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Slum youth improve careers after business training

By Gardy Chacha | Published Fri, February 23rd 2018 at 12:28, Updated February 23rd 2018 at 12:31 GMT +3
Kenya Bankers Association CEO Habil Olaka and Kenya Community Development Foundation Executive Director Janet Mawiyoo present a certificate to Patrick Maina during the graduation. [Gardy Chacha, Standard]

More than 200 youths from informal settlements in Nairobi and Mombasa have improved their careers after getting entrepreneurship training.

The five-month programme dubbed Y-Bizna offers hands-on skills to budding entrepreneurs to enable them to grow their careers and make a living.

Y-Bizna targets young men in Huruma, Mathare, and Kariobangi in Nairobi and Kisauni in Mombasa. “It is exhilarating to know that I too have something that the society finds of value,” Patrick Maina, 24, a dance choreographer from Pangani said.

Patrick, who like most youths in low-end neighbourhoods, was trapped in joblessness, has honed his dancing choreography skills and now gets paid for his work.

He is also a carpenter and an event organiser. “I look for clients by just asking around. I make calls and also talk to people about what I do as I build a client base,” he explained. Before the training, Patrick was your average young person doing casual work even as many of his agemates engaged in vices such as robbery, pickpocketing, and gangster life.

Like Patrick, George Nyale, 25, from Kisauni has found hope in his ability to fend for himself.

Before joining the programme, Nyale was a member of Dream Achievers Youth Organisation, which had given him a business loan of Sh10,000.

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Clothing shop

Nyale’s father, believing in his son’s determination after training, gave him another Sh10,000.

“With the Sh20,000 I bought bales of secondhand clothes and opened a shop,” he said. Today, Nyale’s Big G collection is a favourite of residents of Washanga in Kisauni. Nyale has reinvested his profits in other business ventures. He also runs a football parlour for fans who watch European premier leagues.

“What the training has shown me is that people don’t really have to be employed in big companies to earn a living. You have something that society needs?

That is all you need,” he added. Both Nyale and Patrick were speaking at their graduation in Nairobi and Mombasa.

The ceremony was attended by Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) Chief Executive Habil Olaka and Kenya Community Development Foundation (KCDF) Executive Director Janet Mawiyoo, the implementers of Y-Bizna.

“The goal of this project was to show young people that they don’t have to join crime or be used by politicians to cause mayhem.

They can develop their own ideas into money-making ventures,” Olaka said. Some of the 220 graduands have submitted proposals and will be funded with as much as Sh100,000 from the kitty to further an existing business or start a new one.

Kevin Oduny, one of the graduands, runs a successful urban farm in Huruma, Nairobi, working in collaboration with four other people. “We now have 15 goats, 213 chicken, 42 doves, geese, and ducks. We sell chicken for meat and milk from goats. This is how we earn our living,” he says.

KBA committed Sh4 million to Y-Bizna while KCDF oversaw its implementation. Ms Mawiyoo said such training reduces unemployment in Kenya from the current 39.1 per cent.

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