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Just Imagine This!

Imagine This!

Getting skills that help you advance your trade and provide for yourself and your family. Then using those skills to do exactly that!

That is what TYB has been doing with our Entrepreneurship Training through BEEP.

But now we want to venture even further, and provide a different skillset to youth from challenged backgrounds. You wonder what this means, right? Do you know that out of the total youth population in Kenya, the greatest percentage comes from informal settlements (slums) and rural areas?

Now you know!

You wonder how?

We want to target these youth and provide them with the much needed Computer Skills training so that they can be able to access information and venture into the millions of online job opportunities.

We CANNOT do this without YOUR SUPPORT!

Support us today by contributing SECURELY via M-Changa:

MPESA: Paybill 891300, Account 13140.
AIRTEL MONEY: Business Name MCHANGA, Reference 13140
EQUITEL: Business number 891300, Account number 13140

How to donate

 

Thank you in advance.

Sincerely,
Youth from Challenged Backgrounds.

#ChangingLivelihoods

#ForTheYouth

Youth in class during a Computer Skills training session

 

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Women And Entrepreneurship – Warembo Self Help Group

In my daily routine as an Entrepreneurship Trainer with The Youth Banner (TYB) and based in Homabay, I have interacted with countless youth from the County and the greater Nyanza region. It has exposed me to the challenges us youth face as well as given me a chance to be part of the success in many of their success stories.

One particular feat that I have witnessed is that of Warembo Self Help Group. Most of these group members met during one of the entrepreneurship classes and formed a bond that attracted other friends and classmates alike to join them. This group has now grown beyond the class to over 60 members, ages ranging between 19 – 35yrs, making time to meet every Friday without fail!

Being at the front row of this growth has taught me a lot as a person but most importantly, the lesson that you don’t need much to create an impact.

Through The Youth Banner Economic Empowerment Program, BEEP, we have not only taught them the importance of women coming together to  learn  entrepreneurship and create an impact in the community, but also the need to pull resources together and start their own table banking and Chama. In a span of one year through the chama, more than 20 have started their own businesses. These range from; beauty saloons, groceries, kiosks, cyber cafes, agent banking outlets and boutiques, among many others. They also support each other by making regular contributions to the chama hence empowering others in the group.

Warembo Self Help Group pose with their trophy after winning the BEST BEEP CLUB award duting the 13th BEEP Graduation Ceremony in June 2016.

These extraordinary group of ladies have also formed a bond whereby they support each other by collectively contributing to funerals, weddings and other social events of their members. Through TYB’s skills’ training program, Amka Tujiinue Group (ATG), they have learnt various handskills e.g. beadwork and weaving that help them make products that they later sell to generate an income for themselves. Through mentorship, they have shown discipline and enabled them to set goals which they have followed through to achieve. TYB’s unique handholding approach by the trainers has ensured they remained focused thus strengthening their efforts.

They also give back to the community through community service activities like street clean up programs, charity, spending time with children in orphanages, prison visits, caring for widows among others. These activities happen once a month.

Warembo Self Help Group during a clean up exercise

Being at the front row of this growth has taught me a lot as a person but most importantly, the lesson that you don’t need much to create an impact. The little resources that you have managed to put together is what you will use to set up a foundation. It is all that matters! I am really proud of the Warembo team.

I thank Siemens Stiftung for their continued support.

 

 

#ChangingLivelihoods

#ForTheYouth

 

Laura Jean-Louis
Trainer and Coordinator,
Homabay county

 

My Take: Working With The Youth

With over 80% of Kenya’s unemployed workforce being under 35, working at The Youth Banner as an entrepreneurship trainer and coordinator has given me the opportunity to be part of the solution. I am invested in facilitating, nurturing, and promoting the development of young entrepreneurs in Kenya. For me this has been a journey of immense pleasure despite the challenges. However, working with young people in the informal settlements of Nairobi and seeing the potential they hold has been a clear indication that by empowering entrepreneurs, Kenya stands a chance at eradicating poverty and unemployment. Nevertheless, most of these young people lack the fundamentals of business management skills and yet they jump straight into business, hence the very reason why most of their businesses fail.

