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Lamu youths shun Lapsset jobs

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By KALUME KAZUNGU
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The national government’s plan to give first priority for employment opportunities to the youth in Lamu County at Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) Corridor project might not be achieved as many are reportedly shying away from the port jobs.

A recent report by the Lapsset office of public works on employment at the port in Kililana in Lamu West indicates that very few youths from Lamu County are working there, majority of whom quit shortly after employment.

Speaking at the Lapsset site in Kililana, Public Works Principal Secretary Paul Maringa revealed that out of the 1,200 youths who are currently taking part in the ongoing construction works at the port, only 50 are from Lamu while the rest are sourced from other counties including Kilifi and Mombasa.

According to the Lapsset Corridor Development Authority, the new Lamu port is a key solution tin eliminating the high unemployment rates in the county.

The project has the capacity to create over 200,000 jobs for the unemployed youths from across the country upon completion.

Mr Maringa said even at the construction phase, a lot of employment consideration is being given to the youths, especially those from Lamu which is the host county.

He expressed disappointment that very few local youths are willing to work at the port at the moment.

He called on parents in the region to encourage their children to come out and seek employment at the port.

He also challenged the parents to send their children to school so that they can acquire skills that will be necessary for them to be employed by Lapsset once the project is complete.

“We are happy that the port construction is going on well here at Kililana. The government is committed to ensure the port is viable. As government we are also putting into consideration the local youth here in terms of employment. I am however disappointed by the number of local youths working at the port at the moment.

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“Our statistics indicate that only 50 youth out of the 1,200 already employed as casual labourers here are from Lamu. I am told many of the natives are unwilling to work and even if they are provided with the opportunity, they always run away. That’s a bad picture and we call on parents to encourage their children to work hard in life,” said Mr Maringa.

Lamu West MP Stanley Muthama said it is unfortunate that majority of those employed as labourers at the Lapsset project are from outside the county.

He said as leaders, they have done their duty in pushing the government to ensure the first priority is given to the local youths especially in all the projects undertaken by the national government in the region.

“We have done our best as leaders to enlighten our community to embrace education. We have also been pushing the government to give first priority in terms of employment to our youth in the region. We will continue to do that so that the projects can directly benefit our community. My message to the youth here is that they should not let their leaders down. They should go to where the projects are taking place to get employed,” said Mr Muthama.

The Nation sought to establish the reasons why the youth in Lamu are shying away from the Lapsset jobs.

Mr Ali Mohamed from Lamu Old Town told said that Kililana is too far from the Island, adding that they are required to work for long hours every day.

Mr Mohamed also said he is not willing to work for the long hours with little pay.

“You’re supposed to report to work by 8am and sometimes forced to work until late in the night. Lamu Old Town is far. In addition, a casual labourer is being paid only Sh400 and the work done is very hard with strict supervision. Its better I stay in Lamu Town. I can get a boat here and be a coxswain,” said Mr Mohamed.

Mr Abdalla Omar of Kashmir says many of the Lamu youths prefer working only for certain reasons after which they quit the job.

“Some of us go to Lapsset to work in order to get money to buy something. My problem was to get a smart phone. I joined the Lapsset last month and after getting enough cash, I bought the phone and left the job. I have parents who are taking care of me,” said Mr Omar.



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Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard

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Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.

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However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

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Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard

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President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow

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Drastic life changes affecting mental health

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Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.

KBC Radio_KICD Timetable

Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.

Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.

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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.

In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020.  It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.

A study by Dr. Habil Otanga,  a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says  that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.

KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.

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Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.

As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.

“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”

Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.

“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.

Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.

“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”

Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.

“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.

Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.

Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.

She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.

Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.

“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added

Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.

“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and  also engage in   reading that would  help expand their knowledge.

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