The Ministry of Foreign Affairs conducted training for Nyanza region County officials on Policy Guidelines on International and Diplomatic Engagements. The five-day workshop was held from
October 25 – 29, 2021 at Kisumu County.
The workshop was officially opened by Kisumu County Governor, H.E Prof. Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o. Foreign Affairs Amb. Gathoga W. Chege, Director, Liaison Parliamentary and County Affairs Directorate, read the opening remarks on behalf of the Cabinet Secretary, Amb. Raychelle Omamo who was away attending other pressing official matters.
The training was attended by 22 officials from six Counties in Nyanza namely; Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay, Kisii, Migori and Nyamira and officials from selected Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
The training sought to situate the County Staff within the prevailing contextual framework of diplomacy, protocol and etiquette principles operating within the working environment for the county. This would ensure a well-informed County leadership on; Kenyan Foreign Policy, diaspora engagement, economic and environmental diplomacy, planning and organization of official functions among others even as they engage with the international community.
Professor Anyang’ Nyong’o said the training was significant and a game-changer that would go a long way to bridge capacity gaps within the County officials especially while handling of high-profile visitors.
“There have been capacity gaps, among County government employees especially on protocol issues, international travel policies, and diplomatic etiquette.” Prof. Nyong’o said.
He commended the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for rolling out the training which was of immense importance.
“It is well spelled out in The Fourth Schedule, paragraph32 that the national government must undertake Capacity Building and Technical Assistance to the Counties.”
He said the five days training also underscores the importance of cooperation between the two levels of the Government under the spirit of 48 governments, One Nation.
CS Amb Raychelle Omamo in a speech read on her behalf said the overall objective of the workshops was to equip County officials with skills that will enable them effectively engage in the course of their routine duties as well as in the event of interactions with the international community.
The training would also make them understand the link between Ministry of Foreign Affairs through its Directorate (Liaison, Parliamentary and County Affairs) and County Governments as well as provide an opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences.
“While hosting VIPs and VVIPs both domestic and international it is important to be observant of people’s culture, communication and time management. It is also important to understand Kenya’s international obligations including official communication and correspondence with Foreign Governments.” CS Omamo said.
She urged participants to always apply standard international protocol guidelines when engaging with Diplomatic Corps and other international and regional players as a basic in order to safeguard Kenya’s Image and Prestige.
She emphasized on the need for counties to involve diaspora in development agenda and issues on labour migration. This was echoed by Kisumu Governor who said he was keen on investments back home by Kenyans living in the diaspora. “It is in this regard that Kisumu will from 13th to 15th December hold an international Investment conference that targets both local and international investors.”
Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o called on the County officials during their travels abroad, to market their counties to the international community.
“I hope that at the end of this training our staff from both the Executive and County Assemblies will be equipped with the necessary information while traveling abroad and to train other county staff.”
Professor Anyang’ Nyong’o also informed on the upcoming Africities conference to be held in Kisumu in May 2022.
The Principal Secretary Amb. Macharia Kamau said the Ministry would conduct several trainings of County Officials on Policy Guidelines on International and Diplomatic Engagement.
He said the training and interaction between the county officials and Ministry of Foreign Affairs has provided a platform for coordination and consultations between the two levels as provided in the constitution.
The facilitators were drawn from the Foreign Affairs and Agencies. They included: Amb. Gathoga W. Chege, Amb. Isaiya Kabira, Ms. Alice Avedi, Amb. Frost Josiah, Amb. Philip Richard Owade, Ms. Harriet M. Nduma, Ms. Nasimiyu Wekesa, Ms. Elizabeth Owino of Kenya School of Government, Amb. Samuel M. Gitonga, and Mr. Vincent Omuse.