Eldoret’s Jua Kali Sector: A Beacon of Hope Amidst Unemployment

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By Odilia Jepkirui
As Kenya grapples with the persistent challenge of unemployment, the Jua Kali sector is emerging as a crucial lifeline for many young men and women in Eldoret town. With formal white-collar job opportunities dwindling, the informal sector offers a viable alternative for those seeking to make a living and build a future.

In Eldoret, a growing number of locals have turned to the Jua Kali industry, finding employment as mechanics, hotel waiters, and boda boda riders. These individuals are not only eking out a living but also discovering personal satisfaction and success through their work.

Peter, a mechanic in Eldoret, reflects on his passion for the trade. “This is inborn. From childhood, I loved fixing cars, and that’s why I have reached this level of expertise,” he says. Peter’s story highlights how early interests can translate into a fulfilling career despite broader economic challenges.

Aaron, a young entrepreneur, chose self-employment over seeking government jobs. “I decided it was better for me to be self-employed because the current government cannot employ all of us youths,” Aaron explains. His decision underscores a growing trend where individuals are creating their own opportunities rather than waiting for official positions.

Simeon, a boda boda rider, speaks to the practical reasons behind his choice. “Here in Kenya, many people are educated, but there are no jobs. So, the easiest job I could do was this one,” he notes. Simeon’s experience mirrors a common sentiment among the youth who are turning to informal sector jobs as a means of survival.

Despite their success, those in the Jua Kali sector face significant challenges. Simeon describes some of the difficulties he encounters: “The challenges are many. During sunny weather, we suffer from dust and heat, and in cold weather, we endure the chill while working.” These hardships illustrate the tough conditions under which many of these workers operate daily.

Nevertheless, the resilience and commitment displayed by these workers offer a powerful lesson in self-reliance and perseverance. Their stories serve as a reminder that success does not necessarily require working for a large corporation but can be achieved through dedication and hard work in various fields.

The Jua Kali sector in Eldoret exemplifies how informal employment can serve as a critical alternative to shrinking formal job opportunities. Through passion, self-employment, and practical choices, these individuals are forging paths to success and demonstrating that determination and hard work can lead to meaningful achievements.

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