The Shs.15 billion Kenya Youth Employment and Opportunities Project (KYEOP) has trained and placed 66,000 youths into employment opportunities.
KYEOP National Project Coordinator Augustine Mayabi said that in total 70,000 youth have been trained under the programme and a tracer’s study done two months ago discovered that out of the trained youths, 66,000 of them are already in either self-employment or are employed by their trainers.
Speaking Monday during the SemaNaSpox zoom discussion, Mayabi said that KYEOP is a World Bank funded project to a tune of Shs.15 billion but implemented by the Kenyan government. The project targets youth with low levels of education and are unemployed.
“The initiative is an affirmative project which targets youth whose level of education is up to form four and below focusing on those who have not gone to college or have no hope of going to one in the foreseeable future,” explained Mayabi.
He said that they implement the project in collaboration with other government agencies like the Micro and Small Enterprise Authority (MSEA), the National Industrial Training Authority (NITA) and the Ministry of labour who give them market information systems.
“For this particular project we are implementing it in 17 counties which are Kwale, Kilifi, Mombasa, Nairobi, Kitui, Machakos, Mandera, Wajir, Nyandarua, Kiambu, Nakuru, Migori, Kisii, Kisumu, Kakamega, Bungoma and Turkana,” he explained.
He said that the objective of the project is to increase employment opportunities and empower the youth to create their own businesses targeting youth between 18 and 29 years.
“The first component we offer is internship and training where we address the skills mismatch. We take the youth through a two weeks’ life skills training on issues of leadership, raising self-esteem and personal health. This is followed by another two weeks on core business skills training on entrepreneurships, spotting business ideas and opportunities,” he said.
Mayabi said that after the training they attach the youth to master craftsmen that is the masons, carpenters, beauty therapists, welders among others where they are attached for five weeks and after that they seat for an examination from NITA and they get a certificate to allow them to get the jobs.
“Because we know the youth have financial challenges of transport to the trainings and other needs like food and clothing; during the training we give them a stipend of Shs.6, 000 a month,” explained Mayabi.
He added that under KYEOP there are other youths who are taken to the formal training providers like Kenyatta University and technical institutions for two months in the classroom and another four months’ internships with the craftsmen in their fields of specialization.
“We also have a component of funding business start-ups where successful applicants are taken through and entrepreneurship aptitude test and for those who qualify they are given a grant of Shs.20, 000 and we monitor them for two months and if their business is growing, we give them another Shs.20, 000 making a total of Shs.40, 000,” explained Mayabi.
He said that they have another component called ‘Future Bora’ where there are social enterprises like NGO’s which deal with hard to serve youths like street families who are trained on how to run a business and they are given small grants to start their own businesses.
“A practical example is those people who are working in the dumpsites who we have been able to give the protective gears and give them some small funding to establish their own buy pack centers so that they can collect and sell recyclable waste. We have also established kindergartens in those areas so that their children can study as the parents work,” said Mayabi.
He added that there is also the Business plan competition which was launched by the president in 2020 and around 3,000 youth with innovative business ideas applied. 750 were identified for funding with 550 qualifying to get each Shs.900, 000 and 200 qualified to get Shs.3.6 million. Out of these, the 741 who qualified have been funded to a tune of Shs.1.3 billion shillings.
Government Spokesperson Col. (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna said that the idea of this project is that no one is left behind irrespective of their education background adding that there is something for each and every Kenyan youth.
“This ties with the government’s position that every child gets education and in case you do not get the opportunity to go to school there is an opportunity through KYEOP,” said Oguna.
The government spokesperson said that the project also covers those youths living with disability since there is a five percent allocation of this particular group of people.
By Joseph Ng’ang’a