SymbioCity Kenya, an urban development initiative anchored within Council of Governors, kicked off the year with an intensive planning week in Stockholm, Sweden.

The SymbioCity team spent a week in Sweden formulating the processes and modes of expenditure needed to implement projects in the Pilot towns.

2018 sees the start of the final phase of the programme, implementing sustainable solutions to urban development issues in seven pilot Counties.

“Kenyan law encourages at least 20 % of the procurement budget in a County to be allocated to suppliers in that County. It also reserves 30 % of the budget to less advantaged suppliers – women, youth, and persons with disabilities,” said Jerry Muma, Procurement Assistant at CoG. “Through such provisions, SymbioCity is able to encourage community participation.”

Urban development specialists from Kenya, Sweden and beyond planning project implementation.

The programme is a partnership between the Council of Governors, its sister organisation, the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR), and a number of Kenyan Counties.

One of the objectives of SymbioCity Kenya is to build the capacity of urban practitioners and administration at the County level.

“At the same time we are also building the capacity of Council of Governors, by testing our own systems for releasing funds,” said Nicodemus Mbwika, who manages the programme at CoG.

In collaboration with selected Counties, SymbioCity Kenya is developing participatory and holistic ways of identifying and tackling urban challenges. The seven pilots are in Butere, Kakamega; Njoro, Nakuru; Kwa Vonza, Kitui; Ahero, Kisumu; Ontulili, Meru; Mbita, Homa Bay; and Kiminini, Trans Nzoia.

“In Ahero the project will tidy up the river basin area. I used to swim there as a child so I am curious to see what the initiative will bring,” said Jerry Muma.

The planning meeting took place in SALAR’s offices in Stockholm, Sweden on January 9-17th 2018. Participants included the SymbioCity Kenya Secretariat, staff from CoG and SALAR’s subsidiary SKL International, and international urban sector experts.

A version of this article was first published on Council of Governors’ website.