Youths who have been enrolled in the ongoing National Youth Service community programme have saved Sh1.7 billion since it began. The money has been put into 400 Savings and Credit Cooperatives (Saccos) across the country with close to 130,000 youths being enrolled.
Public Service, Gender and Youth Cabinet secretary Sicily Kariuki has said the government is committed to uplifting the standards of young people through the programme. She lauded the success of the initiative in the constituencies it has been launched saying it will be expanded countrywide to accommodate more youth.
“We believe in young people and that is why it is the desire of President Uhuru Kenyatta to see that as many youths as possible are enrolled in the programme,” the CS said.
The programme continues to make a difference in the country with hundreds of youths starting small-scale businesses with their savings. “At least 30 per cent of the money they are paid goes to the saccos and one can borrow to start a business but there are other opportunities like the Uwezo Fund, Youth Fund and Women’s Fund as well,” she said.
Kariuki was speaking when she launched the programme for youth in Naivasha at Kihoto grounds. In Nakuru county, the CS said four constituencies have joined the initiative with the youth already holding savings amounting Sh56 million. “Naivasha becomes the fifth constituency after Gilgil, Nakuru Town East, Nakuru Town West and Subukia,” she said.
She, at the same time, dismissed opposition leaders on claims that the programme was meant to fleece the taxpayers. She told the critics to go on the ground to establish the programme’s transformational effects.
“I urge you to ignore such reports as they are made out of malice because you can see how we are transforming the youths in our country through this programme,” she observed.
Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony who accompanied the CS was all praises as he called for the initiative to be launched in the county. He said the impacts were real and was the way to go because youths were earning an income as well as saving money in their saccos.