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Meru Youth groups receive tools and equipment for economic empowerment

In an effort to deter violent extremism through radicalisation, Meru County Engagement Forum (CEF) has embarked on an exercise to empower various youth groups economically through issuance of car washing machines as well as vertical vegetable grow bags.

The initiative is sponsored by Global Community Engagement Resilience Fund (GCERF) through the Act Change Transform (ACT) which is a Non-Governmental Organisation, with Caritas Meru being the lead Civil Society Organisation (CSO).

According to the County Director for Youth Affairs Joseph Maina who also doubles up as the economic pillar head in the CEF, the car washing machines as well as the grow bags will go a long way in generating income for the young people in their specific groups, thus empowering them economically.

“We know very well that terrorists or their sympathisers usually target young people who do not have any source of income in order to promise them the same but after they agree on some terms.”

“By issuing these machines and grow bags to our young people, we are keeping them busy and by the end of the day they will have something to take home,” said Mr Maina adding that the move will ensure they are not targets for radicalisation.

He cautioned the young people in the county to be vigilant on those coming with various offers adding that some of them were taking advantage of their unemployment or poverty to radicalise them.

Mr Anthony Muthuri an officer from Caritas said the issuance of the car washing machines to the young people was just an entry point to many engagements they can carry out with the groups to ensure that they are fully economically empowered.

“We want you to make good use of the grow bags and the car washing machines for your own benefit. Once we prove that you are using them as required, we will continue engaging and bring more interventions that can stabilise you financially,” said Mr Muthuri.

Mr Naftaly Mutembei, another officer from Caritas encouraged groups that received grow bags to use them to grow vegetables in order to get enough for their consumption and for sale.

He said the grow bags were the best for use especially in slums and dry lands as they don’t require huge space or a lot of water respectively.

“A single grow bag can accommodate more than 120 stems of any vegetable which can be consumed for a whole year. In terms of water, very little is required including that which has been used for various home chores,” said Mr Mutembei.

Mr Martin Mutethia from Kwa Nthambi car wash in Gitimbine, Meru town, expressed his gratitude to Caritas and other donors for collaborating with the County as well as the National government in the implementation of the initiative.

He said the car washing machine they received will help them to have more customers and make their work efficient translating to more income for the members.

Youth Groups that received the car washing machines include Kwa Nthambi, Wasafi, and Maua, while Kithoka Ushirika, Al Azizia, By Us For Us (BUFU), and Gatimbi Innovation received vertical vegetable grow bags.

By Dickson Mwiti

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