The Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs has rolled out cycle 5 of Kenya Youth Employment and Opportunities Project (KYEOP) that seeks to equip the youth with skills to secure self-employment and earn livelihoods.
Already, more than 170,000 youth have applied for training under a 15 billion shillings World Bank funded programme.
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs Julius Korir, while on a tour to assess the level of preparedness in Kisumu County, said under the cycle 5 of the programme, the Government has allocated 400 Million shillings to undertake training to successful candidates in the selected 17 counties before they are given grants to set up their businesses.
The project, he said, “is funded under the five-year Kenya Youth Employment and Opportunities Project (KYEOP) which is funded with USD150million (Kshs.15 Billion) credit from the International Development Association/World Bank.”
Korir said the Government has launched more intensified campaigns to assess the preparedness in the 17 counties implementing the project that include Mombasa, Kilifi, Nairobi, Nakuru, Kiambu, Nyandarua, Mandera, Turkana, Wajir, Bungoma, Kakamega, Kwale, Kisumu, Kisii, Machakos, Kitui and Migori.
“We are determined to ensure that the youth are well placed and adequately prepared to start undergoing the training to be equipped with skills which will enable them to secure jobs to help them earn a living,” said Youth Affairs Principal Secretary, Julius Korir.
The PS however, emphasized that the assessment will be based on the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 guidelines, adding that cycle 4 which was suspended due to outbreak of Covid-19 will soon resume.
The five-year project that ends next year targets youth between 18- 29 years with form four education level and below.
The project seeks to improve youth employability, support for job creation, improve Labour market information and strengthen youth policy development.
According the PS, so far 32,124 youth have received training and internship in both the formal and informal sector out of which 75 % have secured employment according to a report from an independent research firm.
“A further 9,951 business support beneficiaries have received grants of Sh40,000 each amounting to Sh329,000,000 while 4,204 youth have received Business Development Services,” added the PS.
He said under the project, a Business Plan Competition dubbed ‘MbeleNaBiz’ for high-potential job creators is currently ongoing.
“A total of 750 youth-owned enterprises will be financed through’ MbeleNaBiz ‘where 250 beneficiaries will each receive grants of Sh3.6 million. A further 500 beneficiaries will be awarded Sh900,000 each. This makes a total cost of Sh1.3 billion being the cumulative capital going to the youth as seed capital to support youth businesses in the entire country
A further 1,500 youth are being trained in the preparation of business plans under Business Development Support programme” he said.
The project is further implementing a special product, the FutureBora Innovation Challenge which is an initiative that will come up with high-impact interventions for creating economic opportunities for the “hard-to-serve” youth and funding them through business grants to the tune of Sh120,000,000. Both ‘MbeleNaBiz’ and ‘Future Bora’ cover eligible youth from all the 47 Counties.
KYEOP project design adopted the “apprenticeship “model for training the youth where Master Craftsmen have been contracted to take the youth through skills acquisition. Each Master Craftsman is allocated a maximum of six (6) trainees for the five (5) months Jobs Specific Skills Training. These beneficiaries will have gone through a one (1) month Life skills training prior to being allocated to Master Craftsmen.
Korir said the selection process for cycle 5 youth begins in earnest on 17th August 2020 and will be done through a computerized random selection upon which all successful applicants will be contacted for guidance on activities that will follow.
The PS was accompanied by CAS Youth Affairs Nadia Ahmed who urged youth to take advantage of the government grants and establish viable projects to make an income and Kisumu County Commissioner Susan Waweru
By George Kaiga