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Utilize opportunities offered by gov’t, Oguna

Taking cognizant that the youth form 75 per cent of Kenya’s population and so have a critical role to play in development, the government has come up with deliberate programs and financial support for the youth without asking for any collateral.

Government spokesperson Col. (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna said that the youth who only have to be registered in a group have been able to access loans ranging from Sh.50, 000 to Sh500, 000 to empower themselves economically.

However, Col. Oguna decried the low uptake of loans among the youth and challenged them to change their attitude and fully utilize the available opportunities to boost their business enterprises.

Oguna was addressing the media shortly after presiding over an affirmative action workshop at Mama Grace Onyango Social centre in Kisumu.

He added that ‘The Future Bora Initiative’ which is aimed at reducing the obstacles the youth face while seeking employment or starting income generating opportunities has established the Youth Enterprises Development Fund (YEDF).

YEDF, he added had so far  equipped the youth with essential training and  internship besides giving them business grants to the tune of Sh. 3.57 billion.

He pointed out that under Kazi Mtaani initiative the youth were able to earn daily income through casual work until the program was interrupted by COVID-19.

Oguna said under the programme, 31,689 youths benefitted adding the programmes key activities included street cleaning, fumigation and or disinfection, garbage collection, bush cleaning and opening up clogged drainages.

“The successful role out of Phase I of Kazi Mtaani culminated in the program being expanded in the financial year 2020/2021 with over 280,000 youths recruited from across the country for the phase 2 countrywide”, explained Col. Oguna.

He said Phase III of the program that was allocated Sh10 billion is set to kick off in February, 2022. He added that 900 informal settlements across the 47 counties would be covered under this phase.

Oguna said this phase was different considering that applications are done online through the Kazi Mtaani management portal as opposed to the former which was manual.

The program, he added will run through to the end of June 2022 with 250,000 youths targeted to benefit.

He said Youth Empowerment Centers (YEC) have also been established to offer young people a one stop shop for training ICT, counselling, community mobilization and networking besides promoting and nurturing youth talents.

Oguna revealed that so far 155 YECs are operational across the country after 21 YECs were refurbished and operationalized in 2018/2019 Financial Year at a cost of Sh50 million.

“Subsequently, 12 million youths are already working in digital and digitally enabled jobs. This follows the training of 109,077 youths so far.”

By Joseph Ouma and Joseph Oieno

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