Countrywide data collection exercise aimed to review hardship areas will kick off tomorrow 5th September 2021 according to Principal Secretary for Interior Services.
According to the PS the exercise will involve five teams each with representatives drawn from Ministry of Public Service and Gender, Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, Ministry of Education, The National Treasury and Planning, Public Service Commission, Teachers Service Commission, Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, Council of Governors, Commission on Revenue Allocation, Salaries and Remuneration Commission and The Judiciary.
Team 1 which comprises of 8 officers will visit Lamu, Kilifi and Kwale counties from 5th to 17th September 2021. According to the PS the team will also visit two additional areas of Chonyi in Kilifi county and Lungalunga in Kwale county with a view to include them in hardship areas.
Team 2 which comprises of 10 officers will visit Laikipia, Meru North (Nyambene), Tharaka Nithi (Tharaka, Marimanti) and Nyandarua (Nyahururu) from 5th to 17th September 2021.
Team 3 which comprises of 8 officers will visit West Pokot, Turkana, Elgeyo-Marakwet and Baringo.
This team will also visit four additional areas of Suba, Nyatike, Seme and Tinderet with a view to include them for hardship allowance payments.
This team will visit the said regions starting from 25th October to 5th November 2021.
Team 4 which comprises of 7 officers will visit Garissa, Wajir and Mandera counties from 25th October to 5th November 2021.
This team will also visit Kitui North (Mutha), Kitui South (Endau and Malalani), Kitui East and Mwingi North (Kaningo) and Kalama.
Team 5 which is the last team will visit Murang’a (Kakuzi, Maragua), Kiambu (Ndeiya) and Nakuru (Mbogoni and Makongeni) and Nyeri (Kieni).
Team 5 will visit the said regions from 25th October to 5th November 2021.
The exercise will be a second phase after the Technical Committee completed the first phase during the 2021/2021 financial year.
“The exercise is scheduled to start from 5th to 17th September, 2021 as outlined in the programme. The travel date to the field will be on 5th September, 2021 and return to Nairobi on 18th September, 2021,” read the circular.
The PS ordered County Directors of Education, Teachers Service Commission County Directors and Officers incharge of Kenya National Bureau of Statistics in County’s to assist the teams with valuable data and input towards achieving the objectives of the survey.
He asked them to provide Team 1 with two vehicles for ground transport upon arrival for by air to Lamu County.
According to the PS the Technical Committee undertook phase I of the exercise during the 2020/21 financial.
However, owing to financial constraints, phase II of the exercise could not be undertaken to finalize the exercise in the same year.
The Committee therefore intends to conclude the Country-wide data collection exercise in the current financial year and submit a report with recommendations to the Government for further action, he said.
Hardship allowance was introduced as an incentive to teachers and other public officers working in remote areas to compensate for lack of amenities, infrastructure and a challenging environment.
Some of the areas the Teachers Service Commission considers are those that lack access to food, adequate transport and communication, have limited access to social amenities as well as face harsh climate and insecurity.
Last year the World Bank asked Kenya to scrap hardship allowance to save Sh3 billion as part of cost-cutting measures to return the country on track after increased spending during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Bretton Woods institution argued that publci officers enjoying the hefty allowances work in areas categorized as hardship decades ago, but have since developed and no longer qualify for the tag.
“The review of hardship zones is needed as several regions have developed their infrastructure and social amenities over the last two decades and are no longer classified hardship areas,” the World Bank report on Kenya Public Expenditure Review reads.
In this exercise some regions will gain after getting listed as hardship areas while some will lose depending on the current factors.
TSC and three teachers unions which represented primary school teachers, post primary school teachers and teachers working in special schools agreed in a deal that led to signing of a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) 2021 – 2025.
In the agreement TSC together with Knut (Kenya National Union of Teachers), Kuppet (Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers) and Kusnet (Kenya Union of Special Need Education Teachers) eighteen areas were listed as the new official hardship areas.
The official ASAL and Hard to staff areas approved and included in the CBA are;
1) Baringo North; Tiaty East, Tiaty West and Marigat sub-counties in Baringo County.
2) Garissa County
3) Suba and Mbita sub-counties in Homa Bay County
4) Isiolo County
5) Mashuuru, Loitoktok and Kajiado West sub-counties in Kajiado County
6) Kwale County
7) Magarini and Ganze in Kilifi County
8) Lamu County
9) Mandera County
10) Marsabit County
11)Mumoni, Mutito North and Tseikuru sub-counties in Kitui County
12) Narok South and Narok North sub-counties in Narok County
13) Samburu County
14) Taita Taveta County
15) Tana River County
16) Turkana County
17) Wajir County
18) West Pokot County