”Our feets are burning. It´s unbearable.” says Stacy Otieno, Environmental Officer in Homa Bay County, Kenya.

Homa Bay County is one of the kenyan counties ”kissing” Lake Victoria, and who partners with Region Västerbotten and Umeå Municipality working for health and reslience in relation to climate change and environment. The other counties are Kisumu County (who are the county who signed the agreement for partnership with Region Västerbotten and Umeå Municipality), Migori County, Siaya County and Busia County.

Me and and representatives for Center for Rural Medicine (a research and development unit within Region Västerbotten) has just come back from a fact-finding mission, carried out March 5th-10th 2023, where we were able to meet the executives from all counties, the Swedish Ambassador for Sweden and representatives for WHO and UN-habitat. We have also been able to do several study visits for conversations with people on the sub-county, ward and village levels, as well as having workshops with the technical teams who are members of this partnership.

The impact of climate change and environmental degradation is tremendous, and these changes also come on top of all other problems that already exists in this region. However, we have also met people with indepth understanding of these challenges and who are willing to engage in partnerships and cross-sectoral, cross-county, cross-country collaboration together with development partners.

All of us truly appreciate the funding from Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy (ICLD) since this support will enhance our ability to establish a strategic platform for the partnership and for innovations.

Now, when we have arrived back home in Sweden, we will analyze and compile our findings, for us being able to take the next step in the project and to plan for a program in Västerbotten, Sweden June 2023. We will do our best to do a tailor-made program for our partners.

The photo is of Stacy Otieno, taken by Ingvar Rönnbäck, ADEP.

I am contracted by Center for Rural Medicine to assist as a senior advisor, coordinator and project manager.