The ‘Ninaweza” youth empowerment program emphasizes a practical skills-based approach that is driven by employer needs to increase the likelihood that participating youth are able to find work at the conclusion of the activity. At the outset of the project, ACWICT conducted an assessment of relevant/growing sectors in the Nairobi area to identify occupations which offer significant employment opportunities for young women from low-income households in Nairobi’s informal settlements. The information gathered in this assessment provided useful intelligence on market needs and the required competencies that may be critical in providing employment opportunities for young people with little or no qualifications.
The training includes short-term classroom training (including life skills, introduction to computers, I.T. Essentials - Computer Hardware & Software, and Business Process Outsourcing skills training) and on-the-job experience through internships. The selection of skill training areas was informed by the assessment of market needs and community context. The project seeks to involve employers from start to finish, ensuring that training is practical and relevant.
The intervention includes five elements:
- Assessment of market and youth needs, and adaptation of curricula to identified needs;
- Technical/vocational training in market-identified skill areas, with technical training in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) being a focus area;
- Life skills training;
- Work experience through internships;
- Job placement assistance, as well as mentoring and business development support services for youth interested in pursuing self-employment.
For purposes of the impact evaluation, youth are divided into three groups – two treatment groups (receiving varied interventions) and one control group (receiving no intervention). Four of the elements listed above will be standardized across both youth treatment groups, while one element – life skills training – will be randomized across two treatment groups. One treatment group will be exposed to all five components of the intervention, whereas the second treatment group will be exposed to only four components, excluding life skills training