Youth Entrepreneurship and Leadership Development Program (YELD)
KVDA will prepare young people to be healthy, productive, and engaged citizens. We believe that educated, employed, and engaged young people possess human power
1.1 Description of the Problem/Challenges
Challenges Facing Youth in Kenya: Below are some risk factors that affect entrepreneurship development in particular:
• Rites of Passage: The absence of rites of passage means that youth are no longer
well prepared for adulthood by the traditional means of providing youth with
mentors who give them advice to equip them for adulthood;
• Education: Suitability of education/vocational training for the labor market.
There is limited access to secondary schools and alternative forms of education
are lacking. There is also a need for life skills training in the education
curriculum. At present, students are trained just to pass exams;
• Inequality/regional disparity: There is inequality in many fields, and often this has
a regional aspect. Youth in certain geographical regions are marginalized, with
restricted access to opportunities that are available to other young persons. In
urban areas, poor youth and those living in slum areas have severely limited
access to services and opportunities;
• Society’s attitude towards youth: Youth face discrimination purely on the grounds
of age. This is legitimatized by beliefs such as wisdom only comes with age, and
that youth is merely a transition period. Society also perceives youth as
irresponsible and troublemakers. This perception may contribute to difficulty in
• Expectations of youth: Society’s expectations of young people are not very clear.
A gap in expectations has opened between what parents and older generations
expect of youth on the one hand, and the expectations of youth themselves
(influenced by their peers, and the media, etc.). Society’s expectations of youth
may overshadow personal expectations and overwhelm youth. There is also an
assumption that white-collar jobs are best and little encouragement is offered to
youth to take up blue-collar jobs;
• Displacement: Especially in slum areas, the demolition of homes has displaced
many youth. Others were rendered homeless by the politically inspired ethnic
clashes around election time in the 1990s. Homes on proposed road routes, close
to power lines and railway tracks are being demolished. The social
consequences, both short and long term, of such displacement are severe;
• Policies: Gaps in, and unsuitability of, existing policy can be cited, along with
important problems of implementation. Absence of youth participation in actual
decision-making or implementation of policies affecting them was also cited.
Youth are merely used as tokens in the policy formulation process;
• Corruption: Corruption can be cited as one of the major risk factors affecting youth.
It results in unequal access to resources. It is especially cited as a problem when
youth are trying to establish businesses. Those who lack money to bribe have
difficulty in getting assistance to set up their businesses;
• Transition: Kenya is undergoing transition in many areas and this affects youth
particularly. For example, there is a transition from an agrarian to an information based society, yet knowledge is not keeping up with the changes. Changes in social expectations are also resulting in confusion. Children are obliged to take on the roles of adults when households are decimated by HIV/AIDS. The influence and support of the extended family is also declining;
• Choice of Role Models: Negative role models tend to be elevated. There is a
dearth of positive models for leadership roles, exacerbated by the negative and
corrupt image of leaders projected by the media. Parents, too, may often present
negative role models in alcoholism and violence. The media glorifies negative
role models, such as drug barons and advertisements for alcohol glamorize risky
1.2 Diagnosis of the Problem
Root causes of the problem
• Mindset of Adults and Youth: There is a need for adults and youth to change their
mindset. No one gives youth opportunities because of negative perceptions about
youth. The youth on the other hand also need to change their mindset and believe
• Society: There is a lack of effective communication between youth and society at
large. There is a need for society at large to support youth. Society may use two
approaches to get government support in advocacy and activism as well as in
setting priorities and getting government support for them.
• Family: Family attitudes and behavior may have a negative effect on youth.
Family social capital plays a role in accessing resources and employment, though
it also results in unequal opportunity among youth.
• Education: Limited access to education and training as well as lack of relevance
of education to the Kenyan job market;
• Youth sexuality: HIV/AIDS, teen pregnancy and single parenthood are some
• Employment: Limited availability of employment opportunities and skills training
for the Kenyan job market. More opportunities for youth e.g. apprenticeships,
internships and business mentoring are needed;
• Finance: Limited access to finance for youth to establish themselves in
• Market access: Limited market opportunities for youth;
• Governance: There is limited planning and coordination among existing youth
agencies. As a result, action is fragmented between a large number of groups in
different areas. There is a tendency for priorities to be driven by donors rather
than receiving countries;
• Role of government: Government should create an enabling environment for
youth organizations and other stakeholders to exercise responsibility, rather than
adopt direct responsibility. There is more scope for encouraging partnership and
Needs: The proposed program will address the following needs:
• High unemployment.
• Need to sell the idea of entrepreneurship.
• Setting clear goals.
• Stimulate self employment.
• Better link youth to the private sector.
• Basic computer skills and work readiness related life skills.
• Enterprise development and vocational skills.
What outcomes will our project achieve?
YELD program will improve young people’s employability prospects by preparing them for quality jobs and helping others succeed as entrepreneurs. A staggering number of young people in Nairobi are unable to find decent work. At the same time, employers cite lack of skills as a major impediment to hiring youth for those jobs that do exist. Working to fill this gap, we will equip youth with life skills and technical know-how, while connecting them to the mentors, internships, and job placement services they need to succeed in the job market. We will also help youth employ themselves and create new jobs by training them to be entrepreneurs and linking them to the capital needed to start new businesses. Using our proven program model as a guide, we will collaborate with institutions across sectors to focus greater attention and resources on combating youth unemployment in Nairobi. Our youth work program will lead the way; and will be implemented with support and collaboration from Voluntary Associations Consortium of Kenya (VASCO), and will provide more than 500 youth every year with knowledge and skills they need to effectively compete in the 21st century labour market.