Hope for skilled Jua Kali artisans hunting for tenders

jua kali

Jua Kali artisan at work. FILE PHOTO | NMG

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday gave the Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) a 30-day ultimatum to issue a policy framework for recognition of informal-sector skills.

The President directed the agency to come up with a comprehensive plan under which youths in the Jua Kali sector can be awarded certificates based on the skills they have acquired at work and without having to seek formal education. 

The President said the policy would address unfairness in tendering for contracts, which often locks out Jua Kali artisans and craftsmen due to lack of papers. 

“I am announcing today a new initiative by my administration to provide a framework for recognition of the skills through awarding of certificates based on competence, to better enable them to participate in various economic opportunities,” said President Kenyatta during the Madaraka Day celebrations in Kisumu.

The President said the policy intervention would expand opportunities for artisans and craftsmen in the Jua Kali sector to participate meaningfully in the country’s economy.

The KNQA began developing the policy guidelines in 2018 but is yet to roll them out.

The Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a policy aimed at acknowledging all persons who have acquired skills and competencies from informal and non-formal settings.

The policy targets the youth and individuals seeking certification and recognition of their competencies regardless of their educational background.

The RPL will be used to identify, assess and certify a candidate’s knowledge, skills and competencies acquired in non-formal or informal learning, such as work or life experiences, against prescribed standards or learning outcomes.


On Wednesday, KNQA Director-General Juma Mukhwana welcomed the President’s directive and said the authority is ready to roll out the policy.

“The RPL is a programme that we use to recognise skills that people in the Jua Kali sector have, be it in plumbing, masonry and tourism – among others – even if someone has not gone through formal learning,” said Dr Mukhwana.

The director said the KNQA would engage the youths in the Jua Kali sector and encouraged them to apply for assessment.

He assured them the authority would issue them with certificates to enable them find jobs or further their studies.

The policy will be based on an individual’s skills, competencies and evidence portfolio.

Once one proves to be qualified, the KNQA will issue a certificate of recognition.

The RPL process takes six weeks from the time an individual submits their evidence portfolio to the time a certificate is awarded.

It involves assessment of practical work experience one has gained in either the formal or the informal sector.

Individuals are required to submit their curriculum vitae outlining the specific job they do and the skills they have, samples of their work and products, videos and photographs of the work, skills logbooks, details of formal training and testimonials from current or previous employers and customers.

All persons with acquired skills are eligible to apply for the certification.

Through the RPL, the government seeks to promote employability, mobility, progression and fair chances in education to the disadvantaged, discouraged and traditionally marginalised groups.