Our public-private partnerships support growing industries and identify work opportunities for young Kenyans, in alignment with the Kenyan government’s Vision 2030 agenda and focus on the digital economy.
The Goal: Five million young people in dignified and fulfilling work by 2030.
Context: Over the next five years, there will be an estimated six million un- and underemployed Kenyans—the majority of whom will be young people. Underemployed young Kenyans earn an average of US$0.2 per day, compared to the rest of the workforce earning an average of US$1.95 per day.
Our Approach: Support micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) with access to finance, business development services, and entrepreneurship training. Link youth aged 18-35 to digital and online work opportunities, with emphasis on making digital skills programs more accessible to young women. Offer scholarships for young women to enable access to manufacturing and construction work, and help sharpen offerings from technical training institutions for highly skilled, in-demand grads.
Priority sectors: Agriculture, manufacturing, housing, and health care.
Originally launched as a way for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access influencer marketers, Esther Kimani and Peter Kironji’s Twiva platform responded to the pandemic by becoming a public health education platform. The Mastercard Foundation Scholars worked closely with health officials to identify COVID-19 hot spots, leveraged geo-targeting tools, and activated local micro-influencers through Twiva to educate residents on COVID-19 precautions and social distancing protocols.
Grace Bako and Dorris Mwangi first saw a need for quality educational resources for children in Kibera, Kenya. Then they noticed the libraries were underresourced and lacking in quality books. Working further, they identified a need for mentorship programs in local high schools. The Mastercard Foundation Scholars’ dedicated work has culminated into a resource centre accessible to more than 600 children, where they can safely access books, mentorships, and skills-based training.
The Anzisha Program supports young entrepreneurs 15 to 22 years old, such as Ifrah Arab Mohamed, founder and CEO of SuperMom. Mohamed’s Kenyan-based social enterprise works with women in marginalized communities, helping them sell fast-moving consumer goods such as rice, flour, and sugar. Having earned the respect and trust of these communities, Mohamed was also able to leverage her SuperMom network to share reliable information about COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
“Africa’s young people are its greatest resource. And it’s because this is where the innovation lies; this is where the energy lies, and the only way the continent can actually move forward is by tapping into that resource.” – Roselyn Mugo, Law Student, Kenya
Young people want to drive change. More than just beneficiaries of programs, this generation wants to create work opportunities for others. Their voices and ambitions have helped shape Young Africa Works in Kenya and will continue to play a central role as we move forward.