Naivasha – In Naivasha, Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, Alfred Mutua, has declared his dedication to revitalizing the tourism industry to generate job opportunities for graduates. Speaking at the 21st graduation of the Wildlife Research and Training Institute (WRTI), Mutua outlined his plan to implement reforms in the tourism and wildlife sectors to create employment opportunities for the increasing number of graduates, aiming to address the high unemployment rate among the youth.
According to Kenya News Agency, the reforms underway in the tourism sector are part of a broader strategy to align with the government's Bottom-Up Economic Transformative Agenda (BeTA). This initiative focuses on developing skills for innovation, employment, and creativity through the competent-based curriculum (CBC). The Cabinet Secretary emphasized the importance of education in driving economic development and encouraged WRTI to continue its role in research and training. He advised the institution to bridge the gap between research and training, ensuring that both areas complement each other.
Mutua also emphasized the need for WRTI to align its Strategic Plan with BeTA and the Medium-Term goals. He assured that his ministry would support the institute by providing resources for infrastructural and personnel development.
WRTI Director, Dr. Patrick Omondi, highlighted the institute's progress in conducting a Training Needs Assessment, informing a planned review of the curriculum to meet changing market demands and developing new programs. Omondi acknowledged challenges such as limited infrastructure, human resources, and financing for students. However, he noted measures like a Scholarship Policy, Work Study Policy, and a 30 percent fee reduction for Certificate Courses. Omondi appealed for more support from the ministry, including partnerships with development partners.
Omondi also detailed the institute's research achievements, including establishing a comprehensive wildlife database and undertaking various studies such as assessing carbon and biodiversity credit markets and mapping biodiversity hotspots. He revealed the institute's role in an international consortium working on research to save the Northern White Rhino from extinction.
The board chair and former governor of Kajiado County, Dr. David Nkedienye, acknowledged the institute's progress but emphasized the need for further investment in capital and human resources. He mentioned a Master Plan outlining the required infrastructure for the institute's headquarters and field research centers. Nkedienye also advocated for policy changes to allow the institute's trainees to receive loans from the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB), enhancing the institute's competitiveness and capacity building in the wildlife sector.