Principal Secretary, Youth and Public affairs in the Ministry of Public Service, Youth Gender and Gender Affairs, Dr. Francis Owino (left) and EABL Corporate Relations Manager, Eric Kiniti (right) present certificates to Hannah Nyambura and Philip Otieno after they graduated from KBL sponsored Heshima programme.Heshima is is a vocational and entrepreneurship training programme sponsored by Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL), which aims to equip youth and women across the country with practical skills to enable them earn a decent living through productive and dignified work. The programme is also helping the fight against sale and consumption of illicit brews by giving youth and women an avenue to channel their energy into projects they are passionate about.

Close to 300 youth and women from Nairobi, Kiambu and Nakuru counties on Thursday graduated from the Kenya Breweries Limited sponsored Heshima programme at Langiri Grounds in Kibera Constituency.

Heshima is a vocational and entrepreneurship training programme which aims to equip youth and women from across Kenya with practical skills to enable them earn a decent living through productive and dignified work.

The youth were issued with certificates in entrepreneurship, tailoring, motor mechanical applications, hair and beauty, plumbing, electrical applications and catering.

The programme’s first phase targets 10 counties seen as highly susceptible to i*****l, informal and illicit trade in alcohol. They are: Nairobi, Kwale, Kiambu, Murang’a, Nakuru, Makueni, Machakos, Homa Bay, Migori and Kisumu.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Principal Secretary for Youth and Public Affairs Dr Francis Owino commended KBL for the Heshima initiative.

“Many African countries are grappling with the burden of youth unemployment. For us in Kenya, the weight is heavier considering that we are a young country with a median age of 19 years. Our ministry is however working towards offering sustainable solutions to them.  It is amazing to see programmes such as Heshima, which complement what we are doing as a ministry towards youth empowerment,” said Dr Owino.

“I am delighted to see a corporate recognise the importance of technical training in promoting economic growth and job creation. I believe that our collective efforts will go a long way in establishing a strong pool of skilled youth and give young people a way out of poverty and vices such as c***e and illicit brews that stem from it,” he added.

East African Breweries Limited Corporate Relations Director Eric Kiniti said the company is committed to providing the youth and women with vital skills for employment and income generation.

“We believe in the power of self-sufficiency in addressing youth unemployment, which is rampant in the country. The Heshima Programme cements our commitment to building thriving communities by giving women and youth a chance to build a better future for themselves through vocational and entrepreneurship training,” said Eric.

He added that the programme is also helping the fight against sale and consumption of illicit brews by giving youth and women an avenue to channel their energy into projects they are passionate about.

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KBL graduated the first batch of 89 Heshima beneficiaries in May this year in Kisumu County.

KBL in partnership with their mobilisation partner, Africa Initiative for Rural Development (AIRD), believes that Heshima will complement the various programmes being implemented by the national and county governments to fight illicit brews.

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