Vusha Youth Empowerment Program

The project builds upon best practices drawn from ACWICT’s youth employability programs in recruitment, training, placement and tracking of poor and disadvantaged young people; integrating reproductive health issues into youth employability training and improving their employment prospects and income generating capacities.

ABOUT DIGITAL JOBS FOR AFRICA 

In 2013, The Rockefeller Foundation launched Digital Jobs Africa to catalyze new, sustainable employment opportunities and skills training for Africa youth, with a focus on the ICT sector.

Our goal is to influence a systemic change in business practice by demonstrating the value of impact sourcing, including placing youth in jobs in various industries, and ultimately, improve the social and economic well-being of entire families, communities, and nations.

Though the initiative is winding down, it has provided valuable lessons for great reflection on future work.

ABOUT VUSHA YOUTH EMPLOYABILILTY PROGRAM

“Vusha” is Swahili word that means transition

Vusha is a demand-driven program that is delivered through in-person, in-class training and self-study.

The Goal of Vusha Empowerment Programme is to  improve the employability prospects and income generating capacities of high potential high school graduates aged 20-29 years from poor and disadvantaged households in Kiambu, Machakos, Kisumu and Mombasa.

RATIONAL

Creation of adequate employment opportunities remains one of the greatest challenges in Kenya today.

It is estimated that 75 percent of Kenya’s population of about 40 million people is under the age of 30 years and 22 percent being between the ages of 15 to 24 years[1].

Young people in Kenya today live in complex and challenging times. They experience myriad of difficulties in initial workforce entry. It is estimated that 750,000 young people enter the workplace annually yet only 15% get absorbed into formal employment leaving the rest of the youth cohorts (85%) to take up informal work and/or face the brunt of poverty.

The high unemployment rate is attributed to low absorptive capacity of the economy, weak implementation and coordination of youth targeted employment interventions; lack of skills relevant to the workplace by the young people; lack of information on available job opportunities; lack of networks and connections among youth; lack of experience and credentials that address employers’ risk in making hiring commitments and lack of available jobs suited to entry-level skills.

Furthermore, for online work, many poor and disadvantaged young people cannot access the jobs as they lack information and knowledge on online job opportunities. They also lack skills to enable them navigate the jobs and develop good profiles to market themselves to the employers.

As Kenya works towards becoming a middle income economy and eventually a knowledge society by implementing Vision 2030[2], it is imperative that we implement demand driven skills that ensure that the youth are prepared for the 21st century employment and business opportunities.

Access to productive employment or income generating opportunities is the surest way for one to improve one’s economic and social standing. Employment affords one the ability to meet at least the basic needs of life such as food, clothing, shelter, education and good health.

[1] 2010 Census Report

[2] Vision 2030 document – Kenya

IMPLEMENTATION

Vusha Youth Empowerment Programme Beneficiaries get;

  • Access to online work skills and as means to gaining alternative sources of income.
  • 21st Century market driven skills through upskilling in digital literacy and coding skills
  • Develop in depth experience in important soft skills to cope at work place, day to day activities and reproductive health.
  • Connect to the most innovative on-line learning platform through the TukoWorks entrepreneurship and employability portal.
  • Job placement support.

TRAINING MODEL

Beneficiaries were taken through Digital Literacy, technical IT skills, Digital Media and Web Design, Coding Skills, Life skills, Entrepreneurship and Financial literacy Training as well as Healthcare planning. The trainings ran for three months at the various ACWICT YEP training centres. 

JOB PLACEMENT

Youth placement was done through formal wage employment self-employment, entrepreneurship and online work. Due to the high demand for our graduates, our Empoyer Partners, who onboard our youth graduates, grew in the various counties.

YOUTH MENTORSHIP – ONLINE WORK

Youth have a pool of experienced freelancers they can easily reach at no cost to provide the much needed post training support mechanism.

ACWICT has put in place a robust mentorship and follow up mechanism for the youth graduating from the program. This consists of continuous post training support to ensure that the beneficiaries are actively engaging in online work, bidding for jobs, completing the tasks and earning income from the same.

A typical task usually takes between one and eight hours to complete, and the beneficiaries earn upwards of USD30 per assignment at the minimum. The average income for youth engaging in online work is USD500 monthly. 

Program Impact

Due to high demand for the program, we scaled up from the original four counties; Mombasa, Machakos, Kisumu and Kiambu of operation to nine (9) including Busia, Trans Nzoia, Kajiado, Murang’a and West Pokot.

Recruited & Enrolled

%

Placed in Jobs/Online Work

Counties Across Kenya

Thanks to Vusha, I have a new career and new life goals

I was also trained on how to be a successful IT professional. The skills earned have remained relevant and they have wooed other employers.

Working from home;the gift online work has provided me and my children

It has been an amazing journey, currently I am one of the highest rated virtual assistant on Upwork with a rating of 95%. This did not come easy, it took hours of bidding and developing professional relationships with my clients.

ACWICT Featured on Solutions That Save Lives and Support Development

ACWICT was featured on The Aid and International Development Forum (AIDF) 2017 edition guide on “Solutions That Save Lives and Support Development”. Our innovative solutions were featured under the training and education category alongside Safaricom Limited, Carolina for Kibera and other international non-governmental organizations.

Bliss and glamor in Machakos County, as 258 graduate

A total of 258 graduates received certification, on technical skills (Information Technology Essentials, Online Work and Coding), Life skills, financial literacy and entrepreneurship skills having successfully completed training.

