Employment-Intensive Investment in Kenya

Web page | 08 February 2017

Current EIIP Involvement

Kenya is in the process of restructuring its occupational safety and health operations and related institutional setup in line with the Constitution. The country adopted the revised occupational safety and health legislation in 2007 that is now in the process of being aligned to the Constitution of 2010. A coherent national Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) policy has been adopted in 2011 and formally launched in 2013. The policy affirms the country’s commitment to establishing tripartite mechanisms to fostering a preventative safety and health approach and culture which is key to achieving lasting improvements in the handling of occupational safety and health in all sectors.

In the application and implementation of the national OSH policy, all sectors of the economy are expected to mainstream OSH in their regular programmes and projects as laid out in the national OSH policy, statues and guidelines. The infrastructure sector is one of the pillars identified in V2030, Kenya's long-term development, as a vehicle to spur economic and social development. Due to its size of investment and coverage, promoting safe and healthy working conditions in this sector is a necessity for its sustainability and for ensuring a safe, healthy and productive workforce.

In line with this policy, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure (MoTI), with the assistance from the ILO, is currently developing an OSH policy for the Roads sub-sector. So far, the process has involved stakeholders’ consultations, a rapid assessment of the management of OSH in the sector and the preparation of the draft OSH policy with the assistance of a local and international consultant. The ILO through the EIIP has supported the process of policy preparation as well as in providing valuable information on international best practices on OSH. Furthermore, ILO constituents have actively participated on the initial consultations as well as in the process of preparing the policy. Currently, the draft policy is in place and undergoing review by wider stakeholders and peers.

Historical Information

The ILO has been active in the rural roads in Kenya since the start of EIIP. The EIIP through its Advisory Support, Information Services, and Training Programme (ASIST) in Africa supported the implementation of the Rural Access Program and the Minor Roads program. It also took active part in the formulation and development of Roads 2000 road maintenance programme. The ILO was instrumental in establishing and strengthening of the Kisii Training Centre (KTC) at the initial stages of development. In 2005 the ILO, in collaboration with the United Nations development Programme (UNDP), assisted the Government of Kenya in updating the Training Materials and established the General Training Plan for labor based road works under the Roads 2000 programme. The ILO also established standardized contract management and tender procedures for smaller roads works which were incorporated in the KTC course modules.

The ILO in collaboration with the Government of Sweden also implemented Technical Assistance projects aimed at building national capacity for the coordination and implementation Roads 2000 programme. The Roads 2000 Programme is a road maintenance initiative that advances the use of a combination of optimum labour force and appropriate equipment when technically and economically feasible. The ILO/Sweden project ran from March 2009 to 31 December 2013. The total cost of the project was estimated at USD3.7 million. The ILO (EIIP) technical assistance centred around the building of technical capacities of road authorities particularly in contract management and administration of employment intensive road works and mainstreaming of social and environmental dimensions in the delivery of road projects and introducing alternative paving technologies that amendable for job creation.

In 2012, the Government of Japan and the ILO jointly initiated the “Youth Employment for Sustainable Development Project” (YESD) with the aim of empowering the young women and men through developing their skills and increasing their participation in the rehabilitation and maintenance of roads using employment intensive techniques, in particular “Cobblestone paving” and “Do-nou technology”.

In the period of 9 months, the project managed to build national capacity for the planning and implementation of Cobblestone and Do-nou technology. The project provided technical skills training to 830 young men and women; 150 of them received business training. As a result, 20 small and medium enterprises owned by youth were established to work on road maintenance using Do-nou technology. Another group of 330 youth registered their business using the cobblestone road paving technology. Among the 830 youth trained, 260 (31%) were women.

In addition, three centres of excellence for Cobblestone training were developed in three technical and vocational training institutions under the Ministry of Roads and Ministry of Youth. A cobblestone training curriculum was also developed and a total of 13 trainers (5 women) and 4 small contractors were trained as part of the building the capacity of the above mentioned institutions. Advocacy and awareness creation activities targeting senior managers and policy makers in government were undertaken through public meeting, workshops and study tours to project sites.

The EIIP developed a number of technical manuals and guidelines for the road sub-sector in Kenya and elsewhere. These include:
  • Guidelines for prevention & control of soil erosion in road works. The Environmental guideline were finalized in November 2010 and launched by the H.E. the Vice President, Hon. Stephen K. Musyoka, EGH, M. P. in a ceremony which took place at Laico Regency Hotel on 8th December 2010.
  • Environmental guidelines for Roads Sub-sector
  • Roads sub-sector Policy and guidelines for Gender, Child Right, Community Participation, PWD and HIV& Aids
  • Guidelines for the management of Cobblestone projects 

Further reading

  • Strategy for Economic and Social Recovery Government of Kenya. 2001.
  • Site Supervisor Course for labour-based and community-managed upgrading
  • of urban low-income settlements.
  • Basic Course Manual - PDF 2,954 Kb
  • Skills Course Manual - PDF 6,771 Kb
  • Supervisor's Site Reference Handbook - PDF 3,905 Kb
  • Andreas Beusch, Marie Winsvold, ILO ASIST Africa, International Labour Office, Geneva, 2002
  • The Rural Access Roads Programme – Appropriate technology in Kenya
  • J. De Veen, ILO, 1993
  • International course for engineers and managers of labour-based road construction and maintenance: Course notes Volume 1 & 2: Lecturer's notes Volume 3; Curriculum Volume 4
  • A. Beusch and J. De Veen, ILO, 1991