Three steps to successfully empower youth in Kenya

Partnering to equip the youth with the essential skills, knowledge, and experiences needed to thrive in an ever-evolving world.

© Eunice Murathe

Amidst the vibrant cities and sprawling rural landscapes of Kenya, a silent crisis persists, holding back the dreams and aspirations of its youth: unemployment. Year after year, thousands of young individuals find themselves trapped in uncertainty, their potential unrealized and their ambitions stifled. However, within these challenges, there shines a glimmer of hope; a call to action that demands our attention.

By providing vital skills through vocational training, technical education, and mentorship programs, we can break the chains of limitation. Embracing the entrepreneurial spirit, we foster innovation, creativity, and self-reliance, empowering young people to take control of their own destinies and forge their unique paths.

Enter the Danida funded Ajira Poa! Project—an emblem of hope, offering a transformative journey that opens doors to a multitude of opportunities for ambitious young individuals. Through a meticulously crafted journey, this initiative aims to equip the youth with the essential skills, knowledge, and experiences needed to thrive in an ever-evolving world. So, let us delve into the captivating realm of the Ajira Poa! Project and discover how it empowers the youth, unlocking their true potential.

The Ajira Poa! Project begins with a powerful first step – recruitment.

Ambitious youth are encouraged to apply, igniting the spark of possibility. Once selected, the youth embark on an exciting orientation workshop, where they are introduced to the project’s process and clear expectations are set. This initial guidance lays the foundation for the remarkable journey ahead.

Recruitment is one of the critical aspects of Ajira Poa project, we ensure that we onboard youths who really need the opportunity and will surely benefit from the interventions
Oliver Kipyator, Project Officer

The recruitment process involves engaging multiple stakeholders to effectively disseminate the information to a wide range of youth, reaching them across diverse locations.

We collaborate with county governments and their youth directorates to map and identify training centres. The chiefs and their assistants act as vital intermediaries, connecting me with the youths and making my work more efficient.
James Mwihaki, Project Officer

He adds the local church leaders provide a platform in their churches, boosting the confidence of many youths in the Ajira Poa! project. Parents in these church forums also play a crucial role in spreading the Ajira Poa! registration link to their children, resulting in a significant increase in youth enrolment. Additionally, contracted youth mobilizers have been essential in registering and onboarding youths throughout my fieldwork

Building essential skills: one of the key pillars of the Ajira Poa! Project

After an orientation workshop, youth participate in comprehensive training sessions covering career counselling, digital literacy, financial acumen, life skills, and entrepreneurship fundamentals. Career Counselling is offered by our partner, the College for Career Guidance and Development (CCGD), while the rest of the training are offered by the Ajira Poa! team. These invaluable skills prepare them to navigate the complexities of the modern world, fostering adaptability, creativity, and resilience.

Defining pathways: career counselling and pathway selection

The Ajira Poa! Project offers an array of pathways tailored to individual interests and aspirations:

  • College Readiness: This pathway suits those seeking to join Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programmes, providing them with specific skills for their chosen field. Our partner CCGD, takes the youth through self-awareness, understanding careers in the 21st century and courses available within the TVET set up. It serves as a steppingstone to other pathways like apprenticeships/internships, work readiness, or enterprise development which are within the project
  • Apprenticeships/Internships: Youth opting for this pathway gain hands-on experience and mentorship within established businesses.
  • Work Readiness: Designed for youth entering the job market or actively seeking employment, this pathway equips them with the necessary skills and confidence to thrive in a competitive environment. The training often includes practical experiences, internships, or apprenticeships, which allow youth to gain valuable hands-on exposure and build a network of professional contacts.
  • Enterprise Development: For aspiring entrepreneurs, this pathway offers tailored support to launch and grow their businesses. It imparts essential skills like business planning, financial management, marketing, and sales, providing a solid foundation for starting and managing a venture. Additionally, entrepreneurship training often includes mentorship and networking opportunities, connecting aspiring entrepreneurs with experienced professionals and potential investors

By empowering youth through a holistic approach, encompassing recruitment, orientation, skills development, career counselling, and tailored pathways, the project unlocks their true potential. It nurtures their talents, equips them with essential skills, and guides them towards a future filled with limitless opportunities.

Read more about the project

Supported by funding from Danida, DCA is collaborating with the QUERCUS group, ADS-North Rift, Growth Africa, and the College of Career Guidance and Development (CCGD) to implement a project focused on creating employment opportunities and fostering skill development among youth in Nakuru, Nyandarua, and West Pokot counties.

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