The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Road Project to Give the Youth More Jobs

The International Labour Organisation, the Government of Japan and the Government of Kenya yesterday jointly launched a new project aimed at addressing the escalating youth unemployment in the country. The Youth Employment for Sustainable Development Project will empower the youth with skills to participate in rehabilitation and maintenance of roads by using cheaper, yet effective techniques, known as "Cobblestone Paving" and "Do-nou".

The YESD will initially be implemented in Nairobi, Rift Valley and North Eastern with gradual expansion nationwide. By creating employment for young people, it ensures that incidences of crime that result from idleness among majority of the youthful population will reduce such as those experience in post election violence.

Speaking during the launch of the project in Nairobi and Eldoret, Japanese Ambassador to Kenya Toshihisa Takata said although youth unemployment was currently a big challenge in Kenya, there were opportunities to address it through innovation. "We must discover new technologies and develop a productive working population to move the country forward faster," he said.

The pilot technical cooperation project is funded by Japan at a cost of USD1.6 million (Shs136 million) and is expected to equip at least 2,500 youth with road maintenance skills the initial nine months of implementation. It will be implemented in collaboration with the Kenya Institute for Highways and Building Technology, Directorate of Industrial Training under Ministry of Labor and the Youth Polytechnics under the Ministry of Youth Affairs.

Speaking at the function, Roads Minister Franklin Bett said after training, youth with viable Micro and Small Enterprises which will be contracted to pave and maintain certain roads and walkways through the Kenya Rural Roads Authority, the Kenya Urban Roads Authority, local authorities and Private companies. He added that the youth will also be engaged in construction of rural markets and storage facilities.

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