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Govt extends Kazi Mtaani program

The government on Wednesday extended the National Hygiene Program, popularly known as Kazi Mtaani, two weeks after President Uhuru Kenyatta promised the youth he will do so.

The program’s steering committee said the initiative which was due to end on March 4, 2021, will be extended for another month.

According to State Department of Housing and Urban Development Principal Secretary Charles Hinga, the decision will bring a sigh of relief to over 280,000 youth engaged in the program.

“The President promised two weeks ago that Kazi Mtaani will be extended, following an appeal by the youth,” the PS said in a statement.

The president made the announcement at Soweto Hospital, Kayole, where he’d gone to commission the newly constructed level three medical facility.

The President noted that everywhere he goes, the youth have told him they would like the program to continue hence his decision to extend it.

“I was in Uthiru, Kiamaiko, and other places and the youths have told me they want Kazi Mtaani extended so that they can continue working and serving their nation, I will extend it,” he said.

According to the PS, those under the program will operate on two shifts of Cohort A and B, each working for 11 days a month.

The program was unveiled by the President in 2020 and is meant to provide social protection for workers whose prospects for daily or casual work had been disrupted by the containment policies put in place to limit the spread of Covid-19.

Beneficiaries are paid a weekly stipend of Sh1,000 by the State Department of Interior and Co-ordination of the National Government through M-Pesa.

The project is located in 23 informal settlements and seeks to improve urban infrastructure and services.

The project aims to reach 669,000 households across all the 290 constituencies with the current payroll figure standing at 341,958 households.

So far, out of the Sh10 billion allocated to cushion the elderly, orphans, and vulnerable members of the society, the government has disbursed Sh1.3 billion for phase one, Sh2.4 billion and Sh5.6 billion has been earmarked for phase three.

In Nairobi, more than 12,000 Kenyans living in Mathare, Kibera, Mukuru, and Korogocho have benefited from this initiative.

Among the activities of the program are garbage collection and street cleaning, fumigation and unclogging of drainages, rehabilitation of public facilities such as buildings, access roads, and walkways.

PS Hinga said tree growing and preparations of stabilized soil blocks for construction has also prominently featured.

He said that tens of thousands of youth have also received extensive training on life skills such as setting up businesses, HIV/Aids prevention, mental health and counselling, and basic skills in masonry and carpentry.

“Many of the youth have come forth with testimonials of the transformative impact of the program as they have since been able to set up small thriving businesses,” he added.

The current phase is expected to involve the youth in works whose outcome is more permanent, the PS noted.