Toyota Kenya Foundation, Japanese Government And UN Women Launch Training Programme Targeting Women, Youth And Refugees For Economic Empowerment

Toyota Foundation Kenya
Michelin Nikundana (left), a Burundian-refugee at Kakuma and a trainee at the Toyota Kenya Academy talks through the automotive rear-lighting system to Katee Mwanza (right), Commissioner, Department of Refugee Services under the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, Anna Mutavati (front centre), Country Representative, UN Women Kenya and other officials during the launch of a new training programme for women and youth from Kakuma Refugee Camp and Turkana host communities supported by Toyota Kenya Foundation, UN Women and the Government of Japan. [Photo/ Courtesy]

The Toyota Kenya Foundation, in partnership with UN Women and, with funding from the Government of Japan, has launched a new training programme for women and youth from Kakuma Refugee Camp and Turkana host communities.  The auto-motive repair and maintenance course brings an initial cohort of 30 students to Nairobi to build on their livelihood skills and increase future job opportunities.

The Government of Japan provided UN Women with approximately US$4.6 million to enhance the resilience of women from refugee camps and host communities in Kenya.

The partnership between UN Women and Toyota Kenya Foundation Registered Trustees (TKFRT) is specifically designed to enable refugees to be more self-reliant in the long-term. The programme will also foster more productive socio-economic interactions between refugee and host communities, leveraging their skills for a broader economic development in Kenya.

In addition to the training programme in Nairobi, Toyota Kenya Foundation and UN Women are establishing a new auto-motive garage in Turkana County to provide a workplace for the graduates of the Toyota trainees. The garage is being constructed in partnership with the Department of Refugee Services under the Ministry of Interior, Turkana County Government and Peace Winds Japan.

Through the programme, UN Women also strives for the economic empowerment of women through science and technology-based training courses and seeks to increase job and income generation opportunities in the manufacturing and engineering fields – where their male counterpart is often dominant. Through the strategic partnerships of the Government of Japan, UN Women and Toyota Kenya Foundation, the programme is expected to bring a major paradigm shift in humanitarian contexts.

In his remarks, Japanese Ambassador to Kenya, Ken Okaniwa said, “Japan has continuously supported refugees and host communities in Kenya through contributions to UN organizations and Japanese NGOs. Japan’s contribution amounted to nearly USD 23 million in fiscal 2019 – 2022 including funds for UN WOMEN. I look forward to seeing the trainees return after completing the course, improving their livelihoods, and promoting economic growth in the local areas.”

UN Women Kenya Country Representative, Anna Mutavati, stressed the importance of women’s economic empowerment in humanitarian contexts: “Women and girls affected by conflict and disasters face heightened risks and endure bigger obstacles in accessing opportunities to grow. Initiatives like this can provide stable sources of income for meeting their daily needs including health, education and food security. It also increases freedom from domestic violence and options for walking out of abusive relationships.” Beside this training programme, UN WOMEN will build facilities to train women leaders, assist a county in developing a gender-related plan, host gender-related training courses, and implement various initiatives for women from refugee camps and local communities in Kenya with funding from Japan.

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