BMZ State Secretary Karin Kortmann visits Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi

from Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit
Published on 03 Apr 2006
Karin Kortmann, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), undertook a five-day fact-finding mission at the end of March that took her to GTZ projects in Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi. She travelled with a delegation of BMZ officials, SPD, CDU, FDP and Green members of the German Bundestag, and representatives of the press.

In Kenya, Ms Kortmann visited an emergency aid project in the north-east of the country, which is currently suffering from severe drought. After receiving an appeal for assistance from Kenya's government in January, BMZ and GTZ immediately set about establishing the required framework for the emergency aid project in the Wajir district. Just four weeks after the contract was awarded, the State Secretary and the German delegation were able to view the initial results of GTZ's activities.

The population can now draw safe drinking water for themselves and their livestock from a number of wells that have been deepened and stabilised. A newly equipped health centre has been in operation for two weeks, providing basic medical care for a region of around 1,000 square kilometres. In the only hospital in the district, the completely collapsed water supply has now been restored. A new nutrition centre on the hospital's premises now provides therapeutic feeding support to children suffering from severe malnutrition - a joint venture between GTZ and the British NGO Merlin.

The State Secretary congratulated GTZ on its exemplary, rapid and successful work, emphasising at the same time that success was not solely due to unbureaucratic preparation by all involved parties. A major contributory factor was the use of ongoing bilateral programmes that enabled links to be established very rapidly with the relevant public structures. Without this, it would have been difficult to ensure the sustainability of the measures.

Ms Kortmann then travelled on to Rwanda where she visited a youth centre and discussed various issues, including the freedom of the press. With the aim of strengthening the country's new democratic structures, GTZ is addressing this theme as part of its youth work undertaken together with Ziviler Friedensdienst (Civil Peace Service).

In Burundi, State Secretary Kortmann gained an insight into BMZ's peace-building activities.