Unemployment rates are soaring by the day and many youths are finding it hard to secure formal employment thus turning to different job sources to get income regardless of their education level they attained.
This has been the case for two graduates in Kajiado County who found a source of livelihood through the Kazi Mtaani program though they hold degree credentials from the university.
Cynthia Pirianoi, is a law graduate from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa but has not been able to find stable employment in the formal sector since she graduated in 2016.
“I have been working in two law firms before in Loitoktok and in Kajiado but only secretarial services as I am yet to join the Kenya School of Law which is mandatory before I can practice law,” narrates Pirianoi.
The law firm, however, would close shop following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and Pirianoi was left jobless again and had to look for work elsewhere.
She managed to get contracts from several companies that would last for two weeks or a month and the deal would end.
Pirianoi, however, stumbled into the Kazi Mtaani advert and applied for the job without fully knowing what it entails.
“I was called for the interview and told that since I am a degree holder, I will be a supervisor for the rest of the cohorts. I am glad that I got an opportunity to serve my country as well as cater for my bills through the Kazi Mtaani Programme,” says a delighted Pirianoi.
The Programme has also ensured that she is not idle and has gained a lot of skills on how to relate with the various youths that work together with her.
She, however, encounters challenges while working in the programme.
“I usually come across clients from the two firms that I worked with and they get puzzled when they find me in the field. They ask what a wakili is doing there which tends to lower my self-esteem but in as much as I am a law graduate, I have to do what is morally right to foot my bills and put food on the table,” says Pirianoi
Her parents also urge her to find something worthwhile to do as she is not supposed to be doing such an ‘odd’ job.
Pirianoi is actively searching for employment that is related to her degree and she is looking forward to joining the Kenya School of Law once she gets enough funds for the fee.
Pirianoi’s narrative is no difference with that of Robert Eliabu Zakana.
Eliabu graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health from Kenyatta University in the year 2018 but he is yet to get any formal employment.
“I worked as an attaché and volunteer at the Ministry of Health as a Public Health Officer in 2019, but I have never secured any job despite sending many job applications to various companies and institutions,” says Eliabu
After the internship period ended, Eliabu resorted to doing odd jobs so as to cater for his needs. It was while on those odd jobs that a friend informed him that youths were being hired in The District Commissioner’s Office and with no hesitation he rushed there.
When he presented his papers, they gave him a supervisor’s role to the youth who do clean ups in Kajiado town.
This has come up with a lot of benefits to Eliabu as he was able to open a mitumba business in Kajiado town which his mother helps him run while he is working on the programme.
“This opportunity was life changing for me as I was able to move out of my Mum’s house to my own as I am now able to cater for my needs as well as help mum financially when need arises,” says Eliabu.
Though he is grateful for the opportunity in kazi mtaani, Eliabu is actively searching for a formal job as he wants to put into practice what he had learnt in school.
The graduates are urging other youths who have not yet found employment to do whatever little they can to cater for their needs as long as it is decent.
They hold that it is not a must for one to be employed in the formal sector, one can do the best you can and God will open the right doors when the time comes.
The Kazi Mtaani programme aims at providing a form of social protection for workers whose prospects for daily or casual work has been disrupted by the containment protocol put in place to limit the spread of Covid-19.
By Diana Meneto