By Shadrack Nyakoe
Nearly 200 vulnerable young women and adolescent girls graduated into the trades of plumbing, electrical, and painting during a ceremony today, boosting the technical workforce in Nairobi and Kiambu counties.
“The role that technical and vocational skills play in propelling the Kenyan people to new industrialized status by 2030 and creating opportunities for self-employment cannot be underscored. I commend Family Bank and USAID through World Vision Kenya for joining hands to empower the lives of these young women,” said Engineer Edward Karani, Director for Infrastructure Development, Technology and Innovation, Micro and Small Enterprises Authority (MSEA) during the graduation ceremony.
Through a KES 30 million partnership between Family Group Foundation and the USAID Tumikia Mtoto Project, 176 young women and girls, aged 18-24 are currently enrolled or just recently completed training aimed at enhancing their employability, income, and livelihoods.
The initiative also provides labor market linkages to the 176 young women who have completed the program, while 100 young women are being commissioned to join the next cohort.
“As a financial institution, we recognize that the gender gap in financial inclusion remains significantly high, with a report by African Women’s Development Fund estimating it at USD 42 billion for women in Africa,” said Family Bank CEO Rebecca Mbithi.
“As a Bank, we are instrumental in accelerating sustainable investment themes, and the co-creation of this intervention is critical to us. We want to not only empower the young women but enable them to empower others as we drive financial inclusion and sustainability. Through these skillsets, we are enabling these young women to set up businesses and build strong entrepreneurial skills,” she said.
This project is under the Foundation’s Shared Values Initiatives in construction, entrepreneurship, development, and business management services dubbed the Tufuzu Youth Entrepreneurship Development Project, which provides young adults technical training and access to labour markets, financing, and linkages to other strategic partners.
“The DREAMS program has helped to empower today’s 176 graduates with knowledge and skills to participate fully in Kenya’s economy, in fields including plumbing, painting, and electrical trades. We are all proud and hopeful as they step out into the world, ready to make a difference in their lives, and the lives of their families,” said US Embassy Deputy Ambassador Chargé d’affaires Eric Watnik.
The partnership also seeks to increase the economic stability of households to care for and protect orphans and vulnerable children and to strengthen the capacity of community systems and structures through practical soft and hard skills training combined with practical training of technical skills certified by the National Industrial Training Authority (NITA) and the National Construction Authority (NCA) implemented by Arc Skills, a leading provider of skills development solutions for schools, universities, and businesses.
“These efforts contribute to the broader World Vision Kenya goal of promoting the well-being of vulnerable children and families across 38 Counties. World Vision is a child-focused organization implementing integrated health, education, household resilience, water, sanitation, hygiene, and child protection projects,” said Mr. Paul Lilan, who is the World Vision Kenya’s Board Chairman.
In addition to NITA and NCA certifications, the graduates received construction tool kits to equip them as they start their integration into the labor market demands.