A labour-intensive public works programme dubbed Kazi Mtaani is set to provide immediate job opportunities for more than 26,000 Kenyans across the country.

The Kazi Mtaani programme spearheaded by the State Department of Housing and Urban Development is geared at integrating jobless Kenyans in urban hygiene and sanitation works across 23 informal settlements.

The first phase of the Kazi Mtaani National Hygiene Programme (NHP) initiative which was launched last week will see the enlisting of 26,148 Kenyans living in the informal settlements to undertake rapid environment improvements and sanitation management. The program provides opportunities for citizens above the age of eighteen (18) of all genders provided they reside in the target informal settlements.

Under the Kazi Mtaani NHP, enlisted workers are earning a daily wage and undertaking duties such as access paths and ‘street’ cleaning, fumigation and disinfection, garbage collection, Bush clearance and drainage unclogging services, among others.

Speaking when he accompanied Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia to take delivery of two water bowsers acquired from Isuzu Kenya, State Department of Housing and Urban Development principal secretary Charles Hinga said the NHP would provide twin benefits in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The PS said the National Hygiene Program (NHP) initiative is an extended public works project (EPWP) aimed at providing employment and daily wages for low-income workers living informal settlements while improving urban infrastructure and service delivery within informal settlements.

“The Kazi Mtaani NHP has been conceptualized to provide social relief by providing jobs and facilitating hygiene interventions to help contain the Covid-19 pandemic in informal urban settlements,” Hinga said, adding that “Phase 1 of the NHP program will deliver wages amounting for more than 30,000 informal settlement dwellers for the next one month allowing them to meet their economic needs. The Kazi Mtaani NHP payment structure is also aligned to the aims of providing a daily income and this is why workers will be paid at least twice a week through mobile money transfers.”

Alongside the economic stimulus, the NHP will also deliver improved services and environment for 27 settlements in 8 counties including Nairobi, Mombasa, Kiambu and Kisumu.

The first phase of the NHP program will focus on informal settlements in the counties of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kiambu, Nakuru, Kisumu, Kilifi, Kwale, and Mandera.  These counties have seen the first instances of COVID-19 and have been affected by the cessation of movement policy initiated to contain the spread of the virus.