Written by Hannah Bain. Contributions from Dalton Odhiambo.
While Kenya has one of the fastest-growing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa, youth in urban informal settlements like Kibera continue to face high rates of unemployment in the formal sector. Those that do find work still live on less than $2 per day on average.
Though residents continue to struggle with economic insecurity, they are innovative, creative, and enterprising, forging their own paths, establishing small businesses, and developing niche skills to support themselves and their families. The Economist once said that Kibera might be the “most entrepreneurial place on the planet.”
CFK Africa’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (EED) team encourages and supports youth’s entrepreneurial spirit through financial and digital literacy courses, information and communications technology (ICT) training, and resume and interview preparation. Staff members also link youth to job opportunities and additional resources through CFK’s large local network.
Recently, the EED team connected 10 youths to jobs at Digital Divide Data (DDD). We had a conversation with four of them, Daniel, Joyce, Nancy, and Fiona about their experience with the EED, their current jobs, and their dreams for the future.
A Conversation with Daniel, Joyce, Nancy, and Fiona
What was your favorite part about the Entrepreneurship and Economic Development program?
Daniel: I liked learning about how to manage a business and developing skills to run a business one day.
Joyce: I learned how to conduct myself in the workplace, and I really value the employability skills that I developed such as time management.
Nancy: I liked learning how to problem solve and develop analysis skills. I also enjoyed participating in group work and discussions.
Fiona: I liked many different parts of the work readiness program, including how to conduct myself in an interview, how to work in an environment with many people, how to save money, and how to start a business.
What do you do in your job with Digital Divide Data?
Daniel: In my interview, I was able to impress the team with my computer skills, and now I work on building documents.
Joyce: I work on data entry and insurance documents.
Nancy: I work on image tagging, description, and annotation. I get to use creative skills every day, and I enjoy that part of the job.
Fiona: I work on a lot of the same things that Joyce does. I like typing, and I always make sure to give it my best in my work.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Daniel: In two years’ time, I want to be a businessman. I am already working in business, but I want to move more into business development.
Nancy: I want to be my own boss. I learned how to make beadwork from my mom, and one day I want to run my own beadwork business.
Joyce: I would like to continue my studies and advance in a career in the IT field.
Fiona: I want to further my studies so that I can find better opportunities. I want to grow and be in a better place so in case any opportunity comes, I can be ready and apply.
Would you like to say anything to your mentors/teachers at the Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (EED) program?
Daniel: I just want to say thank you for the opportunity; I’m so thankful for the connections.
Nancy: I want to say thank you to them. They were always there for us, and I hope to continue to meet people like Dalton [Program Officer for CFK’s EED program]. We are better people because of them.
Joyce: [The EED team] really helped us learn a lot of skills, so I am very thankful. We now have more opportunities thanks to them.
Fiona: I got so much support from Dalton and Keith [Program Officers for CFK’s EED program], so I want to say thank you. They were there for us if we had any questions, provided us with opportunities, and always made sure we were okay, so I am truly grateful.