Ten Somali nationals have completed three-week hands-on training on road maintenance using Do-nou technology at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. The participants were inducted on the use of local resources including labour and materials to improve accessibility especially in rural settings.
Do-nou is a Japanese technology of road repair that utilizes gunny bags filled with appropriate materials such as gravel, sand or construction waste. The bags are then systematically laid for spot improvement on impassable roads.
The training was made possible through a collaborative venture between the University; Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and a Japanese international NGO – Community Road Empowerment (CORE).
Mustafa Bashir from the Daadab Refugee camp said the skills acquired during the training would enable him to make meaningful contribution to the wellbeing of other refugees living in the camp.
“Life in the camp is never easy. Sometimes it floods and makes the precincts unlivable. From the training, I have learned skills that we can use as refugee community to make and repair service and feeder roads in the camp,” he said.
Mustafa added that he hopes to be a change agent in the camp and thanked the organizers for granting him the opportunity to undertake the training.
Eng. Abdullahi Abdi Hasan who heads the reconstruction section of the Somalia’s Ministry of Public Works said infrastructure in many parts of Somalia have been run down due to conflict in the country.
Abdullahi therefore expressed optimism that the beneficiaries would cascade their knowledge on Do-nou technology to other Somalis from urban and country sides.
“Over 75% of Somali nationals are youthful. With the new government, we could leverage this demographic and improve infrastructure in our country,” he said.
Jaweria Sheikh Hassan, the only woman participant in the training lauded the initiative; saying that it would foster her standing as a woman scientist in the eyes of Somali girls and women.
Jaweria who currently serves as a chief engineer with the Ministry of Public Works noted that Somali women continue to face numerous challenges including lack of opportunities for socio-economic progress.
“I am glad that we are seeing more girls graduating from college with science degrees. I hope to mentor and empower more girls to assert themselves as productive members of the society.
Speaking during a ceremony to mark the end of the training, UNHCR Livelihoods Officer Danya Kattan said the training offered the beneficiaries great opportunities for social and economic inclusion.
“Road maintenance is a high demand enterprise and therefore the training is market driven. It also gave refugee participants the valuable opportunity to share and exchange ideas with colleagues from Somalia,” Danya said.
The officer added that skilling of refugees was an important process in the reintegration into society. Danya said UNHCR would wish to see more refuges equipped with practical skills through strategic partnerships.
JICA Kenya Office Chief Representative, Keiko Sano said the training was informed by the move by government of Somalia to promote labour based technologies as a way of creating employment to reduce and jumpstart economic recovery.
“I encourage the participants to make rational choices and make their communities better through road rehabilitation and maintenance works using gained skills,” Sano advised.
JKUAT Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Research, production and Extension, Prof. Mary Abukutsa said the University was glad to have played a part in bettering the lives of the participants.
Prof. Abukutsa noted that JKUAT was home to a number of progressive technologies that could be tapped to hoist Africa’s socio-economic transformation.