The government and other employers in Kenya have been urged to embrace skills and reduce obsession with certificates, since the documents are a mere affirmation of the skills that an individual possesses.
Speaking at the Nakuprat – Gotu Conservancy in Isiolo County during a graduation ceremony for 337 young people (mostly morans) from the various pastoralist communities in Isiolo, Marsabit and Samburu Counties who either, never attended school or dropped out at some point after they acquired basic life skills courtesy of the “Ujuzi Manyattani” Programme being rolled out by the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) to equip local pastoralist youths with basic skills, various leaders argued that the skills that one possesses should be enough to enable them earn a living whether they have a school certificate or not.
The Danish Ambassador to Kenya Ole Thonke who was the chief guest during the ceremony noted that the “Ujuzi Manyattani” Programme gives an opportunity to the local youths who did not attend school or dropped out due to various reasons to also acquire knowledge and skills so that they can earn a living by offering their services to the community at a cost, and should be replicated in other parts of the Country as well. He noted that the over 300 graduands would not qualify to enroll themselves for the vocational training courses at the polytechnics where at least a primary school leaving certificate is required, but the programme has offered them a second chance as they are trained down at the village level hence making it easy for them.
The diplomat said that the Embassy of Denmark through the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) have supported the programme to a tune of 20 Million US Dollars, and would increase the same by an additional 5 Million US Dollars in order to ensure that more people benefit from the life changing programme.
Dr. Julius Kipng’etich who chairs the board of directors of the Northern Rangelands Trust said that the nation needs to move away from the obsession of certificates even for low cadre jobs, arguing that a person could possess skills without a formal certificate, and should therefore be given an opportunity to utilize his/her skills to earn a living.
The Ujuzi Manyattani Programme was hailed as a game changer that will play a critical role towards eliminating retrogressive practices such as cattle rustling as the graduands will be able to diversify their livelihoods, reducing over-reliance on livestock and consequently reducing the conflict cycles as well.
Some of the courses that the graduands were trained on include masonry, carpentry, motor cycle repair, mobile phones repair, welding, plumbing, hair dressing, catering, electrical engineering, tour guiding and solar installation.
The initiative is implemented by the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) and funded by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).
Out of the 337 graduands, 178 were men while 159 were women, a remarkable improvement in the number of female beneficiaries in comparison to Last year, where only 6 women graduated.
All those that graduated also received a donation of tools to enable them embark on rendering services to their respective communities soonest possible.