning and distance learning platforms have remained a key option available for the continuation of learning. Until the COVID-19 pandemic threatened university education, adoption of distance education and in particular, online learning in public universities in Kenya, has been very slow. Online learning provides access to higher education without physical contact in response to the COVID- 19 crisis.
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    Oxygen Access and Affordability in Health Facilities in Kenya
    (University of Nairobi, 2021-01) Ogot, Madara; Ayah, Richard; Muriuki, Rita; Nyangaya, James
    Medical Oxygen can represent a significant cost to hospitals in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Contributors to the high cost include logistical challenges in transporting oxygen that also lead to intermittent availability. The high oxygen cost to the patient can limit use or lead to early discharge. Even where oxygen is in government health facilities and hospitals, its high cost often leads to periods of unavailability. Oxygen concentrators are portable devices that remove nitrogen from the air and are able to produce oxygen at concentrations of 85%-95%. Although the use of concentrators could solve the supply chain problems of oxygen cylinders, concentrators come with their own host of challenges. These include the need for a continuous, reliable supply of electricity (often not available in LMICs), a robust system for monitoring, maintenance and repair, and a clinical staff trained in their use.
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    Managing Fragmentation of Agricultural Land for Livelihood Security in Kenya
    (University of Nairobi, 2021-01) Mugo, Fridah; Ndegwa, Elijah; Mwangi, Isaac
    Kenya’s rural population. As the population increases, per capita land available for farming reduces as more land is used for homesteads. This threatens the livelihood of those who depend on agriculture. Kenya's population has increased from 10.9 million in 1969 to 47.6 million in 2019 (KNBS, 2019). As a result, arable land per person has reduced by 71.4% from 0.42 ha. (1.04 acres) in 1961 to 0.12 ha (0.30 acres) in 2016, and the trend is continuing (World Bank, 2020). The free- hold land tenure system that allows landowners to utilize their land without user and use restriction, sub-division of land for inheritance among heirs, scattered patterns of rural settlement that rests on inefficient utilization of the land resource and unplanned agricultural production are worsening human problems from land fragmentation. Overall, these are a threat to food and livelihood security. Fragmentation of agricultural land is associated with the decline of production in the sector. This study examined the relationship between the inter-generational subdivision of agricultural land and its impacts on food and livelihood security in fifteen rural farming sub- locations covering eight counties: Kisii, Kiambu, Kirinyaga, Embu, Tranzoia, Nyandarua, Machakos and Makueni.
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    Integrated Social Safety Nets: Building Community Resilience for Sustainable Food Security
    (University of Nairobi, 2021-01) Ekiru, Mark; Mulwa, Angeline; Kyalo, Dorothy
    In Kenya, several social safety net programmes have been initiated to support lives and livelihoods and to enhance resilience to shocks. The existing social safety net programmes in the Country include the Hunger Safety Net Programme, Orphans and Vulnerable Children Cash Transfer, Older Persons Cash Transfer Programme, People Living with Severe Disabilities Cash Transfer Programme, and the Urban Food Subsidy Cash Transfer Programme (NGEC, 2014). These are per Article 21 of the Constitution of Kenya, which puts forward that it is the responsibility of the State to ensure that the economic and social rights of citizens are met (Constitution of Kenya, 2010). Government ownership of social safety net initiatives has shown some hope for the implementation of the programmes. However, the sustainability of the programmes is a major worry due to their dependence on donors' funding and technical support (Barrientos and Hume, 2009). Despite the approval of the National Social Protection Policy in 2011, Kenya has continued to record a high incidence of poverty coupled with food insecurity and malnutrition, made worse by disasters and stresses (Ministry of State for Planning and National Development, 2012). The purpose of this study, therefore, focused on the current social safety nets in Turkana County, primarily on the use of cash transfer programmes and its role in community resilience and food security. Turkana County is among the semi-arid lands of Kenya prone to drought and suffers from historical marginalization, struggling with weak infrastructure as well as high rates of illiteracy (OPM 2011). The County is among the four ASAL counties where the Hunger Safety Net Programme (HSNP) was piloted as a viable solution to the eradication of poverty, hunger and malnutrition in the longer term.