 

The Youth Banner, entrepreneurship training program BEEP has been designed to help gain entrepreneurship and skill development with practical learning that highlights business development. To ensure personal development and behaviour change, the program includes both group and personal mentorship in a bid to ensure our entrepreneurs are able to achieve beyond business success, but also become role models in their community.

 

The success stories shared are just but a fraction of many, and they are an example of The Youth Banner’s efforts in nurturing entrepreneurship and enterprises in Kenya. The total credit goes to those youth for their commitment and hard work in enhancing their skills and by establishing businesses that have increased their earnings for a better life. However, it’s their stories that inspire me and my colleagues to continue with our work even when faced with challenges and I believe that their stories will continue to inspire the future generation of trainers that will join The Youth Banner family.

 

Charity Gichobi is an Entrepreneurship Trainer and Coordinator at The Youth Banner

You may also like THIS ARTICLE about youth rights or DONATE to our cause!
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OPINION: Do the youth really know their rights?

The Kenyan General Elections came to pass on the 8th of August 2017, with leaders chosen to represent different elective seats being determined by the power of the vote. Out of the total number of registered voters countrywide, 51% were aged below 35 years, thus confirming that majority of the decision makers in this recent elections were the youth! In addition to this fact, it is also important to note that those aged between 18 and 35 make up approximately 75% of Kenya’s population, and unfortunately a large percentage of this population is unemployed and feel marginalised in terms of access to opportunities, representation and participation.

With that in mind, the question that arises is whether the youth who voted in these leaders know their economic and business rights, and opportunities as enshrined in the Kenya constitution. Do we know that these are meant to lead to the realization of employment, representation and protection and involvement in decision making for the welfare of the Kenyan youth?

According to Article 55 of the constitution, the government should undertake affirmative action measures to ensure the youth have access to relevant education, training and employment. It also requires that the state should create and strengthen existing platforms for youth participation in political, social, economic spheres of life and legislate towards this end.

Kenyan youth must fight for their space

More specifically, the rights and opportunities that youth in Kenya should be enjoying can be explained as follows:

  • Right to access the affirmative funds with minimal requirements to start up and individual entrepreneurs as opposed to groups’ access.
  • Right to access the affirmative funds with a friendly interest rate and through financial friendly vehicles
  • Right to safe business working space provided by county and national government at affordable fees and levies
  • Opportunity to increase uptake of the 30% procurement rule through simplification of the tendering documents and processes by the government
  • Participation in and influencing of the policy agenda for adoption of economic policies that provide tax holidays and incentives to youth enterprises for a one-year period from the start of the enterprise
  • Increased awareness on the Innovation fund that is channeled through KIRDI’s Research, Technology and Innovation department and easier accessibility at the county level

 

We now need to put our leaders to task so that they live up to the promises they made during the campaign period, and most importantly to protect and empower US as the youth so that we can drive this country forward. We should also put the young leaders who have been elected to serve in the 12th parliament to task so that they represent the youth interests first before anything else.

Leaders must also listen to our voice through platforms like Jiactivate which prior to the General Elections, presented a youth declaration to representatives of all parties that fielded presidential candidates. This declaration is based on a collective compilation of expressions from youth countrywide and should be used to inform leadership of the rights that the youth are fighting for.

 

Share your thoughts and feedback via communications@theyouthbanner.org and read more about our work HERE. Also, support our campaign to Adopt-A-Digital-Youth.

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Article by:
Job Monyoncho

Knowledge Management & Information Officer

The Youth Banner

From A Sweets Hawker To A Poultry Farmer.

Winnie knows it is no fun to run in the streets of Nairobi, especially if behind you is a ruthless city council askari. She knows how demeaning it feels to be outrun or caught unawares by the same askari, have all goods confiscated, and worse, she knows the frustration of being manhandled and bundled into a county council van and the hopelessness of being locked in that van from outside using a huge padlock.

Meanwhile, two children are waiting at home hoping to have food on the table, clothes on their back, and money in their fees account. She knows this pain because she has been there. Not anymore. This is her story…

The Youth Leader

“I was a youth leader at ‘generation maker’. That meant I would get information directly from the area chief about the happenings in the community. So when The Youth Banner came to our community, I was informed and I attended an information meeting organized by them. I loved the idea and joined.” she told the rest of the participants.

