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Kenya’s Multi-Billion Dollar Program Employs 270,000 Youth During COVID-19

Kazi Mtaani Initiative combats unemployment during COVID-19

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Lemayian Kefa
Lemayian Kefa
I am versatile news anchor and writer(print media), bilingual reporter and a Voice Over Artist with a formal background in Journalism and Public Relations.

KENYA. Nairobi, Kibera. Unemployment rate doubled in the last two months after Kenya confirmed its first COVID-19 case. The Ministry of Health marked an increase from 5.2 percent to 10.4 percent. The number of those unemployed increased to 4,637,164 between April and June this year compared to 2,329,176 during the same period last year.

It is a new dawn for most Kenyan youth as the national government has already developed grassroots work plans. More than 270,000 Kenyans have been absorbed in the National Hygiene Program (NHP) with a $100M USD budget outlay as recently announced by Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The NHP stakeholders

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This wonderful initiative has come in handy to tame the rapidly-growing unemployment rate whose impacts have been felt greatly by Kenyan youth.

Gender PS Collette Suda (holding a wheelbarrow) and Homa Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti hand over equipment to youth recruited for Kazi Mtaani initiative in Homa Bay town / Photo Credit: James Omoro

The National Hygiene Program dubbed Kazi Mtaani Initiative is set to run for six months, and the programme roll-out will be overseen by the County Implementation Committees (CICs) led by the respective county commissioners, with county secretaries as deputy chairs and County Directors of Housing serving as secretaries to the CICs. 

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The CICs will incorporate membership of County Executive Committee members from various county dockets and implementing agencies such as the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA), Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA), National Youth Service (NYS), and other partners are working on projects within the program.

NHP beneficiary thoughts about government response to COVID-19

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As workers get paid for the days they report to work at a rate of $455 per day for workers and $505 for supervisors, youth can’t stop showing gratitude to President Kenyatta for coming to their aid at this challenging period of COVID-19.

A number of unemployed Kenyan youth during the first phase recruitment exercise by the Kazi Mtaani Innitiative. Photo credit: Val Lukhanyu

“Loosing my first job at this COVID-19 period was so painful as I am the bread-winner of my small family, I didn’t know where to start as companies shut down indefinitely, I couldn’t secure another job for myself,” said Benard Ochieng’, a beneficiary of the National Hygiene Program.

”But now I have all the reasons to smile after being recruited in the Kazi Mtaani Innitiative, I thank our beloved President for this, long live Uhuru Kenyatta,” he added.

As countries in East Africa and Africa at large continue to battle COVID-19 and ensure that its curve is completely flattened, taming unemployment has been quite a challenge. However, Kenya has worked tirelessly to combat COVID-19.

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