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    Enhancing Our Care for the Urban Air We Breathe
    (University of Nairobi, 2021-01) Muthama, Nzoika
    Living in a city or a metropolitan area is a great promotion for human well-being, given its convenient mode of life and efficient way of working. This is so for Kenyan cities, Nairobi included. However, concerns are emerging from residents and scientists that the unprecedented development of cities has caused a range of environmental problems and exerts huge pressure on natural ecosystems that we rely on (UNEP, 2016; Asian Coalition for Housing Rights 2004; Muthama, 2019a). Several parts of Kenyan cities continue to experience overwhelming solid waste challenges and air pollution impacts among other environmental concerns. The 2017 Kenya Economic Survey estimated that 19.9 million Kenyans, representing 38.3% of the population, suffered from respiratory ailments that are exacerbated by poor air quality. The 2019 Kenya Economic Survey estimated that 21.8 million Kenyan, representing 39.3% of Kenyans, suffered from the respiratory ailment, indicating a 1% increase of the ailments at the national level. This is a pointer that the air pollution problem may be increasing.
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    COVID-19 Impacts on Water Burden among Households in Turkana
    (University of Nairobi, 2021-01) Ong'ech, Denis; Olago, Daniel; Dulo, Simeon; Opondo, Maggie; Ouma, Gilbert; Mumma, Albert; Hope, Robert; Charles, Katrina
    Following confirmation of the first case of the novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in Kenya in March 2020, the Government issued an advisory in ensuring high standards of hygiene through regular handwashing using soap and water. A national protocol on COVID- 19 was launched, which among others, underscored handwashing and high levels of hygiene maintenance. These required an increased household water demand that caused elevated household water bills, leaving poor households vulnerable to water insecurity. The pandemic has severely modified the patterns and behaviour of the economy of water (Vammen and Guillen, 2020). Water service providers (WSPs) have also been adversely affected. The Lodwar Water and Sanitation Company (LOWASCO), for instance, finds it hard to effectively supply clean water due to decreased revenues from non-payment (LOWASCO official, pers. comm.). With the government's directive that WSPs should not disconnect water supply for 3 months (March-May 2020) including households in default, WSPs faced challenges in meeting some of their operational costs such as power bills and staff wages (Senkwe and Gakubia, 2020). The directive is far from adequate, largely temporary, and unsustainable (Senkwe and Gakubia, 2020).
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    Investment in Technologies: Key Strategy for Postharvest Loss Reduction
    (University of Nairobi, 2020-01) Mujuka, Esther; Ambuko, Jane; Mburu, John; Ogutu, Ackello
    Historically, horticultural research has focused on increasing productivity. However, given the inelasticity of scarce resources, there is a consensus that the focus should shift to PHL reduction. The high postharvest losses occur due to poor postharvest handling, lack of storage technologies, lack of processing facilities, and poor market access. Developing cold chains is critical in PHL. reduction in horticulture. However, conventional cold storage facilities required for proper cold chains are expensive and not applicable in most rural areas due to lack of electricity. Most households (>80%) in rural Kenya have no access to electricity making it untenable and costly to invest in cold storage facilities (GoK, 2008; Shitanda et al., 2011). Consequently, the lack of cold storage facilities to aggregate the perishable produce and negotiate for better prices predisposes the smallholders to exploitation by middlemen. Globally, applicable off-grid cold storage and processing technologies exist. However, their adoption in Kenya is limited due to a lack of awareness and demonstrated benefits. It is against this background, that the University of Nairobi’s postharvest project, with support from the Rockefeller Foundation’s YieldWise Initiative, sought to upgrade two fruit aggregation centres. Low-cost technologies including zero-energy brick coolers, evaporative charcoal coolers, and tunnel solar dryers were provided to create awareness and demonstrate their practical application. However, little is known about their economic impact in Kenya, hence this study.
