M-Life Foundation working on establishing regional innovation hub with AI learning, mental health services

A Kenyan-led Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) based in the United States is raising funds to enable the construction of a youth innovation hub in Kenya.

The innovation hub aims to empower rural and urban youth by providing them with access to Information technology technical skills.

The M-LIFE Foundation with headquarters in San Francisco, US, chaired by Mwangi Mukami, a Kenyan-born humanitarian, plans on establishing a complex for the East Africa region estimated to cost Sh120 million (USD1 million) in Juja town, in Kiambu County.

M-LIFE Chair Mwangi Mukami.

The fundraising started on May 25 which coincided with the African Day Celebrations designed to provide comprehensive services that include mental health services, artificial intelligence (AI) learning, and specialized training.

A residential facility within the complex will give local and international mentors a place to stay while training youths at the facility.

Mwangi, who relocated to the US in 2009, said the foundation has already purchased the land for this ambitious project and is scheduled to visit Kenya from June 17.

Mwangi, who grew up in the Kawangware slums of Nairobi and served as youth president of the National Youth Parliament of Kenya before his relocation to the US, emphasized the pressing challenges faced by Kenyan youth.

He stated, "The recently launched 2023 Economic Survey reveals that our economic growth has been hampered by prolonged drought and the impact of COVID-19, leading to an increase in the number of unemployed youths who need support."

Mwangi termed the increased youth unemployment a burgeoning problem that must be urgently addressed through interventions for the purpose of creating opportunities.

"It is paramount we uplift Kenyan youths, whether they are involved in technology or agriculture," he said when he spoke with The Nairobian.

US social entrepreneurs and philanthropists Jennifer Carolyn King, and Timothy Charles Fredel have donated to the complex project and they pledged additional support.

The M-Life Foundation has formed partnerships with US corporations to fund their work, Mwangi disclosing that Jennifer and Timothy contributed towards establishing a computer laboratory at Kawangware primary school in Nairobi.

Other California companies supporting the initiative include We Are Guru, which gained US industry-wide recognition for promoting the world's impactful organizations, such as M LIFE and Hyphenation Studios.

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