 

Something in Winnie resonated with the ideas being shared. She explained that while in school, business studies fascinated her. Being born of a father who also loved business, she knew that what was being taught here was exactly what she needed. “The Youth Banner facilitators were talking about something in me and I had to bring it out.” she said. She remembers one statement made by a facilitator, “Ni poa kujijua” (it’s good to know yourself). This made her tell her facilitators about her hawking business.

 

I wanted to be a farmer. That is what I wanted to do.

 

In the streets of Nairobi, she hawked sweets. Besides the many aforementioned challenges of a hawker, she only managed to make four hundred shillings on a good day. Less expenses, and she was left in debt. This wasn’t working for her and she wasn’t fulfilled either. She wanted something that wasn’t going to ‘tie her down’. With the empowerment that came with the training, sharing her dreams with facilitators in and outside training sessions, she finally came up with an idea and promised her facilitator and friend Joan Magua: “From today on, I am not going to town for that business any more”. And she has never.

Life Changing Idea

Armed with five thousand shillings, invaluable entrepreneurship and life skills, and an understanding of who she was and what she wanted to do, she shared with her mom the idea of keeping poultry. Her mother was positive. Winnie did every possible research on poultry, and finally settled for the indigenous (kienyeji) chicken which proved to be affordable to keep, and required less attention compared to the non-indigenous ones.

 

She began with two chickens and a cock. As she grew the business, she washed other people’s clothes, houses, and utensils to take care of her expenses, and buy more poultry. And as the old adage goes, “When the student is ready, the teacher shows up”, Irene found people who were willing to hold her hand. From her mom who supported her a lot with the little she had to a veterinary doctor who would offer help on phone about her poultry, and even send her messages with technical expressions when offering interventions for her poultry problems.. Winnie, with the demeanor of a fulfilled lady says she managed to raise the number of her poultry from three (3), to sixty (60).

 

She has more than doubled her income as she now makes well over eight hundred shillings from eggs in a day, and her future seems even brighter.

“They Helped Me Know Who I Am”

Her advice to beneficiaries of The Youth Banner program, “Save! Don’t depend on loans to start up. Personally I have benefited more from my savings”

 

Winnie is indeed ‘better than before’

‘Business Now Flows In My Blood’ – The Story Of The ‘Ghetto Guy’

He calls Himself a ‘ghetto guy’. As we share a light moment, he informs me that even his parents wonder how he survives in the city of Nairobi, leave alone being in the slum. He has embraced the hard life of Kiambiu and understands what it is like to live in a slum. Of late, he is managing it better. Here he tells us how he does that…

 

Meet Denis Odhiambo. After completing his high school education, he found himself in Kiambiu operating a movie shop that wasn’t doing very well. “There is this day when my friend came and told me about a certain training in Kiambiu, and the following session I accompanied him. I have never regretted that move.” explains Denis with a broad smile. He attended the entrepreneurship trainings by The Youth Banner, and quickly became the life of the class, engaging facilitators with fascinating, and sometimes hard questions. He was hungry for knowledge.

 

Asked about what he had to say about the training, Denis, with a youthful pose and hands in his jeans’ pockets said, “Cool training. I walk and feel like business flows in my blood. I can now easily identify and take advantage of a business opportunity. And,..” he adds, “…now I manage my business better in terms of purchases. Sales have increased and I have added another computer.” he concludes.

 

Despite a myriad of challenges of funding and difficulties in getting loans, this young man appreciates the fact that he may not be where he wants to be, but he is definitely not where he was before the training.

 

As Denis pulls his seat after reflecting on his progress after the training, he shoots up again excitedly, “Hio Cert pia maze, besides the skills I acquired, inasaidia sana.” (that certificate guys, besides the skills I acquired is helping a lot). He offered an explanation, “The other day I was called for an interview at Orange Kenya at the customer call center, thanks to the skills I acquired on customer care and a certificate to show, I got a one month contract with Orange. I am currently working there.”

 

Success told by the successful has a way of sinking deep into the hearts of the listeners. And there was some reflective silence in the room.

 

I talked to Denis later on about his experience at the customer call center. “I have gotten so used to answering customers’ calls that I find myself answering my mum’s calls, ‘My name is Denis Odhiambo from Orange, how may I help you?’” He left me in stitches.

