Meru County gets Sh300m roads boost from Japan

Kiraitu Murungi

Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Kenya has secured a Sh300 million grant from Japan for the construction of about 20 kilometres of access roads in Meru County using Japanese Do-nou technology.

The grant is from the Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF).

JSDF was established in 2000 as a partnership between the Government of Japan and the World Bank Group to support community-driven development and poverty eradication projects.

According to Infrastructure PS Paul Maringa, the 20 kilometres of roads will link to the Sh2.9 billion eastern and western bypasses in Meru town that were constructed with funding from the World Bank.

Do-nou is a Japanese labour-based technology that involves laying gunny bags filled with soil, on the road.

The technology uses locally available materials requiring minimal use of machinery and intensive human labour hence creating job opportunities.

The project will be implemented by Community Road Empowerment (CORE), a Japanese Non-Governmental Organisation registered in Kenya.

"The project activities will prioritise youth, women, and other vulnerable groups by creating employment opportunities in labour-based road maintenance. We intend to train at least 1,200 beneficiaries in Do-nou technology," Prof Maringa said.

The project will involve residents of low-income urban communities in Majengo, Mjini, and Gitimbine areas of Meru town which are adjacent to the bypass roads.

The PS spoke after the signing of the grant partnership with World Bank Operations Manager Camille Naumah, Embassy of Japan Second Secretary Economic Affairs and Economic Cooperation Section Katsumi Naomitsu, Community Road Empowerment (CORE) Project Manager/Finance Ms Yuka Iwamura, and Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi.

The county government is implementing the project in collaboration with the CORE programme.

CORE is an NGO that trains youths on how to construct roads using DO-nou technology.

Municipality MCA Elias Murega said implementation of the project was in the right direction since it would benefit members of the community at the grassroots level.

 “We will support this project since we know it will benefit youths and women, the most vulnerable groups in the community. We also thank the county government and World Bank for coming up with such a programme that promotes youth and women empowerment,” Mr Murega said.

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