KENYA – Safaricom Foundation has announced that it intends to invest Ksh130 Million (US$1.30m) towards Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) with a focus on Plumbing, Welding, Food and Beverage and Electrical Engineering.

Close to 1,000 young people are expected to benefit from the investment.

As part of the programme, Safaricom Foundation will partner with Zizi Afrique Foundation and TVET institutions to set up an ICT enabled Skills Center in Nairobi and also sponsor students in other institutions across the country over the next two years.

“With this investment, we are going to ensure that we have put in place sustainable infrastructure for youth training, improve instructor training capacities, access to training opportunities in employable areas, institutional capacities and finally increase transition to employment. Our aim is to support quality participation in TVET,” said Stephen Chege a Safaricom Foundation’s Trustee.

The Foundation will also sponsor 200 students at the centre to undergo training and later place them in jobs.

“Kenya is a very youthful country.  Data shows that 80 percent of Kenya’s population is below 35 years. We, however, have 97 percent of youth who say unemployment is their biggest problem. We believe that such investments can help alleviate this challenge,” Chege said.

Waithaka Vocational Training Centre will act as the model center with Safaricom Foundation establishing a TVET model ICT enabled Centre of Excellence.

11 other institutions from Nairobi, Marsabit, West Pokot, Mandera, Isiolo, Kwale, Narok, Kirinyaga, Kitui, Kisumu and Vihiga have also been identified targeting over 500 beneficiaries.

An analysis by the Higher Education Loans Board shows that employability is at 96 percent for people with Technical and Vocational Education and Training compared to 40 percent among those with a university degree. However, TVET participation remains low with enrolment standing at only 60 percent.

This comes days after Safaricom Foundation and ZiziAfrique launched an Accelerated Learning Programme (ALP) where at least 2,500 learners in Tana River County are expected to acquire literacy and numeracy skills.

The ALP which was first launched in Turkana in 2018 will target 40 schools in Tana River and will be introduced in Bungoma County later this year.

Over 500 students in Tana River have already acquired reading skills at Grade 2 level in English. Learners were identified through an assessment, grouped according to learning levels and enrolled in 30-50 days learning camps, where they were supported to acquire the basic literacy skills.

“We launched our strategic direction in 2018 with education being a key pillar. Under education, we have partnered with ZiziAfrique for our literacy and numeracy focus area. Last year, the Program benefitted 4,500 learners through literacy camps. This year we are looking at learners from 120 schools in Bungoma, Turkana, and Tana River counties,” said, Fawzia-Ali Kimanthi, Safaricom Foundation Trustee.