Lions Club demonstrates faith in Kenya-Ethiopia cross-border peace program
Marsabit County Governor, H.E. Ambassador Ukur Yattani samples one of the motorcycles donated to Marsabit County by the Lions Club. Looking on are UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Siddharth Chatterjee (second right), Lions Club ambassador to the UN, Dr. Manilal Dodhia (right), District Governor Jiza Munir Chaudhri (face hidden), Former Lions Club International Director, Dr. Manoj Shah (left) and Mr. Babubhai Shah, a Lion Club member for 50 years (second left).
The Lions Club has confirmed that they will work with other partners to ensure that the Kenya-Ethiopia Cross-border Program for Sustainable Peace and Socio-economic Development succeeds. Speaking during a handover ceremony of a donation of five motorbikes to Marsabit County on 24 November, 2016, the Lions Club ambassador to the United Nations, Dr. Manilal Dodhia said, “We are very pleased to work with the County of Marsabit, because we believe that where there is peace, there is growth and opportunities for the people. We are therefore delighted for this partnership today and assure you that we will work in many areas, especially in education and health,”
The donation responds to the challenges the County Government and peace committees face due to the vastness of Marsabit County and logistical problems it poses to the coordination of peace initiatives. Covering an area of 70, 961 Square Kilometers, the county has experienced difficulties in implementing proposed peace building strategies and responding promptly to the outbreaks of conflicts.
When the UN Administrator, Ms. Helen Clark visited Moyale town on 24 August, 2016 and met with local community elders. They mentioned to her that lack of transport facilities and inadequate facilitation institutional support were mentioned as factors slowing down their efforts towards sustainable peace.
The Governor of Marsabit County, H.E. Ambassador Ukur Yattani, received the donation and noted that gesture was not only important but also “timely.” He said, “We appreciate this gift of the motorbikes, because it will enable the elders to access the region faster, and attend to the issues as they happen without worrying so much about the distance.”
The Kenya-Ethiopia Cross-border Program on Peace and Socio-economic Development is an initiative of the Kenyan and Ethiopian governments, Marsabit County Government (Kenya), Borana/ Liben Zones (Ethiopia), IGAD and the Kenyan and Ethiopian UN Country Teams.
Following the historic launch of the program on 7 December, 2015, it has gained recognition both regionally and globally. This recognition is particularly important as the objectives of the program require a huge amount of resources to implement the projects and strategies identified in the cross border region to bring about sustainable peace and transformative change. The UN has been at the forefront of identifying opportunities for partnerships and bringing together potential partners to invest in the region and support this innovative program.
During the handing over of the motorcycles, the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Siddharth Chatterjee stressed the need to pursue peace through what is probably the most promising sustainable peace and development initiative in the region ever. “Let us keep the momentum because if this program succeeds, it can be replicated in other parts of Africa in the next five years. And if we can fix some of the problems such as poverty, violent extremism and change it to gainful employment, we can transform the region to a Dubai of the future as stated by H.E. the President of Kenya during the launch of the program,” he said.