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1,700 jobless Kitui youth benefit from Sh 16 million KYEOP grant

The Kenya Youth Employment and Opportunities Project (KYEOP) has injected Sh 16 million grant benefitting over 1,700 jobless youth in Kitui to start income generating activities amidst the Covid-19 economic hardship.

Speaking in Kitui on Friday, KYEOP National Project Coordinator Olivia Ouko said another set of 400 youth have been trained on starting up their businesses in the county and 414 master craftsmen.

Ouko noted that the project is tailored to prepare youth for acquisition of employability skills training and enhanced opportunities to bolster their survival in the Covid-19 pandemic and its resultant challenges.

Countrywide, the National Project Coordinator noted that more than 170,000 youth have applied for the highly impactful World Bank opportunities for training and jobs creation worth Sh 15 billion.

“This national government project meant to equip youth with skills and grants that would enable them secure employment and earn livelihoods to survive during the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said.

Ouko disclosed that the project is tailored to prepare youth for acquisition of employability skills training and enhanced opportunities to bolster their survival in the Covid-19 pandemic and its resultant challenges.

At the same time, she noted that plans are currently underway to resume cycle 4 which was suspended due to the pandemic.

“KYEOP officers have been conducting Master Craftsmen and Formal Training Providers assessment to gauge their preparedness for the resumption. Of key importance is their conforming to Ministry of Health Covid-19 safety measures,” said Ouko.

The National Coordinator said that the KYEOP project design adopted the apprenticeship model for training the youth where Master Craftsmen were contracted to take the youth through skills acquisition.

Each Master Craftsman is allocated a maximum of six  trainees for the five months Jobs Specific Skills Training.

 “Unlike other models where trainees converge to a central point for instruction, this model adopted by the project sees the youth reporting to their trainers and their limited numbers allow for easy conformity to the Ministry of Health Covid-19 safety measures,” said Ouko.

She said that the Government has launched a more intensified campaign to assess the preparedness in the 17 counties implementing the project namely Mombasa, Kilifi, Nairobi, Nakuru, Kiambu, Nyandarua, Mandera, Turkana, Wajir, Bungoma, Kakamega, Kwale, Kisumu, Kisii, Machakos, Kitui and Migori.

 “We are determined to ensure that the youth are well placed and adequately prepared  to start undergoing the training to be equipped with skills which will enable them to secure jobs to help them earn a living,” said Ouko.

The five-year project that ends next year targets youth between 18- 29 years with form four education level and below.

The project seeks to improve youth employability, support for job creation, improve labour market information and strengthen youth policy development.

So far, 32,124 youth have received training and internship in both the formal and informal sector out of which 75 % have secured employment according to a report from an independent research firm.

A further 9,951 business support beneficiaries have received grants of Sh. 40,000 each amounting to Sh 329,000,000 while 4,204 youth have received Business Development Services.

Raphael Kyalo, a KYEOP trainer, said that the money from the training has enabled him expand his business enterprise into a spacious environment to accommodate more youth enlisted in his salon.

Kyalo lamented that Covid-19 has slowed his business and the number of customers seeking services has reduced drastically.

“I have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the training was suspended in March and getting funds to cater for my rent is difficult,” he said.

Edna Kimanzi, whose husband was laid off when Covid-19 struck, said that KYEOP enabled her to acquire skills that enabled her support her family. 

Purity Mulandi, a master craftswoman, has trained several students in tailoring and the funding has benefitted her to expand her business and support her family.

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