Kenya Youth Employment and Opportunities Project (KYEOP) has financially empowered over 5,000 youth in Kisumu County to start businesses and also secure gainful jobs.
KYEOP is a 5-year project run by the National Government and the World Bank. It has been helpful in sanctioning the youths to acquire various skills and obtain support for different businesses.
As the project now approaches its final phase, Kisumu is among the counties that benefitted immensely from the program. The beneficiaries are young people aged between 18-29 who have completed either primary or high school education.
The Acting Nyanza Regional Youth Coordinator, Joshua Kaluoch, has revealed that since its inception in 2017, the project has trained some 4,904 and issued grants to 5,082 youths to start a business. In addition, it has supported some 2,178 youth in boosting their businesses.
Kaluoch reported that KYEOP received over Sh200 million support from World Bank which was disbursed as grants to the beneficiaries. The youth received Sh40,000 dispatched in two tranches.
“Our youths are the few who were chanced among counties to benefit from the Sh15 billion project. With a cycle to go, many have been trained and equipped with skills leading to the creation of more employment opportunities,” he said.
Kaluoch added that the success rate of the project is at 80 per cent which is impressive, noting that the youth have been engaged hence increasing self-dependability.
The project has helped many rise from unemployed beggars used by politicians as puppets, to being respected people in the society.
Victor Odhiambo, a lecturer running a book publishing business, narrated to Kenya News Agency his journey as a KYEOP beneficiary.
He said, after completing his high school studies, he became a political sycophant in Kondele Estate in the Lakeside County.
“I was among the rowdy residents who were being used to cause chaos during election periods,’’ said Odhiambo.
It was then that a friend shared with him about KYEOP that prompted him to apply for the courses offered. He was absorbed and trained on graphic design. He further received a grant to start up his book publishing business.
He used the profits to enroll in a university and pursued his degree and masters in education.
“This project has greatly transformed my life. I am now a lecturer and have always encouraged the youths to be part of such programs,” he concluded.
Mercy Kinda, a resident in Nyando Sub- County, received a grant in the first cycle of the project that enabled her to start up a large-scale farm of rice and tomatoes.
The business succeeded as from the profits she made, she was able to own land and employ thirty people to work on her farm.
“I owned nothing, but with the aid of KYEOP, I can support myself and family financially,” Kinda said.
The project rolled out by the government, to reduce unemployment gap, KYEOP has enabled Kisumu County youth to secure opportunities in the job markets, terming it as a savior to the vulnerable low-income individuals.
Kaluoch urged the youth to take advantage of such chances when they arise, as they can be a major turning point in one’s life.
He reiterated that the youths are the spearhead in building the economy and so encouraged them to be at the forefront in the war against the Covid-19 pandemic.
By Lorene Awino and Janifer Awino