The National Hygiene Initiative dubbed ‘Kazi Mtaani’ has taken off with about 26, 000 youth recruited as cohorts in the informal settlements in various parts of Nairobi County.
The programme spearheaded by the State Department for Housing and Urban Development, under National Hygiene Programme (NHP) is geared towards integrating jobless Kenyan youth in undertaking urban hygiene and sanitation works across 23 informal settlements countrywide.
A joint tour by a multiagency team from Nairobi County on Tuesday of selected informal settlement areas where the programme is being piloted in Mathare, Korogocho, Mukuru and Kibera, found majority of the youth are in support of the programme saying it would help them meet their basic needs, particularly during this hard economic times of Covid-19.
The team led by the Director of Administration in the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, Mr. Paul Famba and the Nairobi County Commissioner Flora Mworoa monitored the tasks executed by the youth including clearing drainages, collection of garbage and sweeping roads.
Speaking at various sites, Mr. Famba said the programme is meant to cushion vulnerable youth in informal settlements by providing them an income given most youth have lost their jobs due to covid-19 pandemic.
He said Kazi Mtaani programme will help the youth put food on the table from the daily wages earned and urged them to utilize the money properly.
“As I commend you for the good work you are doing in cleaning your environment, I urge you to always maintain high standards of hygiene. Do not misuse the money you will get from Kazi Mtaani on alcohol,” warned Famba.
The Director of Administration also called on residents of the affected areas to strictly observe the Ministry of Health guidelines on Covid-19 such as frequent washing of hands, wearing of face masks and observing social distancing to curb the spread of the disease.
He also assured them that the government is arranging to provide the residents with working tools such as gumboots and gloves, and face masks to protect themselves from Covid-19.
The Nairobi County Commissioner, Flora Mworoa called on the youth to embrace discipline, noting that the government started the initiative to empower them economically hence they should use the opportunity wisely.
She said the government is contemplating expanding the programme to engage more youth and urged those possessing skills in carpentry, plumbing and electrical works to register at the Chiefs and Assistant Chiefs’ offices for recruitment.
“We will however, not condone people who are not ready to work but only interested in the money. You are all required to observe the stipulated working period,” said Mworoa.
During the visits, the youth called on the government to consider engaging more youth in the programme because most of them have lost jobs after manufacturing companies suspended operations while others are working on minimum capacity.
They also asked the organizers of the programme to provide them with gumboots and gloves to enable them perform their work in safety.
By Bernadette Khaduli