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    Impact of COVID-19 on Tourism in Kenya: Strategies for Recovery
    (University of Nairobi, 2021-01) Ondicho, Tom
    Many tourists have cancelled their trips to Kenya in response to global travel restrictions due to COVID-19. Plummeting demand has triggered a crisis that is being felt throughout the entire tourism ecosystem. Most tourist activities and businesses have been closed, and others are operating at a lower level, resulting in massive revenue and job losses. Whilst tourism has proven to be resilient to shocks, including terrorism, violence, natural disasters, economic recession, and pandemics, none of the disruptive events has ever had such a phenomenal impact on the world’s economy, especially the tourism economy as COVID-19 (UNWTO, 2020). The impact of COVID-19 will most likely last longer, rendering the future bleak, and the road to recovery is uncertain, but much will depend on appropriate policy stimulus to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 and kickstart a rebirth of Kenya's tourism industry.
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    Role of Financial Capabilities in Harnessing Digital Mobile Payments for Enterprise Success
    (University of Nairobi, 2020-05) Muraya, Grace; Upadhyaya, Radha
    In Kenya, Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) are key engines for growth, creation of employment, innovation, industrial development and GDP growth. The 2016 Kenya National Bureau of Statistics data indicates that this sector accounted for 45 per cent of the establishments and 85 per cent of employment (KNBS, 2016). Despite their great importance, the sector has experienced many challenges, one of them being the exclusion, in terms of access and use, of formal financial products. Financial capability, the theory in which this study is anchored, proposes that an MSE must have the opportunity to access suitable quality financial products (Storchi and Johnson, 2106). However, it emphasizes that the performance of the MSEs and, in turn, the well-being of the entrepreneur hinges on the financial capabilities of the entrepreneur to embed the use of financial products. We examine two aspects of financial capabilities in this study: financial literacy and financial behaviour.
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    Revisiting Kenya’s Ban on Plastic Carrier Bags
    (University of Nairobi, 2020-05) Geoffrey, Elmah; Mutune, Jane
    Plastic waste is one of Nairobi’s and, to a greater extent, Kenya’s most visible environmental problems, with most of the flooding witnessed in cities attributed to plastic waste that clogs drainage systems; key among them are plastic carrier bags. These are lightweight, non-biodegradable materials that take ages to decompose. They reduce the aesthetic value of both the natural and physical environment and have since proven to have negative impacts on marine life, livestock and human beings. It is estimated that in their lifetime, livestock ingests an average of 2.5 kgs of plastics, and this has been attributed to losses in the meat industry. Kenya introduced the ban through Gazette notice No. 2356 in 2017. At the time of introduction, about 1 million plastic bags were consumed annually in supermarkets alone. Nairobi City County generates over 2,400 tonnes of waste daily and has alluded to its inability to manage the waste, which mostly consists of food and plastics. Half the waste goes to the Dandora dumpsite, while the remaining waste is either illegally dumped or left uncollected.
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    Replenish Millions of Kenyan Household’s Granaries Through Forest Restoration
    (University of Nairobi, 2020-05) Mutune, Jane
    Forest degradation has also triggered the scarcity of resources and resulted in conflicts between government and Community Forest Associations (CFAs). Recent conflicts have been witnessed at the Maasai Mau, Cheregani and Mt. Elgon forests. Further, forest destruction precariously exposes women and girls as they walk long distances to fetch fuelwood. About 82 per cent of households use fuelwood for cooking and 1.2 per cent for lighting (KIHBSP, 2017). However, Kenya is only able to meet about 70 per cent of this demand through sustainable domestic supply. The annual deficit of 12 million cubic meters is met by formal and informal imports plus unsustainable extraction from natural forests (KIHBSP, 2017). The situation can be reversed through forest restoration and meaningful involvement of the CFAs in forest co-management.