ILO and private sector upskilling in the Great Rift Valley
The International Labour Organization’s (ILO) ‘Inclusive growth through decent work in the Great Rift Valley’ project targets women in Kenya’s Narok and Nakuru counties that have limited access and little to no power over resources to sustain a decent living standard, meet basic needs and/or improve family life. This limit or lack of resources restricts access to education, employment, health services and monetary assets and services.
Women in affected communities are disenfranchised due to culture and tradition and lack the ability to articulate their concerns, needs and rights in an informed way and to participate in decision-making. Such communities are also poor in terms of human security and women and girls are at a disproportionately high risk of gender based violence including female genital mutilation (FGM).
The ILO has held targeted mobilization and outreach to girls and young women towards attending skills courses in vocational training centers. Such outreach engages parents, both fathers and mothers, the church and local leaders to enhance their understanding on the benefits and rights of educating their young women and men and ensure equal access to skills development opportunities.
In April 2020, the PPDP project accelerated its efforts to tackle the challenge of early and child marriages, teenage pregnancies through softer approaches such as community sensitization and education. In particular, a girl from Mailela Vocational Training Center was rescued from early marriage and returned to her parents in order to complete her vocational training. Life skills training and counseling are also available in the training centre to raise awareness on reproductive health issues and career progression.
The county governments of Narok and Nakuru have also begun
training community leaders on gender-based issues and economic empowerment while developing a gender mainstreaming policy. Through ILO’s Public Private Development Partnerships (PPDP) , county governments are also promoting gender mainstreaming through skills development for women and young people. The PPDP project has seen private sector companies such as Akiira, Kengen, Oserian sponsoring both female and male trainees in the vocational training centres, while the county governments have approved and invested budgets for rehabilitation and construction of new workshops and dormitories.