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Jua Kali sector to benefit from Affordable Housing projects

The government’s Affordable Housing Programme, which is set to kick off in Kericho County, will tremendously strengthen the county’s economy through opportunities for the Jua Kali sector.

The project has been linked to the Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), such as suppliers of inputs including industrial building materials, doors, and windows.

In the Majengo-Talai area of Kericho Town lies the first development to be promoted by the National government under the Affordable Housing Agenda, which will see 320 houses constructed on 4.5-acre land.

The initiative, which is geared towards providing decent, safe, and affordable housing for Kenyans, will also create jobs, underscoring the transformative nature of the affordable housing programme.

In an interview with KNA, the County Enterprise Development Officer, Ms. Michelle Aburili, intimated that the Micro and Small Enterprises Authority (MSEA), Kericho Office, will start giving subcontracting opportunities to the Jua Kali artisans within the town to undertake various jobs in the upcoming Affordable Housing Project.

The County Enterprise Development Officer disclosed that Jua Kali artisans, specialising in welding, carpentry, plumbing, electrical wiring, steel doors, and window fabrication, have already been identified in readiness for the project.

She explained that once the project commences, the MSEA Kericho Office, alongside the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions, will undertake a skills assessment and identify skills gaps for further retraining and reskilling within the vicinity of the project.

“The housing project is expected to be a game changer not only for the households looking to purchase affordable housing units but also for MSMEs in Kericho’s Jua Kali sector, who will play a key role in the construction of the units,” said Aburili.

Meanwhile, John Otieno, a Kericho-based metal fabricator who spoke to KNA, welcomed the government’s Housing programme, saying for the five years he had been in the Jua Kali sector, the opportunity to supply creatively made steel doors would be a breakthrough that would lift him to another level financially.

“I am 27 years old, married with two children, and I would want my family to have a comfortable life, and this opportunity would enable me to accomplish that. I am ready for the opportunity,” Otieno remarked.

Joyline Chepkoech, a 38-year-old mother of three also in the Jua Kali sector as a sheet metal fabricator with experience in cutting, punching, bending, welding, and assembling since the year 2017 and earning an average of Sh 500 daily, hoped she would get an opportunity in the upcoming Housing project.

“I was taught all these skills by my husband, with whom we have been working together. We are facing a myriad of challenges, especially now that the economy is harsh and materials are very expensive, but we are still hustling to make ends meet. I would advise the jobless youth to acquire jua kali skills so that they do not miss out on opportunities like affordable housing projects,” added Chepkoech.

As the entrepreneurs in the Jua Kali Sector prepare to participate in the upcoming Affordable Housing Programme through their various skills, Aburili said, the MSEA was actively engaging them in capacity-building forums to equip them with essential knowledge such as financial literacy, marketing skills, and product development, among others.

The County Enterprise Development Officer added that the MSEA Kericho Office, in partnership with the Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) and the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), among others, trained the players in the Jua Kali Sector on issues such as the formalisation and registration of enterprises, product certification and quality assurance, and insurance policies, among others.

By Kibe Mburu and Sharon Chepkurui

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