I’m now two weeks in Kenya and I must admit that these two weeks were a bit intense. Next to receiving training by the founders of _Social Starters, reading case studies and watching inspiring TED Talks dealing with creativity, innovation, idea generation and social entrepreneurship, we have been leading our own sessions with the VSO Jitolee’s alumni and we met with four Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF) youth groups.
VSO Jitolee’s alumni interested in Social Entrepreneurship
The VSO Jitolee’s alumni we work with volunteered for VSO’s International Citizen Service (ICS) in Kenya. ICS is a UK government funded programme for 18 – 25 year olds which brings UK and local volunteers together to work on 3 month volunteer programme in developing countries. The core mandate of VSO Jitolee is to promote volunteerism to address global poverty by enhancing the participation of disadvantaged members of society in socio-economic and political development. They believe that the greatest impact we can have on poverty and disadvantage is sharing skills through the implementation of quality programmes in Kenya.
We (the Social Enterprise Consultants) are working with a small group of alumni who expressed their interest in launching their own social enterprise and further training. So far, we discussed topics like social issues in their city, creativity, innovation, ideation and customer market research. On Friday, they have been introduced to the Business Model Canvas (BMC) and they started thinking about business ideas. In the remaining four weeks, we will work one-to-one with them to help them identify and test their own social business ideas.
YEDF reducing unemployment among young people in Kenya
The other groups we are working with are registered youth groups with the Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF). YEDF is a government organisation that was established in 2006 with the sole purpose of reducing unemployment among young people in the country. Youth unemployment, just like corruption, is a huge issue in Kenya. National unemployment stands at around 40%, and rougly 70% of these unemployed are youth. Therefore, the target of the YEDF is young people between 18-35 years. Registered youth groups are able to access loans through YEDF to set up their own enterprises.
Until mid of December we will work with four grassroot social enterprises based in Eldoret:
1. Old Uganda Road Youth Group
2. Kamukunji Village Youth Group
3. Capsoya Youth Group
4. Cheptiret Eldoret Youth Group
I’m personally “only” involved in the Old Uganda Road Youth Group and the Cheptiret Eldoret Youth Group, therefore I want to give you a short overview of both groups:
Old Uganda Road Youth Group – Together we can make a difference
The group started in 2005 after seeing so many youths in the community were idle and without work. They registered as a Youth Group (Self-Help Group) in 2006 by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Development. They started by organising free clean up campaigns within the estate and collected garbage on a voluntary basis for 5 consecutive years.
In 2010, the group won a tender with government and since then they provide private garbage collection in 5 neighbouring districts and they run a salon/barber shop to generate income for their activities.
Their vision is to empower youths towards self employment and they want to encourage the community to live in a clean and attractive environment. What I like most about them is that they share knowledge and skills among the group members as they understand that there is always something to learn from each other. The background of their members is diverse, ranging from taxi drivers, to business owners and social workers. Group membership is open to all youth between the ages 18-35 years. Members above 35 years act as advisors.
The future plan of the Old Uganda Road Youth Group is to register as a company to employ (more) youth in the area. They also want to purchase their own truck and start recycling and upcyling businesses.
Together, we will look at global waste management practices, other income generating opportunities and try to tackle some of their current challenges.
Cheptiret Eldoret Youth Group – Choosing opportunity over violence
The Cheptiret Group formed after the post-election violence in 2007 to bring different tribes together and to evacuate poverty. Their mission is to eradicate poverty by empowering the community to be self-reliant using the available resources.
HIV/AIDS and peace-building is their main focus, however they are also involved with voluntary garbage collection, entrepreneurship training and they help other youths forming groups.
They formed a HIV/AIDS support group and are involved in different educational activities to fight HIV/AIDS. To generate income for their activities, they hire out tens, chairs and a PA system. They also have a tree nursery. However, at the moment they are not financial stable because hiring tents is only a seasonal business.
The future plan of this youth group is to become financial stable, employ youth, fight HIV/AIDS and build a children’s home for orphans.
Together, we will look at their strategic plan, try to identify different income generating activities and discuss some of the other challenges their face.