Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya has graced a colourful graduation ceremony of 136 students who studied various courses under the GoBlue Technical Training Program at the Ukunda Vocational Training Center.
The program is aimed at equipping Kwale County youths with the right skills to venture into the Blue Economy sector that encompasses fisheries, maritime biotechnology, aquaculture, tourism and marine transport and logistics.
The youths who graduated undertook maritime security, tourism and hospitality and vessel (Boat) repair and maintenance courses.
The Governor called on young people to acquire relevant skills to take up careers in the fast-growing maritime industry.
The GoBlue Technical Training Program is funded by the European Union and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) through Jumuiya Ya Kaunti za Pwani.
The GoBlue Project is a joint initiative to advance the Blue- Economy agenda across all six coastal counties of Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Lamu, Taita Taveta and Tana River, with the support of the European Union (EU).
The project aims to harness important coastal and marine resources to achieve a sustainable blue- economy and bring jobs to over 3,000 youth.
Mvurya said the blue- economy is a conduit to the local economic take-off in the coastal county.
The County Boss said with the proposed Shimoni Fishing Port project ready for ground-breaking in April this year and the construction of the Blue-Economy College at Chitsakamatsa -Kombani, which will serve East and Central Africa is ripe for economic growth.
“We envision enormous development in this blue economy sector which is the next frontier for economic development,” he said.
He went on, ‘as a county we started preparing the youth for the opportunities presented by the blue economy sector with the 1st batch of 136 graduands of the Go blue component of Skills development (TVET) matching and value chain development at Ukunda Vocational Training center the sky is the limit.’
The graduates have received their certificates and business start-up tools ready to venture into the Blue Economy market.
Mvurya said the blue- economy development and growth is of great potential to the economy of the county and social development of the people.
“I want to extend my gratitude to the donors of the Project, EU and GIZ together with the Ukunda vocational training institute’s management for the commendable job,” he said.
The other component of the project which is the GoBlue Environment enables the country’s transition to sustainable, resilient and equitable blue economies across the six counties.
In addition, the go blue environment component involves the formation of holistic policies and management that underpin thriving coastal communities and healthy and productive marine ecosystems for present and future generations.
GoBlue Security aims at creating a safe and secure Kenyan maritime territory which is key to further developing and expanding a sustainable thriving blue-economy, while improving the lives and livelihoods of the coastal communities through new income-generating activities and opportunities.
By Raymond Zaka and Hussein Abdullahi