A section of Youths in Kilifi have adopted cultural skills by using the available local resources to earn a living in a bid of curbing the increased rate of unemployment in the country.

The youths turned up in numbers to showcase their talents and own-made business products at Mekatilili Trade Fair 2023 organized by Knob Digital.

Led by Emmanuel Baraka, the Mekatilili Trade fair organizing committee chairperson urged the youths in the region to unite and come up with skillful strategies to make their livelihoods by utilizing local resources instead of waiting for unpromising employment.

He said that most youths in Kilifi are now taking up the business space while at the same time promoting the Mijikenda culture, a practice that is gradually withdrawing them from venturing into criminal activities.

“You will be shocked to learn that this Mekatilili Trade fair was organized voluntarily by youths who sat down, came up with projects and reached out to donors who funded it. From today’s results, it is evident that we really don’t need a lot of money to start off  uniting ideas and skills”, Baraka said.

“Other than just curbing the issue of unemployment, we are glued to promoting the Coastal culture by utilizing our talents and the available local resources. My message to the youth is, you don’t need to be employed to make a living”, he added.

Addressing the youth exhibiters during the trade fair, Kilifi County Deputy Governor Flora Mbetsa Chibule said the county government is upgrading the Mbegu Fund into Wezesha Fund, a low interest fund aiming at benefitting small-scale business enterprises in the county.

She urged the youths to take advantage of the funds by creating companies and groups within the county in order to benefit from 30% of the initiative earmarked for special groups.

“Kilifi county government is committed to supporting the youth because you are one of our main agenda”, Chibule said

“Wezesha Fund will have ksh.500 million every financial year up for grabs to small business at very low interests on return. Youths take advantage of this because as a government we want the true meaning of devolution to be realized in Kilifi”, she added.

Victoria Atieno, a team lead of Kujuwa Initiative implemented by Soko Kenya, said that working in a non-governmental organization that produces reusable sanitary towels using locally available resources is an example enough for the youths to adopt culture in earning a living.

She said that innovating such initiatives has not only provided employment to many but also promoted humanity and restored dignity amongst their beneficiaries, the girls.

“We believe that as a community we need to come together to help the girls. This trade fair has brought people from all walks not only interested in doing business but also helping the lesser people in the community”, Atieno said.

Atieno commended the Mekatilili trade fair saying that such platforms where buyers meet the sellers, are promoting culture as well.

Ms Fatma Ndamu, Founder and CEO of Magic Oil Hair Products narrated how her efforts to find an employment became futile until she decided to be her own boss in 2021.

Ndamu makes her hair products from local resources including coconut products, a business she said has been paying her bills for the last 2 years.

“Just start with little you have, step by step without giving up and you will progress in whatever you do. I am glad I am my own boss now”, Ndamu said

She urged the youths to unite and start up initiatives to earn their livelihoods without waiting for white-collar jobs.

By Treeza Auma

Treeza Auma is a Digital Content Producer and founder of https://www.ktmn.co.ke KTMN She is also Television journalist at Kenya News Agency and Leadership Accelerator at Women in News.

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