The ravaging effects of the pandemic were well on sight from what other countries had gone through but no one had anticipated the good that would come out of it. With the adverse effects of COVID-19 threatening and challenging various sectors in the country, the government in a response strategy came up with a series of initiatives that would cushion Kenyans from these effects.

Kazi Mtaani is one such programme that has already proven its efficacy in various Counties throughout the country since its launch. The program was set up specifically for the able-bodied youth to provide a source of income and is aimed at improving public hygiene standards and undertake civil works. The initiative is a National Hygiene Program that was conceptualized as an extended public works program that has had far reaching positive effects since its pilot program was kicked off in April of this year.

The program mainly works with the youth from informal settlements and has gained traction. This has seen a record 26,000 youths be employed in its pilot program that focused on an initial 8 Counties including Nairobi, Kisumu, Nakuru, Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Mandera and Kiambu. The programme has created a worthwhile name for itself, as it has given a facelift in various informal settlements which now have a cleaner environment and happier youths who have money in their pockets that is aiding to cushion them from the effects of the pandemic.

The programme has gathered momentum in various parts of the country with youths dashing to be a part of the program that has proven to be of great worth.

In Mombasa, the Kazi Mtaani programme has benefitted informal settlements of Kaa Chonjo, Ziwa la Ng’ombe, Bangladesh and Old Town in Mombasa County. Youths in the area have been enlisted to carry out activities such as street cleaning, fumigation and disinfection, garbage collection, desilting of chocked gutters among other activities. Similarly, in Kiambu the youth who were involved in various activities of the program have already received their payments that are done on a weekly basis at Sh600 per day.

With the expected roll-out of the second phase administrators in Nyandarua County have started receiving applications. In Vihiga County, a total of 21,075 youth will be enrolled into the programme.

Out of this, many youths have hailed President Uhuru Kenyatta for the initiative that is ensuring they have money in their pockets. In the 2020/21 budget reading, President Uhuru Kenyatta set aside Sh10 billion specifically for the Kazi Mtaani programme to benefit the youth as it targets to employ about 200,000 youth. This is definitely a growth catalyst for the youth and ultimately have far reaching positive effects for the economy while averting the detrimental effects of youth unemployment.