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young care leavers’ employability programme unveiled

The State Department for Youth Affairs and Art and the SOS Children’s Villages Kenya have unveiled a young care leavers’ employability programme.

The Youth on-demand Skills initiative dubbed “Vijana na Skillz,” funded by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), is being implemented in Mombasa and Uasin Gishu counties.

The project is in the pilot phase and will be upscaled in the next two years to benefit 2000 care leavers.

A Care leaver is anyone who has spent time in alternative care as a child, which could be foster care, institutional care, or other arrangements outside the immediate or extended family.

The Project has three thematic areas: Enabling policy environment to support care leavers; social protection systems to support care leavers; and helping care leavers claim their rights.

It will support young people that have grown up without parental care, between 18-30 years of age, with life skills, core business skills, and on-demand Vocational skills to help them penetrate the labour market.

The first Cohort targets a total of 43 young people admitted from across the six sub-counties in Mombasa and a total of 19 Master Craftsmen to engage them in on-the-job learning and foundational skill development focusing on pre-selected trades which will be examined by NITA after the end of the training period.

“We are focusing on the youths who have left care or those who are transitioning from care. We are focusing on employability skills for the youths,” said Miriam Musyoka, Programme Officer, SOS Children Village.

She added that youths at low levels in the community with skills but who do not have certification will be taken through a six-month training and will be certified by NITA for them to be recognized by the community and employers.

“In this case,” she said, “we are going to ensure the youths themselves have their self-esteem raised and they have the same documents which can be shared by different employers for them to be able to employ.”

Coast Regional Coordinator of Youth Affairs Charles Ayako said the programme was built in order to equip youths with skills and prepare them for the job market.

Youth Enterprise Development Fund Chairperson Fatma Barayan said they will partner with the programme to train the youth on entrepreneurship skills and assist them in accessing loans to establish businesses.

“We are going to nurture them to ensure they are in line with the Kenya Kwanza plan, we want them to maximize on opportunities in the Kenya Kwanza plans in housing and value addition chains,” said Barayan.

To increase uptake of the Youth Enterprise Development Fund, the Chairperson noted that plans are underway to develop a mobile application and introduce a shariah-compliant product.

“There is a lot of bureaucracy in the processes, and as a board, we have sat down, and that’s why we want to come up with an app that is going to be very easy. We are going to amend our policies so that they are quite reasonable for the youths and the uptake will be high,” revealed the Chairperson.

Brian Bii, Coordinator of Mombasa Youths for Change, said the initiative will increase the employability of youths, and they will also be able to start businesses.

By Sadik Hassan

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