The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) has partnered with the European Union to launch a Sh50 million project in Mombasa to fight crime.
The four-year entrepreneurship project targets 110 groups across six counties and aims to empower youth by helping them start their own businesses.
During the launch, 11 youth groups were issued with "livelihood start-up kits" such as gas cylinders, coolers, fishing boats, car wash equipment, public address systems, among others, to implement their business ideas.
The youth had been trained for more than two months before being issued with the equipment.
KRCS Secretary-General Abbas Gullet said the project targets more than 2,000 youth in bid to fight crime and lift them out of poverty.
“We have given them these resources so that we can see how it’s going to impact their lives. We found it necessary to teach them how to be good citizens and start businesses to support themselves and their families,” he said.
Mr Gullet said the project will also cover Garissa and Mandera counties where crime rate is high because of rampant poverty and unemployment among the youth.
The KRCS boss said the first distribution of equipment to the groups was done in Kwale County two weeks ago.
“If we succeed, we will go back to the donors and ask for more funds so that we can expand the programme to other counties,” Mr Gullet said.
Mr Gullet said KRCS has been working together with county leaders to tame crime among the youth through economic empowerment.
He said the programme offers a second chance to youth who engaged in criminal activities by giving them an opportunity to empower themselves.
“Most of them have been on drugs and were criminals and had been shunned by their own communities. But this programme will give them a second chance in life so that they can become productive members of the society,” he said.
County Police Commander Johnston Ipara welcomed the initiative and vowed to crackdown on drug dealers.
Mr Ipara said the security team and civil organisations have been holding meetings to seek alternative ways to tame the high crime rate.