Senior Kilifi County Government officials have asked local youths to register companies and form self-help groups to benefit from county government tenders and the new Wezesha Fund in the county.
Speaking at the Gede Primary School in Kilifi North Constituency during celebrations to mark this year’s International Youth Day, the officials said the county government was committed to empowering the youth financially, but asked them to be organized to qualify for the support.
Led by Kilifi Deputy Governor Flora Chibule, the officials said only registered companies and youth groups will be able to access the Wezesha Fund loans and the 30 percent of government tenders set aside for women, the youth and persons with disabilities.
They lamented that many youths were living in deplorable conditions despite the great opportunities and talents they have to better their lives.
Ms Chibule said the County Government had partnered with local financial institutions to avail Sh1 billion credit in cheap loans to registered groups and cooperative societies to boost their businesses and called on the youth to take advantage of the initiative to set up in business and attain financial independence.
Ms Chibule also urged the youth not to focus on seeking formal employment but instead develop their talents, which she noted were unique individual resources that could catapult them to greatness.
“This is not the time to lament. Yes, there are many challenges, but you can be part of the solution,” Ms Chibule told the youth at the close of a three-day festivity in which the youth showcased various skills and talents.
The deputy governor said the county government had a plan to train 150 youths in the county through the National Youth Service (NYS) with the aim of forming a county band as well as recruiting interns to serve in the county government.
Dr Ruth Dama Masha CECM for Gender, Social Services, Youth and Sports said that youth groups, women groups and persons with disabilities would be trained on how to make business proposals which they will present for funding from the Wezesha loans to expand their businesses.
She said the county government would also promote beach games to enable local youths to exploit their sporting talents, noting a large number of youths who represented Kenya in the World Beach Games in Tunisia in July came from the county.
She said the county government was also identifying various sporting talents through school games in order to develop them into national and international sports men and women.
The Director of Sustainable Business and Social Impact at Safaricom Karen Basiye said her organisation had engaged the youth in various activities such as sports and education, entrepreneurship and pledged to work with the County Government of Kilifi to help exploit youth talents in the region.
“We have started a new project at Safaricom that now focuses on partnering with the youth who are doing things within the green space, which we call ecopreneurship and agropreneurship,” she said.
“We would like on a bare minimum to have at least 1 million youths in the country benefitting from these initiatives,” she added.
She said since Safaricom was initiated, about Sh7 billion had been spent to better the lives of people across the country, a programme, she said, had touched 10 million lives.
“We have set aside Sh1 million for Nodto Zetu and for youth engagement, we have set aside Sh300 million,” she said.
Nominated Member of County Assembly Betty Kache, who represents the youth at the Kilifi County Assembly, said she had sponsored a motion seeking to start a programme like the defunct kazi mitaani in order to provide employment opportunities to the youth.
“The motion was passed by the house and we hope the county government will implement it to benefit our youths, she said.