Tana River County in partnership with the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth affairs and other partners has unveiled the Tana River Centre for Innovation and Youth.
The centre will be a one-stop information unit. Youth will be provided with all the necessary information to facilitate their participation in the development agenda.
Speaking during the launch, Deputy Resident Representative – programme for UNDP Mandisa Mashologu, extolled CS Joe Mucheru for prioritising Kenyan youth in development programmes aimed at uplifting them.
“As we strive to harness youth empowerment through the launch of Tana River Centre for innovation and youth empowerment, I would like to express gratitude to the CS, Ministry of ICT, Innovation, and Youth for prioritising the needs of the youth as the single most important demographic in Kenya,’’ said Masholugu.
The UNDP Deputy Resident Representative stressed the need to ensure the programmes are sustainable by ensuring youth are trained, build their capacity, and upgrade their skills for them to make a meaningful contribution to the economy.
About 102 youths have already been trained on the hydroponic system of farming at the centre. The youth are expected to cascade the knowledge to their peers.
The centre is poised to serve the Coastal region according to Governor Godhana whose speech was read by County Secretary Joshua Jara.
“Programmes lined up in these facilities include vocational training, information centre, business incubation centre, studios, hospitality, and modern farming,’ said the governor.
In a bid to improve enrollment, retention, and completion rates , Governor Godhana’s administration has committed to pay Sh5,000 yearly as tuition fees for students who will enrol in VTCs.
According to the governor, youth constitutes 67 per cent of the population in Tana. The population of youth is estimated to be 137, 000 with 51 per cent engaged in the labour force majorly in the agriculture sector.
“A small fraction is engaged in business, leaving a huge percentage with little or no meaningful economic activities. We are implementing the Inuka fund aimed at giving loans to youths to start a business for economic empowerment.’’ He said.
The centre developed in partnership with (UNDP), Kenya School of Government (KSG), National Youth Council (NYC), and Frontier Counties Development Council (FCDC) is the second in Kenya after Isiolo County.
By Sadik Hassan