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[KENYA]Indications of trainees’ self-independency

2019.11.25

My name is Saul Ambasu. I have worked as ISSB machine-operator/production trainer and direct sales man of ISSB machines for 5 years in Makiga Engineering Company. I joined Peace Winds Japan (PWJ) as the lead trainer for ISSB youth Livelihood project in 2017. It was my dream to work with an NGO that was either directly or indirectly assisting refugees. Joining PWJ was my greatest opportunity being in the refugee camp as NGO staff. Secondly I joined PWJ to expand my skills, getting exposed and working without limitations unlike working in a company. I am very excited seeing success in each step of youths as I extend my knowledge/skills to youths in the host community. I am hoping for the best as a trainer that those skills PWJ has extended to the youths will be of help for their livelihood in the future.

This year, PWJ has trained and offered trainees to gain more practical lessons on ISSB production and construction of ISSB classrooms. Constructions are going on in a few needy schools in the host community. Under the supervision of PWJ technical staff in the field, I am assisting the trainees in any technical areas for their better understanding.
PWJ is also working hard with ISSB trainees to ensure a strong public relation exercise. This is mainly because PWJ research report that was done in Garissa County stated that “people have a bad perception about ISSB.” PWJ is reaching out to the community, business men, parastatals and partners via workshops to convince them about ISSB as the best building material. Groups are conducting presentations by practically producing at least a block and explaining to audience about the process and advantages of ISSB over other building materials. So far the workshops conducted have been fruitful and the some of the audience are convinced to use ISSB.

Construction of ISSB classroom wall in Bulakheir primary by trainees

Partners, Business men and host community during the Second ISSB workshop in Alijugur, Fafi sub county

Five ISSB groups started their own ISSB production
Through the above practical training, ISSB groups were formed to continue producing blocks with an aim of making a business out of this. They can now produce blocks with confidence. The eight cooperative groups registered are being supported by PWJ through borrowing ISSB machines when they got ISSB customers. Five groups out of eight have reached out to potential customers and are in serious ISSB production.
One of the groups called Amako has gone to an extent of creating a good rapport with Community members. One of the community member known as Ahmed Husein assisted Amako group with truck for soil transportation to site as they requested. I am happy to see groups working hard to find customers by themselves and requesting for assistance from community members. This is a positive indicator that our ISSB groups have started to move and act by themselves beyond support from PWJ. I will continue to work as a trainer with a supportive heart of standing with them by quick response to their needs and challenges, till they will be competent enough to stand by themselves as livelihood is concerned in this project.

Amaco group loading soil in the track for ISSB production

Fafi group producing ISSB for their customers

As a lead trainer I am looking forward to coaching these trainees through PWJ by doing regular follow-up to their sites, to ensure quality ISSB production, their safety as they use the machines and strong skills as they catch up and even to do so in the future to ensure their total encouragement both in production and in creating the market for their ISSB.