Young Kenyans Creating Opportunities Through CAP YEI
Program Provides Skills Training and Connects Young People to Internships and Job Placements
Kenya has been experiencing a relatively strong economic growth over the last decade. With a youth population (18 to 35 years) of nearly 10 million, more than 20 percent of its overall population, Kenya is experiencing a “youth bulge.” However, Kenyan youths have a much higher unemployment rate than the rest of the population. Approximately 800,000 young Kenyans enter the labour market every year and youth unemployment is estimated to be as high as 35 percent while; the overall national unemployment rate is 10 percent. Furthermore, 80 percent of unemployed Kenyans are below 35 years of age.
CAP Youth Empowerment Institute is a Kenyan non-profit providing job-entry skills training to youth out of school. The success of the program is demonstrated by the following stories from three CAP YEI alumni.
Davis Wita is an entrepreneur managing an electrical and electronics shop and an electrical installation services company. He is also the founder of Child Ambassadors and Vision Adult Education.
Davis was born in a polygamous family that experienced extreme poverty and suffering when his father died. After he completed his secondary school education but could not raise enough money to go to university, he started a small garbage collection business. The money raised from his business was enough to get he and his siblings by, but not enough to advance his studies.
Davis heard about CAP YEI from one of his garbage collection clients and decided to enroll in a short course. He was skeptical in the beginning, doubtful that he could manage to run his small business and attend a short course training at the same time. However, with motivational support from the CAP YEI centre coordinator, the flexibility in CAP YEI training, and Davis’ determination to improve his life, he managed to complete training in electrical and electronics. Davis says the CAP YEI life skills and entrepreneurship training provided important and life changing lessons. The life skills training gave him psychological support, confidence, self-knowledge, and assertiveness. Entrepreneurship training developed his research skills which helped him identify hidden opportunities in his community. As he had always aspired to create jobs, he started his electrical and electronics business and also founded a social enterprise called Child Ambassadors that advocates for the rights and welfare of children, youth, and young women. He then established Life Skills and Child Protection Training (LICPRO) services a community based organisation targeting the police, children and youth institutions, parents and professionals to impart the right attitudes in them.
Davis identified a challenge for youth school drop-outs, in that they did not have the prerequisite education to join CAP YEI, and started Vision Adult Education Project where he improves literacy levels of the youth drop-outs.
Davis credits CAP YEI for ‘widening his thinking’ by giving him the tools he required to envision new opportunities and develop new skills.
Herman Githinji is an ‘A’ secondary student graduate who rose from being a mason’s assistant to a small sole enterprise owner to an employer in the marketing and branding sector in Kenya.
Herman was raised in a financially challenged community and had to fend for himself and his family. He excelled in his secondary school studies and achieved a whopping ‘A’. After his secondary school education, he worked as an assistant to a mason, which provided income to buy food and basic essentials for he and his siblings.
Herman heard about CAP YEI from a village elder and joined to sharpen his entrepreneurship skills. He was driven by his desire to acquire business skills to be self-employed and create job opportunities for youths as financially disadvantaged as he was.
Through practical training at CAP YEI, Herman also gained life skills to become more confident, sociable, and outgoing. His positive change of attitude and mind-set enabled him to become a small merchandise entrepreneur.
He began by selling eggs, sausages then ground nuts and finally sweets. He was able to move from one business venture to another by analyzing opportunities, expenses, profits, and shifting along the way to optimize financial return so he could continue his studies.
He was later able to build enough savings to start a clothes fashion boutique. Unfortunately, this business venture closed after five months due to lack of capital which also left him in debt. His resilience came to play and he decided to start a marketing and branding business, as well as events management and planning.
In addition, he started his university education in surveying and hopes to also start a real estate business.
Lewis Njuguna is a hospitality professional and aspiring catering services business owner.
Unsure what to do next, equipped only with a secondary school certificate, Lewis Njuguna joined CAP YEI after learning about it through a friend. Lewis knew that CAP YEI would develop his skills to ensure he had a chance in the world of work. He was very excited to get a place where he could learn affordably as finance was a limiting factor for him.
Lewis was trained in hospitality, life skills, and entrepreneurship at CAP YEI. The life skills training gave him the right attitude and mindset to want to learn more. He was able to look at life and the opportunities it presented with an open and determined mind. As he said, “…learning more as I grow even wiser and more knowledgeable due to the extra pair of eyes given to me by CAP YEI”.
Lewis is currently employed in hospitality. This was the result of the CAP YEI internship program partnership with a hospitality company. The company decided to retain Lewis after his internship because of his exemplary work and diligence in his endeavors.
Lewis aspires to be a business owner himself and is now in the market research phase of setting up a food and beverage company.
Davis Wita, Herman Githinji, Lewis Njuguna are alumni of the CAP YEI program.