Over one million youths from the lake region are set to benefit from a fish value chain development project to cushion them against the negative economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The project rolled out in Busia, Siaya, Kisumu and Kakamega counties targets to engage the youth’s majority of whom lost their jobs and sources of livelihood in aquaculture and other areas along the fish value chain.
Dubbed ‘jobless lives matter’, the project also seeks to boost on farm fish production in the area to control overfishing in Lake Victoria.
Through support from the World Bank (WB), the respective county governments will harness resources to promote fish farming, establish fish markets and develop fish value chain to create job opportunities for the youth.
According to the project’s secretariat coordinator Timothy Odende, fish farming has the potential of turning around the lives of the youths to save them from depression and engaging in drugs.
“This project is going to help our youth who are jobless to earn a living at the same time improve the economy of this region,” he said.
The project which runs for two years, he added shall be coordinated by first ladies from the four counties who have been tasked with the responsibility of identifying the youths to be enrolled in the program.
Speaking during the launch of the project in Kisumu on Thursday, Odende disclosed that the recruitment shall be done at grassroots with each ward in the four counties producing 4, 000 youths.
The first ladies, he added will use their networks to identify the kind of projects to be funded along the fish value chain.
Siaya County Governor Cornel Rasanga said the county governments will allocate resources and seek partnerships with development partners to make the project a success.
Besides being empowered to venture into fish farming, he said, the youth shall be engaged in construction of fish ponds, fish cages, fish markets and other infrastructure required to roll out the project.
The first ladies, Judy Ojaamong (Busia), Dorothy Nyong’o (Kisumu), Priscilla Oparanya (Kakamega) and Rosella Rasanga (Siaya) pledged their support to make the project a success.
Judy Ojaamong who spearheads the first ladies caucus for the project said the initiative was a long term solution to addressing unemployment among the youth.
“The potential of this initiative cannot be underestimated. Wish a proposal of Sh. 2 million a few months ago we now have projects worth Sh. 60 million in Busia which are transforming the lives of our youth,” she said.
Through the initiative, she added, a modern fish market has been constructed in Busia where hundreds of youths earn a living.
Pricilla Oparanya said the project will engage the youth to bar them from being misused by politicians as the clamor for 2022 general election heightens.
She added that the project will play a leading role in post-covid economy recovery in the area by ensuring that the youths have money in their pockets.
Rosella Rasanga said on farm fish production and cage farming will boost food security in the area at the same time improve on nutrition of the locals.
The project comes amidst concerns over dwindling fish stocks in Lake Victoria which the largest producer of fish in the country.
Source: Kenya News Agency