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Tackling youth unemployment in Kenya with work-study training
Kenya faces an acute youth bulge, with 80 percent of the country's population under the age of 35. Among those of working age (15 to 35 years), 70 percent are unemployed. Two of the leading causes of Kenya's high unemployment are low academic achievement and a lack of marketable labour skills.
Digital Divide Data (DDD) Kenya, an internationally acclaimed social enterprise that delivers high-quality business process outsourcing (BPO) services to clients worldwide, has joined the Business Call to Action with a commitment to train and employ 600 young people from poor families living in the slums of Nairobi. In addition, the company is commited to ensuring that 300 of its work-study graduates receive a college degree, work experience and a secure professional job by 2018.
Through its inclusive model, referred to as Impact Sourcing, DDD works in collaboration with Nairobi's secondary schools to recruit motivated young people from poor communities. The programme combines long-term work experience with higher education scholarships intended to develop professional careers and earn higher incomes for its graduates. To qualify, young people must be between 15 and 29 years old, and have a Certificate of Secondary Education. Half of the recruits are women and 10 percent are disabled.
After the initial training period is complete, successful youth enter the educational phase of the work-study programme. While they work at DDD, they also receive partial scholarships or access to loans for college through the Kenyan Government's Higher Education Loans Board. DDD's approach enables participating youth to earn an income and support their families, build skills and gain a university degree in the field of their choice.
The work of DDD Kenya and other local businesses to improve the career opportunities for disadvantaged young people was highlighted in the report Building Future Markets.