Your name and what do you do?
My name is Mohamed Seif. I am a communications officer with the Kuza Project
What is the Kuza project?
Kuza is a three year UKaid sponsored project through the Department for International Development (DFID) that tackles youth unemployment through a combination of skills development and market development interventions aiming to benefit marginalised young people in Mombasa County
Has Mombasa County partnered with Kuza Project to provide assistance to the youth of Mombasa? What are the projects
Yes, the County Government is a key partner to the Kuza project alongside other players as well. We are all working together to promote employment for the youth.
Regarding the projects, we have the new six Labour Market Information and Training Centres [which have been branded Imarisha Vijana centres] operating across the County with one centre serving each of the six constituencies in Mombasa. These are places where young people can go to and access a range of training services either in business skills, career skills training, mentoring and coaching in addition to some referral services such as workplace attachments and referrals to vocational training programmes.
In market development, Kuza is working with the County to develop Mombasa Invest, a new investment unit which the County would use as the vehicle to reach out to potential investors who can invest locally and create jobs for our people. There are also some interventions in the micro retail and waste management areas involving some innovative business models where Kuza is working with both small scale businesses, organised youth groups and companies to help grow their businesses, generate more opportunities and create more jobs.
Tell us about three projects you have worked on that were successful?
I’ve had quite a successful stint practicing journalism. When starting out as a writer you often have to contend with a sense of insecurity as far as your work is concerned, but thank God I worked hard and proved myself even in the estimation of others and in process I managed, as a freelancer, to have my work published in a leading national newspaper. And the sum total of all that brought me to where I am today.
I’ve also worked with a charitable early education institution previously where I was part of the team which developed its first communications strategy, a move that proved very instrumental in marketing the project to the donor community with positive results. Today the institution is a fully fledged primary school facility.
And while Kuza Project is still a work in progress the fact that Kuza managed to train over 2000 youths in skills such as business & entrepreneurship and career skills training in addition to creating over 500 jobs in Mombasa by end of 2015 that is an achievement myself and all my colleagues at Kuza are proud of so far.
In terms of education, the universities in Mombasa have limited programs for students to choose from. Do you think this affects as to why we have low percentage of graduates?
I don’t think so, the low numbers of graduates in Mombasa cannot be attributed to limited courses alone. I believe its credited to a combination of factors.
Are there enough resource centers (career centers/youth centers) for the youth in Mombasa?
No, and that’s part of the reason which led Kuza to support set-up of the Imarisha Vijana centres
What kinds of decisions are most difficult for you?
Wow, did you really have to ask this! But let’s see, ummmm……eeeehhhhh……..answering this is the most difficult, you know. hehehe. Okay, there are many decisions which would qualify as difficult but I think those I dread the most would be decisions around financial issues. There you have it.
How do you balance between life and work?
By living my life to the fullest when not working and working hard when It’s working time
Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
Inshaallah I like seeing myself running my own business, though only Allah knows better.
Thank God for everything. Love and respect your parents. And work hard, always