A dose of mentorship is good for career excellence

A strong mentorship network is the best ingredient to both immediate and long-term career goals for our youth. It also creates space to provide guidance on personal issues that in turn help them lead a rich life full of personal accomplishments. In all our training...

Kisumu: 81 graduate in IT Essentials, Online Work, Coding & Life Skills

“We have a long list of employers who want to absorb them into their organizations, and this shows our beneficiaries possess both the soft and technical skills required by the labor market.” Ms. Anne Karimi, The Programs Manager ACWICT.

Muranga: Vusha Programme graduates 24 youth

“It has pulled our youth out of the streets and given them a second chance to gaining employable skills,” said area chief, Mr. Simon Karanja.

No jobs for computer illiterate staff in Kiambu – Kabogo

Kabogo ordered the county’s public service board to only take in employees who are computer literate since all systems have been digitalised.

“The county government will outsource human capital with ICT skills since we have digitised most of the services,” he said.

“Use your knowledge to champion development”, Kabogo tells youth

Kiambu Governor William Kabogo has encouraged young people to work with their leaders and champion for change and development.

Initiative seeks to train youth to think business

Scola Wambui from Kikuyu, Kiambu County, is a virtual assistant — she does not have to report to any office and does most of her work online. She largely does transcriptions, with her first ever job coming from a client in China. She completed the job in two days, and for her efforts earned Sh4,500. Her latest client paid her Sh19,500.

466 graduate from the Vusha Youth Empowerment Program

378 graduates are already placed into digital and non-digital jobs, 42 have set up business enterprises

Breaking new grounds

Over and above, the reading materials from the TukoWorks portal have impacted in me critical communication skills, as a result, for the first time I managed to secure employment as a sales executive with Delmonte Kenya Ltd. At work, I am able to utilize the internet in identifying qualifying leads that would help boost sales and sustain credibility in customers on the company’s products.

04 October 2016

From Coffee Hawker to CEO

Peter Njenga tells his story.

He joined the Vusha Empowerment Programme as a Coffee Hawker from Lower Kabete, Kiambu County.

Failing to secure fees to proceed with higher learning, he decided to start hawking coffee in his neighbourhood to get money for survival.

Following the skills acquired in web site design, digital literacy, coding and entrepreneurship his interest in coding peaked which saw him build his own Web Development Company, Jijenge Designs.

So far Peter Njenga has managed to safeguard his livelihood through his skills acquisition and create a better life for himself

04 OCTOBER 2016

I found my voice in ICT

Janet Aoko tells her story.

Janet Aoka had school fees troubles right from Primary School. Her aunt feared she would be married off in the rural area and took her to Nairobi in search of greener pastures.

The several odd jobs she pursued left her broke and hopeless.

She discovered the Vusha Empowerment Programme through a local church in Kibera and signed up.

Janet’s Digital Literacy began with basic skills like powering a computer. She had never seen or a touched a computer prior to training. 

She went on to learn Website Development and is now pursuing a career on a freelance basis. 

04 OCTOBER 2016

Coding is my new Life line

Fidelis Kinyanjui tells her story.

She joined the Vusha Empowerment Programme after dropping out of 2nd Year University due to lack of school fees.

Fidelis, a very diligent coder and avid researcher, too full advantage of the course trainers and went over and above what was expected of her to come up with a Health App, currently under development.

Following the skills acquired in web site design, digital literacy, coding and entrepreneurship she is now working as a Computer Expert in Nakuru, Kenya.

So far Fidelis has managed to safeguard her livelihood through her skills acquisition and create a better life for himself.

A dose of mentorship is good for career excellence

A strong mentorship network is the best ingredient to both immediate and long-term career goals for our youth. It also creates space to provide guidance on personal issues that in turn help them lead a rich life full of personal accomplishments. In all our training...

No jobs for computer illiterate staff in Kiambu – Kabogo

Kabogo ordered the county’s public service board to only take in employees who are computer literate since all systems have been digitalised.

“The county government will outsource human capital with ICT skills since we have digitised most of the services,” he said.

Initiative seeks to train youth to think business

Scola Wambui from Kikuyu, Kiambu County, is a virtual assistant — she does not have to report to any office and does most of her work online. She largely does transcriptions, with her first ever job coming from a client in China. She completed the job in two days, and for her efforts earned Sh4,500. Her latest client paid her Sh19,500.

Breaking new grounds

Over and above, the reading materials from the TukoWorks portal have impacted in me critical communication skills, as a result, for the first time I managed to secure employment as a sales executive with Delmonte Kenya Ltd. At work, I am able to utilize the internet in identifying qualifying leads that would help boost sales and sustain credibility in customers on the company’s products.

Financial Consultant in the making – Anne Njeri

Having signed up to the TukoWorks portal, I undertook a course in Customer Care Relations which enhanced my employable skills, currently, I work with a leading digital TV provider in the country.

Online Marketer – Eric Macharia

I am an online marketer, operating a Facebook Page of more than 14,000Likes, I have also secured social media marketing jobs by 4 other companies in Kenya, earning Ksh1000 a week from each company.

George Dishon

My future plan is to further my education in CCNA, CCNP, CCIE, and offer networking services.

Castro Mbithi – Virtual assistant, Online work

Today, I am no longer seeking employment but employing others. Currently, I am working online as a Virtual Assistant working for various clients across the globe. The experience has been amazing, since I started engaging in online work… This has allowed me to pay school fees for my siblings and support my personal needs.