Busia, located between Kenya and Uganda, is a town fronting one of the busiest borders in East Africa. The Busia One Stop Border Post (OSBP) was officially launched nine months ago with the aim of facilitating the efficient movement of persons and goods. In line with this objective, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, together with the Kenya Border Management Secretariat (BMS) successfully ran a training programme for 20 frontline officials (2 females, 18 males), on 19-21 November 2018. A call was made at the training to strengthen coordinated border management among different agencies to prevent human trafficking and migrant smuggling along the Kenya-Uganda border.
The training was part of the Better Migration Management (BMM) programme, a regional, multi-year and multi-partner programme funded by the EU Trust Fund for Africa and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), coordinated by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). IOM is one of the main implementing partners alongside UNODC, GIZ, Expertise France, Italian Department of Public Security, CIVIPOL and the British Council. Apart from Kenya, BMM also covers Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda and in close coordination with the EU Delegation South Sudan. Institutions represented at the Busia training included the Customs Department, the Ministry of Health, the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS), the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), the National Police Service and officials from the State Department of Immigration with representatives from Bungoma, Busia, Lwandanyi, Lwakhaha – another border crossing between Kenya and Uganda border – as well as Malaba, Sio-port and Suam.
Topics included in the training were the conceptualization of coordinated border management, irregular migration, building effective teams at the borders, crossborder goods movement and the concealment of contraband. Additionally, community engagement on terrorism and migration management, integrity and border management, along with similar issues faced at ports of entry and exit. Mr. Fredrick Ayieko, Deputy County Commissioner, Busia County, who officiated the training, cited that, “It is our responsibility to protect our borders, maintain integrity and to ensure we have good customer relations. We must provide the necessary guidance to all our clients who pass through our borders."
During the closing session, Ms. Everlyne Walela, the participants’ nominated representative said, “Since the inception of the Border Management Committee trainings, the knowledge acquired has helped improve the government inter-agency efforts on coordinated border management. We are now operating and serving our customers in a more structured and professional way.” After the training, community engagement sessions were held in two locations in Busia County, to reinforce the importance of border communities in ensuring improved and coordinated border management. This was attended by 230 residents Busia (64 females, 166 males) and 250 in Lwakhaha (80 females, 170 males). The community engagements also involved leaders from Port Health, KEBS, KRA, KEPHIS, and State Department of Immigration, women leaders, officials from the boda–boda association, County representatives such as the County Deputy Speaker, and business people. The community engagement is part of the holistic approach to border management on countering human trafficking and smuggling of migrants in border communities.