Youth Excel organization launched the first pilot program dubbed ICON in Kisumu, to support young leaders, youth-led and serving organizations to use research and data to improve youth development initiatives.
In a 2-day summit, which involved 10 organizations within Kisumu County, the organizations presented reports on the findings of their 6-month research program, which majored in promoting youth work readiness in Kisumu County.
Kisumu County Deputy Governor Dr Mathews Owili while gracing the event, stated that the county government was ready to work hand in hand with the organization to uplift the youths, People With Disability (PWD) and women.
“The County Government has been part of the development programs to support youth-based organizations within Kisumu to promote various activities,” he said.
Owili added that the County had developed a business innovation and incubation hub at the Kisumu Rotary Centre that would help stimulate business start-ups and accelerate growth and success rates.
“Last week we witnessed joint graduation of 2300 young professionals fully equipped with technical skills to help them fit in the job market both as self-employed and formally employed,” he explained.
The 6-month research program engaged 10 organizations namely NJEMA, Dala Spaces, Arise and Shine, Nyalenda Bread Power, Sustainable Rural Initiative, Steve Wonder, TINADA Youth Organization, Women in Sustainable Enterprise Kenya, Youth Alive Kenya and YWCA which all majored their research on the Youths, Women and PWD.
Sylvia Kananu, the Project Leader, USAID Youth Excel in a conclusive report, stated lack of information on available opportunities, lack of technical skills and lack of access to the right finance.
“Many of our youths are not informed on available opportunities and ways to access them, many youths do not even know the right financial support channel to enable them to finance the business ideas they develop. This is a major challenge that was identified by all the 10 groups during research,” she stated.
Kananu noted that various organizations with the aim of supporting the youths in securing employment and creating employment have been their own enemies as they opt to compete against each other thus, urging them to embrace unity.
“I urge all Youth organizations working for the same cause to support and empower each other to attain financial independence, as we work together to enable us achieve this noble cause,” Kananu declared.
Kisumu Senator, Fred Outa, speaking at the same event, applauded Youth Excel and IREX International for considering Kisumu County as the place to host the first pilot program opening doors to several youths to gain various skills.
“The youth need to be empowered and realize that they need to focus on developing various skills relevant to the current world trends. IREX is currently offering a very productive platform for the youths to realize their goals and come out as people who are financially independent,” Outa stated.
PWDs were given an upper hand as the research revealed that most of them were not majorly included in the planning and development of business ideas to enable them grow themselves.
Lake Hub CEO James Odede speaking during a panel discussion stated lack of honest and diligent participation of the youths in programs.
“Most of the youths do not entirely involve themselves in programs if available to them for learning purposes. They do not entirely devote their time to focus on specific angles of interests,” he noted.
By Derrick Wesley and Laodicah Sharon