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NGO out to boost Meru youth through the creation of job opportunities and skills training

Community Road Empowerment (CORE-Kenya), a non-governmental organisation in collaboration with the Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF), through the funding of the World Bank, is working to boost the status of Meru youth through the creation of job opportunities as well as skills development for self-reliance.

The project mainly focuses on young people from the underserved communities of Gitimbine, Mjini and Majengo who are improving 26 kilometres of access roads connecting the 23 kilometres of existing Eastern and Western bypasses.

According to the project manager, Ms Yuka Iwamura, the project’s first component entails capacity building and sustainability of labour-based road maintenance technology in the targeted communities.

The other components are the enhancement of livelihood opportunities, effective project and knowledge management, and monitoring and evaluation.

“We are not only aiming at improving the road network but also the creation of job opportunities for young people.”

“We are also targeting the creation of self-reliance in the community and we want to give confidence to the community that they can do it on their own,” said Iwamura.

She said all the feeder roads will be rehabilitated through a labour-based technology known as ‘Do Nou’ technology.

Do Nou technology means using gunny bags with materials to improve sections of roads that are in dire need of repair or have been rendered impassable.

The focus of rehabilitating the access roads, she added, is to avert a situation whereby people living in underserved areas can’t get access to the roads as they go to their schools, hospitals, and markets, among other areas of interest.

“We want to revitalise the community by teaching them how to make their roads and we are targeting beneficiaries of about 1,250 people having 25 people for each of the 50 groups,” said Ms Iwamura.

She said they have already done the first-year Do-nou construction training programme and have already repaired 10 kilometres of road using the technology.

She added that they are currently training 375 people in Gitimbine for the second year where they are targeting to have eight kilometres of access roads rehabilitated.

“We usually give our trainees 40 days of on-the-job training so that community members get to know how camber is made, dig drainage, and other skills that they will be using in future to rehabilitate their roads in the community,” said Iwamura.

She said the good thing about the training is that they don’t abandon their trainees after the 40 days but try to boost their social and economic status by encouraging and supporting them to form companies and small micro-enterprises (SMEs) and registering them through the Huduma centres.

“After they are certified and registered with the National Construction Authority (NCA), they can then start tendering for road construction and utilise the skills they have learned to build roads in their communities,” said Iwamura.

By Dickson Mwiti

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