The National Council for Population and Development with support from Population Reference Bureau (PRB) and Government of Kenya held a public Participation forum on the revision of the Population Policy for National Development in Kisumu County. The meeting brought together 60 Stakeholders drawn from both public (National and County Government Departments), Non-Governmental Organizations, Faith Based Organizations, Special Interest Groups, Boda Boda Association and Matatu owners Association with an aim of getting County specific population issues that affect Kisumu County.
The Assistant County Commissioner Mrs. Rose Nyakwara who was representing the County Commissioner presided over the function. In her Opening Remarks the county commissioner emphasised on the importance of developing policies that are county specific and address programmes and needs of the county population. She also expressed the need to review the strategies in place for addressing population challenges/issues and see if they have any impact to the community.
The deliberations focused on the five thematic areas addressed in the draft Population policy and were categorised into Population Health; fertility; Age structure; Migration & urbanization and Human settlement. The discussions involved participants giving challenges, opportunities, and solutions to the challenges and stating whether technology and innovation has been embraced in the specific issues raised in the thematic areas. Some of the challenges mentioned by the participants include: Teenage pregnancies, HIV/AIDs which has been over 15% for years, malaria, land issues which included land fragmentation, flooding, environmental pollution particularly Lake Victoria, border conflict, Gender Based Violence (GBV), unemployment, rapid urbanization and rising proportion of the urban poor. During the group discussions participants expressed the need for raising public awareness amongst the community for better understanding of population issues and mainstreaming the population policy/issues into the different National and County government departments.