The Ujuzi Manyattani Initiative, spearheaded by the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT), has emerged as a beacon of hope for the arid and semi-arid (ASAL) communities in Kenya, offering them access to skill training essential for starting sustainable businesses. Supported by USAID and ICAP, this initiative has empowered students, particularly youth and women, with valuable skills needed to thrive in their local economies.

Dr. Esther Thaara Muoria, the Principal Secretary of the State Department for Technical, Vocational Education and Training, emphasized the transformative potential of Ujuzi Manyattani during the graduation ceremony of 140 students in Isiolo. She highlighted how this initiative is poised to elevate the living standards in ASAL counties by equipping individuals with practical skills to enhance their livelihoods.

The graduation ceremony witnessed students from Leparua, Cherab, and Garbatula community conservancies completing courses ranging from hairdressing and beauty therapy to motorcycle repair, electrical and solar installation, catering, tailoring, dressmaking, and mobile repair. These graduates were provided with essential tools to kickstart their entrepreneurial ventures, ensuring that they can immediately apply their newly acquired skills in real-world scenarios.

Collaborating with institutions like Kiirua Technical Training Institution and Laikipia North Technical and Vocational College, the Northern Rangelands Trust has been instrumental in identifying and training individuals from ASAL regions. Dr. Muoria urged parents in Isiolo County to encourage their children to enroll in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions, emphasizing the importance of acquiring practical skills for sustainable livelihoods.

Furthermore, Dr. Muoria acknowledged the significant contributions of Ujuzi Manyattani in ASAL counties and called upon various stakeholders, including well-wishers, county governments, development partners, and the private sector, to rally behind this noble initiative. By fostering collaboration and support, she believes that the program can achieve even greater success in uplifting ASAL communities.

Looking ahead, the Northern Rangelands Trust aims to scale its impact by training an additional 5,000 youths and women from ASAL counties in various trade areas over the next two years. This ambitious goal underscores the commitment to empower individuals with the skills and knowledge necessary to thrive in their local economies, ultimately fostering sustainable development in ASAL regions.

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