Youth Entrepreneurship and youth led urban service provision

                                                              

Youth Entrepreneurship and youth led urban service provision

World Vision International
Solution proposed by: 
World Vision Kenya
In a Nutshell: 
Through facilitating a number of informal youth groups involved in waste management together into a formalised cooperative and providing them with business skills, entrepreneurship training and technical advice, this model has the potential to improve the financial viability of using waste management as a tool for improving youth livelihoods.
Where and When: 
This project has been implemented in the Korogocho and Kariobangi informal communities in Nairobi Kenya from 2008-2016.
Challenges: 
Kenya faces rapid urbanisation, growing urban poverty and a steadily increasing level of unemployment. Urban unemployment is higher than 25% and 67% of those looking for work are between 15-34. Additionally, there is a lack of essential services provided by the government. Poor sanitation and solid waste management are causing major public and environmental health risks. Informal youth groups identified solid waste management as a potential service that they could undertake to earn an income – they began but remained exposed to health and disease risks. World Vision identified that they could partner together to improve the youth groups’ income through the development of viable value chains, and through training in business and entrepreneurship.
Innovation: 
This project used a three tiered approach to empower young people to ensure a viable livelihood and improve solid waste management within the community. (i) Formalising and institutional strengthening of the urban youth groups into a recognised Waste Management Alliance; (ii) Enhanced technical and entrepreneurial empowerment for effective solid waste management and business development; and (iii) Advocacy for youth engagement in urban basic services within the government’s policy units.
Concept: 
(i) The institutional strengthening and formalising of the youth groups focussed on creating social capital and improving the reputation of the Waste Management Alliance. Aspects such as formalising the alliance and the introduction of a governance constitution enabled clarity, transparency and potential for expansion. (ii) Through enhanced technical training the Waste Alliance members are empowered to move up the value chain and become competitive in their industry. By increasing the value of their products they are able to avoid being exploited by middlemen. Technical training also increases the Waste Alliance’s capacity to process a greater quantity of waste and provide reliability of supply. Entrepreneurial training connects the youth in the alliance with mentors and provides business skills training so that they are able to grow and sustain their respective business opportunities. (iii) The Alliance provides the youth to have greater capacity to advocate for youth friendly waste management policies within the relevant government agencies. The youth face challenges regarding access to suitable space for waste sorting and value addition, and the high costs of registration and licences to allow them to work formally in the waste management sector.
Description: 
There were 13 youth groups, representing 300 youth, who were working independently of each other, who have chosen to join together to form the Kariobangi Waste Management Alliance. These groups work in a diverse range of solid waste based businesses – recycling and up-cycling plastics, organics, papers, fabrics and metals. Through working closely with the youth, along with the Nairobi City County, the Alliance has been developed in such a way that the youth are able to lead and run the waste management programs. They set the goals and direction for the program, ensuring that it is business driven and will be a viable economic model. Through working closely with the decision makers, they can ensure that it promotes youth engagement in decision making processes. The program partners with local CBOs, existing business leaders and markets to ensure that the training process is relevant to their businesses and are providing the capacity needed to upscale and transition to more profitable business models.
Impacts: 
The impacts of this project and approach include the following: 1) Increased the economic viability of the youth groups’ activities through connections with local and international markets for products such as recycled plastic products, bags, jewellery, clothing, rugs, blankets, charcoal briquettes and recycled virgin materials like glass. 2) Increased respect and reputation for those involved in urban solid waste management in the Kariobangi and Korogocho districts. 3) Increased income for the members of the youth alliance – and associated health and livelihoods outcomes. 4) Increased involvement of youth in decision making processes relevant to their lives and their area.

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photo credits: WV Kenya