The youth, or to be more exact, persons counted as under 35 years of age, constitute over 60% of the Kenyan population. A bigger section of this population is under the age of 25 years which means they are fresh out of the education system. Kenyan youth literacy levels are relatively higher than those of other countries in East, Central and South Africa. However, unemployment rates are high at levels over 50% for this section of the population. As such some non-governmental organisations have stepped in to equip the youth with skills that are applicable in the current jobs market.

And just as much as this can be Kenya’s great hope – that of its young, vibrant, and literate populace – it can just as well be very much its curse. No thanks to the conditions of income inequality and poverty that can lead many youths down the wrong path.

The good thing is that many NGOs have taken a step to assist these youth to have at least half a chance to make it out of the crippling conditions they were raised in, and have a shot at living lives that are productive, and maybe find work or learn a trade. And here are 5 of them.

1. Digital Opportunity Trust

DOT is a social initiative that is headquartered in Canada but works in 14 countries including Kenya. In Kenya, DOT works in 16 counties to equip the youth with digital skills that can be deployed to create self-employment, or are in demand with many employers.

DoT has 3 programs targeting different segments of the youth. One of these is the Reachup program that has trained 409 graduates who have in turn trained 72,534 other young people in digital skills.

2. Youth Alive! Kenya

YAK is an NGO that works in 15 counties in Kenya. It was registered in 2003 and has grown to work with 79 youth groups across the country. YAK’s main goal is to enable the participation of the youth in development and governance processes.

YAK has done this by advocating for youth responsive legislation and programs. This includes equipping the youth with entrepreneurial skills and other skills that help the youth articulate their concerns.

3. Kenya Community Development Foundation

KCDF says its biggest mission is to support communities in initiating and driving their development agenda by harnessing and growing their resources as well as securing their basic rights and services from duty bearers.
This goal covers working with the youth to be able to take control of their economic situation. KCDF runs several youth oriented programs to equip the youth with small business skills such that they are able to put up enterprises that can improve their livelihoods.

4. Youth Initiatives – Kenya

YIKE is an NGO working with youth in informal settlements in Nairobi. Since its registration in 2003, YIKE has worked with 84 youth groups. The NGO equips the youth with entrepreneurial skills after which they are given small loans to start small businesses – and sometimes, it can start from a simple idea – such as starting up a soda business with the perfect soda maker. Or by selling what they can grow as youth in their backyards.

5. Shining Hope for Communities

This NGO works with young women in informal settlements of Nairobi. It equips them with skills that make them less dependent on jobs that expose them to predatory situations.

There are undoubtedly more organizations working to save the youth and the children in Kenya from the clutches of poverty and drugs – but these 5, without a doubt, stand out the most.