What you need to know:
- The 2019 census shows 35.7 million Kenyans — 75 per cent of the population — are under 35.
- The 18-35 age bracket is the most energetic and productive span of human life.
Thomas Hobbes, on human nature, said human beings are inherently evil and hedonistic in nature; they act after weighing the pleasure versus the pain. They maximise pleasure and minimise on pain.
What will people do to minimise the excruciating pain of loss of livelihood caused by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic?
The 2019 census shows 35.7 million Kenyans — 75 per cent of the population — are under 35. The 18-35 age bracket is the most energetic and productive span of human life.
Sadly, this is the cluster that is worst hit by the Covid-19 pandemic — not just healthwise, because of their vibrancy and mode interaction, but also financially due to loss of income.
This is the age set that is most vulnerable to crime. That is why the Kazi Mtaani programme, an initiative by President Uhuru Kenyatta, is a masterstroke.
In the first phase, 31,689 youths in eight counties earned Sh653 daily. In the ongoing second phase, more than 270,000 youths earn Sh455 daily. That means putting Sh737,100,000 in 270,000 young men and women’s pockets every week. Think of the effect of that on the economy. But is it sustainable?
Machakos County and Nairobi Metropolitan Services have gone an extra mile and added value on the programme through sustainability.
But while NMS went for hands-on job training in plumbing, Machakos trains cohorts to build roads using cobblestones, with a one-kilometre pilot road in Mua.
A huge opportunity exists in the agricultural sector for the Kazi Mtaani initiative through the community contracting model.
Till idle lands
The government can have the cohorts till the idle lands, provide them with seed, extension officers and implements while still paying them the daily wage. That can secure the food security pillar in the ‘Big Four Agenda’.
Kazi Mtaani is a timely great initiative that needs to be nurtured with ideas of sustainability.