Youth enrolled in the National Hygiene Programme dubbed Kazi Mtaani in Kajiado County have been urged to form and register groups to enable them access government loans and tenders.
County Director of Youth Bernard Momanyi said many youth were missing out on government funds that have been set aside for them as they do not meet the required qualifications like being in a registered group.
Speaking in Kajiado Tuesday during a training session with the cohorts, Momanyi revealed that to qualify for a loan with the Youth Fund, one must be in a registered group from which they could come up with business proposals that they would use to seek government funding.
“I want to urge all youth to form self -help groups and register them so that you can have access to government funds and tenders set aside for youth, women and people living with disabilities,” advised Momanyi.
He noted that Uwezo, Youth and Women Enterprise funds are awarded to groups and not individuals to promote businesses and enterprises at the constituency level.
The director added that the loans were only granted at the constituency level, which makes it easy for youths in marginalized areas to access and apply for the funds from their various constituency offices.
Noting that many youth had been heavily affected by job cuts occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic, Momanyi urged them to take advantage of the government funds and mentorship programmes to boost their businesses and empower themselves economically.
He further called on the youth to embrace a culture of saving so that they could have capital to venture into small-scale businesses once the six-month programme is over.
“Set aside at least Sh 200 out of the Sh 450 that you earn daily as savings and when the programme ends in six months, you will have some capital to set up small-scale businesses which will enable you to continue being financially independent,” said the Director.
Momanyi said many youth were missing out on Access to Government Opportunities (AGPO), a programme initiated by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2016 that facilitates youth, women and Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) to participate in government procurement.
He said the government is committed to giving the youth opportunities for business and growth and over a period of the next six months, they would be trained on entrepreneurship, life skills and how to access government loans.
“Many youth do not know what AGPO is, hence they miss out on government tenders allocated to them. Those who know, think bidding for government tenders is costly, long and laborious thus keep off. We have embarked on sensitization to ensure that they do not miss out on these opportunities,” he said.
Apart from entrepreneurship, the capacity building forums will also equip the cohorts with technical skills such as carpentry, masonry, welding among others. They will also be counselled on emerging social issues such as drugs and substance abuse and teenage pregnancies.
Jane Naserian, one of the youth enrolled in the Kazi Mtaani programme in Ngong, said she has benefitted immensely from the entrepreneurship training sessions and together with her friends, they have formed a group and embarked on registering it so that they could access youth funds.
“I have learnt a lot from the training and we have even formed a group with my friends which we will register so that we can easily access youth funds and the 30 per cent of government tenders allocated to youth, women and people living with disabilities,” said Naserian.
Bernard Kinuthia, a resident of Majengo slums in Kajiado, reiterated Naserian’s remarks adding that the capacity building sessions were very timely as he had gained knowledge on how to save money and invest in small-scale businesses.
Kinuthia said he had also learnt a few technical skills such as masonry and gardening and these would enable him to get a job or even start his own business once the Kazi Mtaani programme ends in the next six months.
President Uhuru Kenyatta in April this year launched the first phase of Kazi Mtaani NHP programme which targeted youth from informal settlements from eight counties.
The social protection exercise was first rolled out in slums in Kiambu, Nairobi, Mombasa, Kwale, Nakuru, Mandera, Kilifi and Kisumu which were identified as coronavirus hotspots.
The second phase which was rolled out in all the 47 counties in July will see more than 250,000 youth benefit from the Sh10 billion exercise. Those engaged in the exercise have been tasked with garbage collection, planting of trees, fumigation of public places, clearing bushes and unblocking of sewerage lines among other social work.
A total of 8,500 youth from informal settlements in Kajiado County have benefitted from the programme aimed at creating jobs for the youth and cushioning them from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
By Rop Janet