Jua Kali Association members have been asked to optimally utilize their skills and available machinery to improve the quality of their products to meet demands of consumers.
According to Micro and Small Enterprises Authority (MSEA) CEO, Henry Rithaa, MSEA is in partnership with Government agencies and the private sector to bridge skills and financing gaps to further empower the sector.
Speaking during the official handing over of work tools and kits for welding, woodwork and carwash services to over 220 Jua kali artisans in Limuru, Kiambu County, the CEO noted that MSEA is promoting manufacturing through supporting constituency level value addition through MSEA infrastructure development as an employment creation strategy.
The artisans who are members of Kamirithu and Githunguri areas and have registered with the Registrar of Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) benefited with donations that included woodwork routers, welding machines, vehicle diagnostic and electrical tool kits that will be used by mechanics, electricians, welders, plumbers and carpenters.
Rithaa said that by standardizing the design and production of these items, they will be able to use Jua Kali manufacturers across the country and provide them with new income generation opportunities.
CEO Kenya National Federation of Juakali Associations Mr. Richard Muteti, welcomed the initiative and encouraged the artisans to work within their associations to access procurement opportunities for their growth.
“Skilled labour and self-employment are the way to spur entrepreneurship among young people and inculcate good production practices for made in Kenya products to enlarge market opportunities,’’ he noted.
MSEA in partnership with the Ministry of Trade, Industrialization and Enterprise Development was conducting training for the association members on standardization, registration of trademarks and compliance.
This training under Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) and Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) will further promote industrialization across the constituencies.
MSEA has operationalized over 170 Constituency Industrial Development Centers (CIDCs) across the country which are model manufacturing centers riding on common user production concept.
The Authority is implementing a product development programme dubbed ‘One Constituency One Product,’ with the first phase of the programme targeting specific products produced within the newly refurbished CIDCs.
The authority is identifying locally available resources and materials in each constituency which can be value added for greater economic benefits and after that be marketed both locally and internationally.
The informal sector has the greatest potential to enable the realization of the Vision 2030 agenda and economic growth as critical players in the manufacturing, agribusiness, trade and services sectors.
According to MSEA, the project represents their desire to support MSEs and create innovative solutions for self-employment while also addressing the existing gap in the required standards and compliance.
By Wangari Ndirangu