NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 10 – Four envoys from Nordic countries have pledged to step up support for technical and vocational training institutions as part of efforts to support economic empowerment of the youth.
Sweden’s Anna Jardfelt, Denmark’s Mette Knudsen, Finland’s Erik Lundberg, and Norway’s Elin Bergithe gave the commitment on Tuesday when they embarked on a working visit in Taita Taveta County.
The diplomats who travelled to Voi on the Standard Gauge Railway undertook to enhance bilateral relations with Kenya in a bid to support the government’s development agenda especially in counties.
Speaking during a meeting with their host, Deputy Governor Majala Mlagui, Jardfelt said Sweden had increased its funding for Technical and Vocational Educational Training (TVET) with a target of reaching at least 45,000 youths in marginalized areas.
“We’ve taken a decision to scale up TVET support and so now we’re going to support over 45,000 marginalized youths. This is in addition to the support we’re giving to the mining sector in the county and generally capacity building for devolution,” she observed.
Her Danish counterpart, Knudsen, said Denmark had allocated Sh13 million to support health centres in Taita Taveta in the current financial year.
“We do provide funds to all counties for primary healthcare facilities to add into what the health facilities get,” she said.
While welcoming assurances for close partnership by the diplomats, Mlagui said the County Government was keen on uplifting the standards of vocational training centres to support ongoing development initiatives including improvement of road infrastructure and water distribution networks.
She said the County Government had identified technical and vocational training as a key plank in a water distribution master-plan through which the county is seeking to expand the water distribution network to enhance access to safe drinking water.
“We’re looking at water distribution as a key area of investment. We’re host to Mzima springs which currently serves the coastal regional including Mombasa and we’re looking at creating a good distribution infrastructure that would link up to reservoirs in the county,” she said.
An aging water distribution network have led to pipe bursts in the recent past leading to acute water shortage in Voi – Taita Taveta’s economic hub.
In mid-March, a main pipe from Mzima Springs burst leading to a week-long water shortage that crippled business in Voi.