Some 500 youths are set to benefit from a special bricks moulding training programme initiated by the government of Garissa county in a bid to increase their incomes, create jobs and bolster the supply of high quality bricks for the rapidly expanding construction sector in the county.
Speaking in Garissa after handing over eight stabilised earth inter-locking brick making machines, Garissa governor Nathif Jama said the machines will be distributed to youth groups in the seven sub-counties for training designed to uplift their socio-economic status under the Integrated Youth Economic Empowerment Programme.
“We are passionate about our youths acquiring this skill which is all about brick-making for production of bricks in commercial quantity,” he said.
He added that the machines, which cost Sh. 1.5 million per unit, would also be used in producing other cement-related products such as interlocking tiles and rings for culverts.
He disclosed that beneficiaries of the programme would have a ready market for their products as contractors awarded tenders by the county will be compelled to source at least a portion of their building materials from the beneficiary groups.
He expressed optimism that the programme would help address the problem of youth unemployment across the county.
The innovative block-making machines create jobs for 20-30 individuals including women and youth employed in block production as well as construction.
There are considerable benefits to this type of production and the quality of brick produced. Comprised of 96 per cent local soil and just 4 per cent cement, the bricks are economical to produce as cement is an extremely expensive input material in the county where a 50kg bag is retailing at Sh. 1400 in far flung areas like Balambala and Masalani.
The brick press is manually operated by a team of three, thus requiring no electricity and potentially contributing to rural development, youth empowerment, poverty alleviation, and generating employment.
The brick press also ensures uniformity to produce a high quality, strong brick which can be used in both low-cost housing and by large-scale construction firms.
During the training process unskilled individuals are taught valuable skills to empower them within the construction industry which not creates employment for the immediate project needs but on an ongoing basis for every construction project in the years to come.