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KEPSA youth training project delayed

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 14 – A youth empowerment initiative between the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) and the World Bank has failed to take off as scheduled due to a delay in funding.

The Sh1.2 billion Kenya Youth Empowerment Project that will see some 1,000 unemployed youth secure six months internship and work experience in the private sector is being funded by the World Bank and managed by KEPSA.

Project Internship Officer Judy Chege said on Friday that the commencement of the two week life skills training that was due to start on January 10, 2011 has been rescheduled to give the program officers time to comply fully with World Bank procurement procedures.

"This therefore means that it will not be possible for us to send the interns to you at the time indicated earlier," said Ms Chege in a letter to the employers in whose firms the interns were to be attached in March/April 2011.

The 1,350 youths were randomly selected on December 14, last year from a pool of 9,307 applications and they are to take part in the first cycle of the program that will initially focus on Nairobi.

KEPSA has been having consultations with some of its members to see how they can match the selected youth to the available internship opportunities.

"We are using the profiles you sent us to match interns who meet your specifications.  This exercise is going well so far but we will be getting in touch with a few of you to make further consultations on your requirements," Ms Chege further told the KEPSA members.

The program currently has more offers of internship places than the number of interns selected for the first cycle and as such the program officials say they will be requesting some of employers in certain sectors to either take fewer interns or to take them in the second cycle of the project.

"In other sectors we have fewer internship places and we will be sending out an appeal for more offers to help us bridge the gaps," the internship officer said.   

She assured them that they are working together with the World Bank team to address the hitch and move the process forward as quickly as possible.

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"In case there will be need for some changes on your side due to this delay for example on your requirements of interns, kindly just get in touch with me so that we can discuss the way forward," Ms Chege advised.

Although she did not give specific dates of when the youth will start the internships, she said they expect it will be mid this year.

"We highly regret any inconveniences caused by this delay and we hope that you will still be able to take up the interns you had offered places for," she added.

By the end of the four and a half year project, KEPSA hopes that about 11, 000 young people will have been impacted with the necessary skills required in the labour market.

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