NAIROBI-The Finnish Ambassador to Kenya Ms Tarja Fernandez has expressed her government commitment to continue funding development programmes in the country in order to transform peoples’ lives.

Ms Fernadez said the prevailing political situation in the country will not stop Finland from carrying out her development objectives in Kenya.

Collaboration between our two countries will continue unabated despite the prevailing political situation being experienced in Kenya. And as such, we will work with both the national and county governments to promote good governance, Fernandez promised.

She added that her country was keen on making sure that women participated more in politics, apart from promoting food security.

The ambassador said through her country’s partnership with the Kenyan government, more women were elected to both county assembly and parliament in the last general election.

Although meeting the two-thirds gender rule is an uphill task, Kenya is currently doing better in affirmative action and democracy. We will continue supporting Kenya’s progress in democracy and the rule of law, she said.

The Finish envoy praised Kenya for being active in sustainable global development agenda.

Fernandez, however, insisted that time for dialogue between the government and the opposition was now ripe, so as to ensure the country moves forward in its development agenda.

She was speaking at the Taita-Taveta University during the official launch of the geospatial information system project funded by her government.

The ambassador was accompanied by out-going acting Vice-Chancellor Prof. Hamadi Boga, and Wundanyi MP Danson Mwashako, among other senior county and national government officials.

Ms Fernandez noted that adequate funding and education would enable the country to tackle the phenomenon of climate change.

Prof. Boga, who was recently nominated by President Uhuru Kenyatta as the Agriculture and Research Principal Secretary said the project, will build capacities for both teachers and students in geo-informatics, which aims at improving technological capacities of the university.

The project was initiated by the university, in collaboration with the University of Helsinki Finland to improve capacity, quality and access to geo-informatics teaching, research and daily application in the region.

It will also ensure that the university becomes a Regional Hub of geo-informatics and mapping to serve the training needs of different organisations in Kenya and also in northern Tanzania, where the demand for geospatial skills is high.

The professor expressed satisfaction that the programme will go a long way in improving research and teaching capacity of the teaching staff and postgraduates in geo-informatics at the learning institution.

Prof. Boga noted that the emphasis that is given to entrepreneurial skills will ensure that graduates from the programme are capable of establishing small and medium enterprises to serve local, regional and international clientele, and bring growth to the local economy and create employment for the youth.

Boga said by strengthening geo-informatics teaching, research and decision-making capacity in the university and other stakeholder organizations in the county, stakeholders would be in a better position of collecting and analyzing environmental and climatic data and disseminate their findings to various policymakers.

Based on this more accurate and relevant information, policymakers can make more informed decisions on regional planning, sustainable use of natural resources, adaption to climate change, preparedness for natural disasters and environmental protection, said the PS.

Mwashako said the knowledge-based programme will have a positive impact on the lives of the local community, which is grappling with persistent food and water shortages.

The local community is losing hope following massive crop failure. Seasonal rivers are drying up and the situation is becoming pathetic, noted the opposition legislator.

Acting Tourism County chief Officer Roda Mwashighadi said the programme would ensure sustainable utilization and management of natural resources that are available in the region.

As the county government, we are fully supporting the programme because we are convinced beyond reasonable doubt that it will ensure sustainable management of natural resources, she said.