As COVID-19 advances, its effects become ever-more pronounced. The public health crisis is aggravated by the social and economic aftermath: job losses, school closures, increased poverty. The Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program will assist institutions and communities in Africa and within Indigenous communities in Canada to withstand and respond to the short-term impacts of this pandemic, while strengthening their resilience in the long-run.
Young Africa Works in Kenya is a public-private partnership to connect young Kenyans to dignified work.
The Goal: Five million young people in dignified and fulfilling work by 2023.
Context: In 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 workforce earning an average of US$59 per month.
Our Approach: We intend to break down barriers faced by young men and women when accessing work, skills development, or starting their own businesses. Building on Kenya’s progress in digital entrepreneurship, we will use technology to connect young people to work and provide entrepreneurs with faster and more efficient access to capital, mentorship, and business development services.
Priority sectors: Agriculture, manufacturing, housing, and health care.
Purity and Phenny built an urban farm in Kibera, Nairobi. As part of their enterprise, Kilimo Jijini, they teach vertical farming techniques to women who live in Kibera, so they can replicate the practices on the limited space that they have. By growing their own produce, these women no longer need to purchase lunch and can invest that money elsewhere. At the farm, Purity and Phenny have employed Mr. David, who instructs classes on agricultural practices as well as entrepreneurship, along with three others. Purity and Phenny believe that their role, as transformative leaders, includes addressing the problems that their communities face. This belief is what drives them to address food insecurity and create opportunities for entrepreneurship in Kibera.
Purity Kendi and Phenny Omondi, Founders of Kilimo Jijini, May 2019
Kevin aims to create prosperity for millions of families through a cooperative commercial avocado farm enterprise, where smallholder farmers form the primary base of production. He helps farmers increase their avocado yields by providing seedlings from his demo farm that will thrive on Kenyan soil and sell in international markets. Kevin has hired “lead” farmers who visit the smallholder farms to ensure the seeds are planted correctly and looked after. By 2030, Kevin aims to mobilize one million smallholder farmers.
“Most of Kenya’s food production is done by smallholder farmers working on less than 10 hectares. By working with smallholder farmers, we’re able to empower them to produce more, to provide labor and dignified and meaningful work opportunities for young people in rural areas and empower whole communities to access a better standard of living.” – Kevin K. Mochama
Kevin K. Mochama, Founder of FarmMoja, May, 2019
“I believe that entrepreneurs have a big role to create employment for a lot of youth in Africa. There are many problems that need to be solved, such as moving money to smallholder farmers, and produce to market. These are the gaps that are ripe for employment opportunities for youth, and we need more people to become entrepreneurs so that we can create more pathways for employment.” – Peris Bosire
Peris and her business partner, Rita Kimani launched FarmDrive to provide financial services to farmers through a mobile phone. To date, they have provided $800,000 in loans and have served more than 25,000 clients. The data they’ve generated provides smallholder farmers with a credit history so they can more easily access financial products. Peris recognizes that one enterprise alone cannot move the entire industry so their goal now is to help banks design financial products for farmers. “We can move money to where it is needed most, and now we need to open it up to financial institutions,” she explains.
Peris Bosire, Founder of FarmDrive, working with FarmDrive employees, May, 2019
John’s project, Ukulima Halisi, transforms what the insecure, lengthy process of tea collection to a matter of hours, ensuring that crops do not go to waste and, therefore resulting in better revenues for the farmers. Through his project, John aims to support family savings, healthier living, and the education outcomes of farmers’ children. Using a mobile application, his model alerts farmers to the date and time of tea collection and delivery to the factory. John hopes to create jobs for support staff and leverage simple technology to extend services to tea farmers not only in Kenya, but in Africa at large across Africa.
“I envision a world where systems help streamline agricultural processes in Africa and where farmers can make a better living.” – John Wanjiku
John Wanjiku, Founder of Ukulima Halisi, June, 2018
“My name is Irine Njeri Gachigua. I am 21 years old and currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in economics from Moi University, Kenya. I am passionate about working with young people, especially on issue of youth employment. Engaging youth on how to improve their livelihoods gives me great satisfaction because it’s my way of giving back and doing more for my country.” – Irine Njeri Gachigua
Irine Njeri Gachigua, Youth Think Tank Researcher, August, 2018
After completing his secondary education and facing financial barriers for entry to university, Davis started a small garbage collection business. With the money he earned, he supported his siblings, but did not have enough to advance his studies. Davis decided to enroll in a short course with CAP YEI. He completed training in electrical and electronics and gained important life skills. The entrepreneurship training helped him identify hidden opportunities in his community. With a mindset on creating jobs, Davis started his electrical and electronics business and founded a social enterprise called Child Ambassadors that advocates for the rights and welfare of children, youth, and young women. Later, he established Life Skills and Child Protection Training (LICPRO) services, a community-based organization to impart the right attitudes among police, children and youth institutions, parents and professionals. After recognizing that school drop-outs did not having the prerequisite education to join CAP YEI, Davis started Vision Adult Education Project where he improves literacy levels of the youth drop-outs.
Davis Wita, entrepreneur, August, 2018
“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.