 

They say an idle mind is the devils workshop, Denis is busy and so his mind is no workshop of evil. He is busy building Kiambiu community, not breaking it

From Breaking Ethnic Barriers To Building Ethical Businesses

Breaking Barriers, Building Ethical Businesses

He was the first guy seated in the boardroom when my friends and I arrived for a reflection session. He wore a blue cap, a checked short sleeved shirt, blue jeans and a calmly persona. Later, he told a catching story on breaking barriers, here is his story…

 

Kamau Julius knows from experience what negative ethnicity can do. The 2007/8 Post Election Violence (P.E.V) left Kiambiu segmented into sections of people of a given ethnic group. The boundaries were NOT to be crossed. The consequences for doing so at times, were fatal. People kept to their section, bitter and ready to fight. This was to end when CHF visited the area and helped form Kiambiu Youth for Peace and development network (KYPDN), and trained ten cohesion champions. Julius was one of them. Soon, there was peace in Kiambiu. But…

 

Julius, when giving his story poses a question, “What next after peace?” He explained that some people survived and thrived on the chaotic situation but when peace was restored in Kiambiu, their empty stomachs didn’t give them peace. “Something needed to be done and The Youth Banner brought in the desperately needed lifeline.” BEEP (Banner Economic Empowerment Program), is what Julius was talking about.

 

With encouragement from k3, a program manager from The Youth Banner, Julius rarely missed classes.

 

“Nilikua nafanya kazi kijuakali, sikujua eti kuna doo yangu na ya bizna” (I was going about my business unprofessionally; I didn’t know the difference between my money and business money). He comments about himself before the BEEP Classes. Afterwards, his business of selling movies, USB, memory cards and songs began to thrive so much that when he applied for a loan from The Youth Banner to boost his business, he got a higher amount than he thought he qualified. With the loan of Ksh 24,000/= he added his savings and this gave his business the much needed boost including buying a computer. He would later clear the loan and qualify for another loan of Ksh 30,000/=. He has since expanded his business. Adjacent to the movie shop, Julius has opened an electronics shop in which he has hired someone to operate as he stays back at the movie business, which interests him more.

 

Julius talks about the two major skills he lacked before training:

  1. A saving culture
  2. Record keeping, and offers to explain further on the records, “I would buy, sell, and would never know what brought in what. I didn’t know what was out of stock, what was bringing in more profits, but,” he concludes, “…I know better now.”

…AND SO DO THE PEOPLE OF KIAMBIU

What is the Greatest Resource?

Daniel Osumba told his story in many ways. He donned a yellow T-Shirt written ‘…it is my responsibility’. There was this serious look about him. Everyone seemed to listen to him in those conversations before the formal reflection session. As a Zetech University student taking a diploma in community development, one would wonder why he went for the entrepreneurship training. When it was time to tell his story, I listened…

 

“…these trainings helped me a lot. I was able to open my own hotel business, something I wasn’t able to do with my continuing college education only.” And yes, to confirm how this knowledge had transformed him into a skillful entrepreneur, he was at some point forced to leave his business in the watch of someone else who hadn’t been trained and the budding business collapsed.

One begins to appreciate the value upon seeing that they can succeed where others fail. “We really appreciate what you people are doing.” he said in reference to the team of CHF and The Youth Banner which had convened this reflection session.

 

Armed with the arsenal of economic empowerment, Daniel is fighting a good fight against community conflicts, poverty and ignorance. I caught up with him later after the reflection session and I asked him what his best arrows in his quiver were.

He didn’t bat an eyelid. “I am using the economic empowerment slogan to pass the knowledge I acquired to help others in my community to become entrepreneurs too. I speak to business people, merry-go-round women groups, chamas, especially Canaan and Luvenant Self Help Groups.”

 

He highlights three things that are helping those that he trains

  1. Cultivating a saving culture
  2. How to write a business plan
  • Resource mobilization.

 

“All these things, I learnt from The Youth Banner trainings.” he says

 

Daniel is young and energetic, just like most young people in this community, some of whom engage in petty and sometimes violent crimes, besides being used by rogue politicians to fight for their personal gains. But he is different. He has been empowered to use his energy for his good, and he is using that to make his community better.

The Greatest Resource Is Human Resource… Taking Responsibility

From Employee To Employer! “Ahsante TYB”

George Ochare's Wife Lydia at the Premise.

