Kenya has a great advantage as a nation of young, vibrant, and highly creative youth who account for about 75% of the population, according to the World Bank. However, they are not adequately enabled and engaged to participate in our country’s social, economic, and political development. There are many reasons for this including lack of skills and lack of necessary institutional support to bring their ideas to fruition.
As we focus on realizing our development goals including Vision 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we must outline the role of the youth and deliberately engage them. Engaging young people enriches institutions, processes and communities, opens opportunities to earn a livelihood. If we take just one critical aspect of empowering the youth such as skills development, we not only engage them in creating sustainable economic solutions for themselves and their communities, but we also elevate our competitiveness and productivity as a country
We see young people not as passengers, but key drivers and partners in sustainable community development and change in vulnerable communities and the country.
I. GRIC youth fellowship
The GRIC youth fellowship is a 6-months program with a volunteer service component. The monthly pieces of training, experiential learning sessions and mentorship equips local youth regionally with skills such as leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, planning, management, creativity, communication, negotiation, self-efficacy, and networking opportunities Placement to serve in underserved communities work to reinforce the theoretical aspects of the training while simultaneously offering local youth an opportunity to apply their creativity and innovation to address communities’ challenges and instils in them a spirit of citizenship and lifelong philanthropy.
This fellowship creates a ‘win-win’ solution for local youth and vulnerable communities. The communities are partnered with a resource that is highly creative and innovative while the youth acquire both theoretical and practical skills to advance their career and life aspirations.
II. Community volunteer service
As an organization that believes in grassroots-led development, we offer on average 450 youth working or volunteering with our partner organizations an opportunity to acquire skills and attitudes required to drive change and thrive in the workplace. The training and mentorship we offer them is curated to the dynamic needs of their communities and their aspirations for development and self-growth.
Our strategy is to create a human resource that is embedded within or in touch with the communities that is young (offering long-term support to the communities) skilled, structured, responsive, and independent. We are clear that our role is to upskill the youth, grassroot volunteers and leaders with skills and experience to offer sustainable and relevant solutions to their communities’ dynamic needs.