The launch of the ‘Recognition of Prior Learning’ process in Kenya will improve the employability of local refugee youth and the host community. It will validate the little-known skills of artisans and offer them new work opportunities.
The word Jua Kali literally translates to “hot sun” in Swahili and in Kenya it is used to refer to the informal sector of traders and small business owners who run shops on the streets or in open markets. The sector provides employment for 83 percent of the country’s workforce.
Jua Kali is a collection of traders and craftsmen with a wide range of skills including carpentry, metalwork and welding, shoe repair, tailoring, auto repair, plumbing and many more. With long years of professional experience in a particular sector, the traders and artisans of Jua Kali often become highly specialized in their area of expertise. At the same time, being subject to a series of local requirements, they produce creative and profitable solutions for the community.
Nevertheless, the sector is grappling with the challenges of informality, limited access to finance and business development services, low wages and lack of social protection. As Ms. Caroline Njuki, Chief Technical Advisor of the ILO PERSPECTIVES in Kenya, explained, “Many of these informal workers are unable to complete their formal education or training due to limited access to funds and are therefore forced to follow these informal forms of training and employment. . “
In the Jua Kali sector, the execution of the works and the transfer of knowledge also follow an informal approach. “Traders and artisans learn from local master artisans and do not receive a diploma or certificate for the skills they develop. This in turn deprives them of obtaining formal employment and stable income opportunities, despite their important abilities and skills, ”Njuki added.
The ILO OUTLOOK in Kenya aims to improve the employability of young refugees and host communities through the recognition of skills and prior learning by working with the Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA). This partnership has been developed around the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process, an assessment approach that focuses on the capabilities of workers and enables them to be properly assessed, certified and obtain a standards-based qualification. Skills and Learning Outcomes Online with the Kenya National Qualifications Framework.
“Many workers in Kenya have excellent skills, but there is no paper to prove it. And they belong to the Jua Kali sector. Recognizing their acquired skills and acquired skills is an important first step towards formalizing the informal sector. important skills that contribute to national development, ”said Dr Juma Mukhwana, Executive Director of KNQA.
The RPL process will validate the under-recognized skills of artisans and provide them with a competitive advantage in seeking other national, regional and even international work opportunities.
In November 2021, the ILO, in partnership with KNQA, organized a workshop to sensitize leaders of the Kenya National Federation of Jua Kali Associations (KNFJKA) on PLR. As an umbrella member organization defending and representing artisans in the informal sector, the KNFJKA is a key player in the implementation of the RPL.
Mr. Geofrey Ochola, National Skills Development Program Coordinator, ILO PERSPECTIVES Kenya, noted: “The association has the potential to ensure that informal sector workers access the RPL process and obtain certified documentation for their skills. , as well as to lobby for their members to be included in planned government programs.
With the support of the ILO, the KNFJKA will disseminate information on RPL and mobilize its members to be assessed and certified. Mr. Richard Muteti, CEO of KNFJKA, could not hide his enthusiasm for the launch of the RPL program when he explained: “This is what we have been waiting for for many years. It’s a dream come true. self-esteem and builds their self-confidence because they will be assessed at a comparable level, if not better, than other workers with similar skills and in the same occupations, and we are all ready for it. “
Assessment and certification will be carried out by qualification awarding institutions (QAI), such as the National Industrial Training Authority (NITA) and the Council for the Development, Assessment and Certification of Educational Programs. and technical and vocational training (TVET-CDACC). Ultimately, the operationalization of this process will provide a solution to one of the main challenges that the sector has been facing for many years, that of the lack of recognition of capacities and skills.
“RPL will revolutionize the functioning of the informal sector by injecting standards and thus improving the overall quality of work. The recognition of existing skills is a first step towards this objective. The ultimate goal is to enable the artisans of Jua Kali to tap into other employment and entrepreneurship opportunities through this recognition and progress towards the goal of decent work for all, ”said Njuki. .