George Ochare is a 31-year-old husband and father of one child from Sofia Estate, Homa Bay Township in Homa Bay County and he is a Beep Graduate.

Where was he Before?

Before joining The Youth Banner (TYB) in October 2015, he was a regular employee in the County Referral Hospital with the thought of starting his own enterprise not having crossed his mind. Surviving on a meagre salary, he struggled to meet his family’s needs and those of his dependants. He was taken through TYB’s Banner Economic Empowerment Program (BEEP) where he and his wife acquired skills on enterprise development, finance literacy and received lots of mentorship and coaching.

After the BEEP

Armed with this knowledge, his own technical skills and personal savings, he started a pharmacy business that was initially being operated from a small room.

This has since grown to be a fully registered business and has given birth to other businesses such as a butchery and an M-PESA agency which he runs inside the pharmacy. This has seen them turn their income from an average of KES 15,000.00 per month to KES 45,000.00 per month.

Where he is now

Now he is able to provide better for his family, improve their living standards and make constant monthly savings in a bank. Since George received a transfer to another facility, the businesses are now run by his wife Lydia Ochare and they have employed one more staff working at the butchery.

She told The Youth Banner Officer that “The Youth Banner has been a blessing to us. Ever since we enrolled in the program we have been able to learn on how we can improve our enterprise by gaining relevant business skills. Asante sana TYB“

The story of Thomas Okanga – Bone Craft Artist, Kibera

Starting a business is like climbing a mountain, where the peak is your success. A start up business is bound to face many challenges. For Thomas Okanga, a bone artisan in Kibera, capital was one of the major challenges he faced while trying to start his business.

I am a bone craft artist and my business deals with recycling of waste bones. We use these bones to produce jewellery such as necklaces, bangles, earrings and other artifacts.” Says Thomas.

 

In the year 2002, Thomas attended the technical training on bone craft. After he acquired the skills, he decided to start a business and was faced with the challenge of lack of capital to start. “I wanted to start a bone craft business but I did not have enough money. I went and got employed as a casual worker in a clothes export processing zone in Ruaraka. After working for 8 months, the company needed to downsize the number of employees and I was retrenched. This woke me up! At that time I only had 10,000 shillings. I tried to think of what I could do with the money,” explains Thomas.

 

In his quest to find a solution, Thomas happened to meet The Youth Banner trainers who were sensitizing the public on the BEEP training sessions around his home area of Nairobi’s Kibera informal settlement. “I came to know about The Youth Banner in the year 2013. The Youth Banner trainers came to our area to look for young people to train on entrepreneurship. I later joined The Youth Banner training sessions and that is where I was trained on various aspects of business.” says Thomas.

 

Like many start up business owners, Thomas had the will to start a business but lacked the basic knowledge on running one successfully. He had an idea but never had an actual plan of how he would like to run his business.

 

“During the training sessions, I was taught on the importance of record keeping and financial management in the business. I also learnt on how to write a business plan, how to market my business and how to develop a good customer relationship.”

 

Thomas underwent the training sessions in his home area and was able to start his own bone craft workshop. He says over time his business has transformed through the guidance he received from his trainers. Through the BEEP (Banner Economic Empowerment Program) classes, he learnt the importance of time management, record keeping and market research in a business. After the training he graduated and now manages his business and has employed young people in his workshop.

 

“My business has so far received two loans from Kiva Zip through The Youth Banner. I believe the reason why I have managed to repay these loans is because of record keeping in my business that has enabled me to pay in good time. the good thing about these loans is that they give you ample time to repay and it is interest free.” explains Thomas.

 

“This business has really improved my life. I am able to support my family and pay school fees for my children. This has been possible as I instilled financial discipline in my business. I put aside money for investing for the business and also for my personal needs. the only challenge I have faced in this business is the lack of sufficient market networks for my products. The market is dominated by middlemen who buy our products at a very cheap rate and later sell them at exorbitant prices to tourists.” he exclaims.

 

For Thomas, the future is bright as he now looks out to train and guide other young entrepreneurs on business management. “I urge The Youth Banner to continue helping young people and give them business knowledge through the training, to guide them even as they run their businesses like I did.” says Thomas.