Hundreds of children of Sirende Primary school and other residents can now safely access their institution in Siboti Ward, Bumula Sub-County in Bungoma County after a rickety bridge was replaced, through construction of a new, stable one. The bridge at Sirende on Kisawayi River has been posing danger to residents, especially to pupils going to school. In addition, completion of five kilometres Sango – Letima road has eased transport for residents.
A Netima Location chief’s report indicates that two children and one elderly person fell into the river and the latter lost his life in January 2018. The construction of the bridge was undertaken after Enjelesia Namilama Women group on behalf of residents of Kisawayi village in Siboti Ward successfully petitioned both the office of the Member of County Assembly (MCA) and ward Administrator over the poor state of St. Monica Sango road, and resultantly inaccessibility, especially during the rainy season. The group had been taken through quality sustained civic education (Module One and Two) under sustained civic education; on Chapter 4, under the Bill of Rights. Enjelesia Women Group consisting of 25 members was trained in January 2018 by Rural Empowerment Development Organisation (REDO)’s civic educator, Mrs. Edith Nyongesa in Siboti Ward.
The residents presented a memorandum to the County Department of Roads and Public Works through the office of the Ward Administration in February 2018, seeking completion of Sango – Letima road and the bridge over Toloso River, which had stalled for over a year. Residents could not access Malakisi Market as part of the bridge had been washed away and only a section of it was accessible. Pupils were unable to access schools due to the poor state of the road and the collapsed bridge. This exposed those crossing the bridge to danger of falling into the river.
In the 2016/17 Financial Year, Sh3.9 million (US$39, 000) was allocated for the road, but the contractor had been paid Sh2.7 million (US$ 27, 000), then abandoned the project. After the completion of the bridge in May 2018, school children and other residents can safely cross the bridge.
Residents are happy after the completion of bridge and the road, as they can now easily move from one place to another.
“During the rainy season, we could not access villages like Napara, St. Monica, Kisawayi, Bisuche, and Lukhuna because of the poor state of the bridge,” said Maurice Namukongo, a resident of Sango Namilam Village.
Another resident, Pamela Wasilwa, said completion of bridge has made it safe for children to travel to school, daily. “Now children go to school without being accompanied by parents, as this bridge has been completed. Now we do not have to go asround through Kimaeti road to access our villages from Malakisi and Mukwa,” said an excited Ms Wasilwa, from Bisuche village.
Kisawai bridge in Siboti before construction
Construction work underway on the bridge after petition by the residents, with support of Enjelesia women CBO which is a beneficiary of REDO Kenya sustained civic education
Residents can now access Malakisi Market with ease and students and pupils can also access schools, even when there are floods during this rainy season as opposed to earlier when it was dangerous to use the bridge.