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Govt launches an economic stimulus programme for local artisans, SMEs

The idea is to put money in the hands of the most vulnerable population

By Janet Rop, KNA

The government has urged Jua Kali artisans across the County to apply for advertised tender to supply locally assembled desks for schools.

County Commissioner Joshua Nkanatha (pictured) said the artisans will be tasked with production of 6,300 desks for primary schools and 4,200 desks for secondary schools in Kajiado County under the Economic Stimulus Programme.

Speaking in Kajiado on Monday 14, during a meeting with Deputy County commissioners (DCC) and Sub-County Education Directors, Nkanatha said the government has allocated Sh1.96 billion to produce and distribute desks to 15 public schools in each of the sub-counties in Kenya.

He said 90 primary schools and 84 secondary schools in all the six sub-counties in Kajiado would benefit from the programme which targets local artisans and Small and Medium sized Enterprises. (SMES).

“The government has launched this economic stimulus programme to assist local artisans and SMEs adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The idea is to put money in the hands of the most vulnerable population by offering them a job to manufacture desks and chairs for schools” he said.

Nkanatha revealed that Sub-County Education Directors in conjunction with the area Deputy County Commissioners will coordinate the project and award tenders to suitably qualified local artisans.

“All the DCCs will lead their teams in confirming the quality of the desks and compliance with the specifications with the prototypes, and ensure proper labeling before delivery to schools,” said the Commissioner.

Designed prototypes desks and technical specifications will be displayed at all the Sub-County headquarters for the artisans to see and enable them manufacture the same for onward distribution to schools.

A single desk for primary school will cost Kshs.2, 800 while the secondary school lockers and chairs will cost Sh3,800.

Job Kaikai, Kajiado Chief Education Officer, added that 15 primary and 15 secondary schools in each of the six sub-counties will receive the desks with all schools in Mashuuru and Kajiado Central sub-counties benefitting from the project.

Kaikai said the supply of locally assembled desks for schools was in preparation for the opening early next year after their closure in March this year due to Covid-19 pandemic.

He added that the new-look desks will eliminate the old seating arrangements in primary schools where three or more pupils would squeeze into a single desk.

Each pupil will have a personal desk that has space to hold books and a large writing surface. The desks will be spaced to achieve the one-metre distance as prescribed by the Health ministry.

‘Many public schools, especially primary schools have a shortage of desks and pupils have often been forced to share desks. In preparation for the resumption of learning, new desks that meet the Ministry of Health criteria will have to be manufactured and delivered to schools before they are re-opened,” he said.

The Education officer called on local artisans to apply for the tender adding that the selection and awarding process would be free and fair.

“The government wants to ensure that this money goes back to the hands of Kenyans and my appeal is for carpenters to come out in large numbers and apply for the project so that they are not left out,” said Kaikai.

Education CS George Magoha, on Friday last week, while issuing guidelines for the implementation of the project to County Commissioners at KICC, said the project will see 622,367 desks and chairs delivered to the public schools in the country as the government continues to put up measures ahead of schools reopening.

He directed County Directors of education to ensure that the desks, lockers and chairs are made and delivered to schools by October 19.

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