Raila unveils plan to boost Jua Kali sector if elected president

ODM leader Raila Odinga [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga has recommended the adaption and implementation of the Recognition of Prior Learning Policy (RPL) in Kenya's Jua Kali sector.

RPL, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) is the process of helping individuals acquire a formal qualification that matches their knowledge and skills, contributing to improving their employability, lifelong learning, social inclusion and self-esteem.

Odinga, in a televised address today, hopes the policy will provide for recognition of knowledge, skills and competencies regardless of where and how they were acquired. 

The Azimio la Umoja presidential flagbearer acknowledged Jua Kali artisans consists of millions of Kenyans whose skills are unrecognised by the formal system.

"Apart from addressing issues of decent worksites, more operating space and land to the bulging population, a market for their products and affordable credit, it is critical to recognize and reward them with recognition for the skills that they possess and are constantly refining while passing on to the next generation of skilled laborers," he said.

He added that skilled workers were underpaid due to lack of recognised certification. He said the RPL policy would play a key role in improving the lives of jua kali workers.

Raila sampled painters, tile fitters, mechanics, plumbers and furniture makers whom he praised for doing a good job but regretted they had to use middlemen to secure job opportunities.

“Jua kali workers instead go to middlemen who have papers but no skills, who in turn hire the tile fitters and take the lion share of the payout. With RPL certification, this will change completely," Odinga said.

“Thousands of people flock to the jua kali sector mechanics and garages where they get satisfactory work but get less for their expertise due to lack of appropriate recognition and certification."

Odinga said that the use of the RPL system offered hope to the disadvantaged. "It is a system that celebrates what one can do as opposed to the papers they possess and bring about flexibility as opposed to conformity," Raila said.  

Additionally, he noted that adoption of the system would impact positively on the lives of workers and learners of all ages, unemployed persons, refugees, migrants and other marginalised groups.