Money grows from trees, literally

September 4, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, September 4 – The Ministry of Youth Affairs has stepped up efforts to expand employment opportunities to the Kenyan youth.

Thursday morning the ministry launched the ‘Trees for Jobs’ project which targets to engage the rural youth in afforestation initiatives.

Permanent Secretary Kinuthia Murugu told Capital News that the youth will be engaged for a period of 18 months in partnership with corporate organisations and development partners.

The elated Murugu said: “We will have them plant the trees and pay them.  But more importantly, we will then pay them seven shillings for each month the trees survive. This will amount to seven shillings per tree.  It means that the youths will now be occupied in ensuring that their seedlings survive.”

The project, which will cover existing forest land, Trust land, water catchment areas and highways, will be implemented with the help of the Kenya Forestry department.

Murugu urged as many companies to join in, noting that they too stood to benefit from the project.

“This becomes part of their Corporate Social Responsibility for which they can claim certain tax advantages,” he said.

The PS reiterated the government’s commitment of increasing employment opportunities in the country and said that the ministry was working with registered foreign recruitment bureaus to seek employment opportunities for Kenyan youths abroad.  The project which has already yielded 1, 000 placements is keenly vetted by officials in the ministry to ensure that the youth are not exploited.

“Together we are able to identify job opportunities abroad and then those who don’t have the capacity to raise the air ticket and other things we are able to give them loan from the youth enterprise fund,” Murugu stated and advised interested youths to visit the Youth Fund website to ascertain the approved bureaus to avoid being conned.

Unsuspecting youths have reportedly been swindled of large sums of money by unscrupulous recruitment firms while others get stranded in foreign countries after being promised non-existent jobs.

Murugu has in the meantime disclosed that the ministry was recruiting instructors to teach in all the 750 youth polytechnics as it seeks to expand training opportunities.

“In the past the communities were paying the instructors but because they did not have the capacity they were not well paid which means that most of them were not very well qualified,” he said.

Already they have posted one instructor per polytechnic but Murugu said that more are being recruited with the aim of getting all instructors paid by the central government.

The government has in the last few months intensified efforts to revamp the institutions most of which closed down in the 90s.  Since the closures, youths in the rural areas where most of the institutions were located were left without access to technical training.


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