In Kenya, according to the recent studies, the youth rate of unemployment is at 40% or an estimated 5.2 million young adults. For every 100 students who start primary school, only 68 transition to secondary school; and just 6 of this group go to universities or tertiary institutions to learn the skills required to join the labour market. The Most affected by these statistics are the rural youth.
Part of the problem for the youth unemployment according to a British Council study “Can Higher Education Solve Africa’s Job Crisis? Understanding graduate employability in Sub-Saharan Africa” conducted in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa in 2014 is largely because of the lack of adequate skills. The Employers are dissatisfied with the skills and quality of graduates.
In addition, Africa is struggling to meet the quality education demand amidst lack of adequate infrastructure, limited resources, corruption, Nepotism and leadership based on tribal, political and economic backgrounds.
Afribridge began with a vision of providing the youth with tools and resource to transform their lives and those around them in spite of the above stats. Our goal is to have the youth look at the high school process as preparing for life, be self motivated, more committed agents of their own lives and reach beyond the perceived limits.
We started in November 2016 with an aim of mentoring high school students for transition into the workforce and community leadership and to actively engage them in economic, political and social issues in rural Kenya. And what better than to start from home. King’atua Secondary school, a small little known institution deep within the heart of Kijabe, and home to one of the co-founders was chosen to be the pilot school for our program.
Launching the program was a big step for Afribridge, like a baby finally being born into the world. There was praiseworthy reception from the school administration and students. We had requested to concentrate on the Form 2 students first but the entire school population of more than 150 students was gathered in the assembly hall for the introduction. This simple demonstration brought to light the reality of how much such an initiative was necessary and gave us confidence that we were moving in the right direction.
As the sessions went on, under the title “Career Pathways Workshops”, we could definitely see an impact in the students. They were eager to receive the extra ‘life knowledge’ we offered and communicated more freely. On our part, we noticed the fewer female students required more attention. Through questionnaire surveys some areas of concern to the students arose. In order to give our best, we had to meet the students at their point of need. We therefore incorporated Entrepreneurship and Drug Addiction/ Prevention to the Afribridge curriculum. A couple of professionals in their fields, who are passionate about raising future leaders have since come on board as speakers.
The productivity gap between the rich who are mostly urban and poor mostly rural is a complex challenge in Kenya. Schooling alone is not meeting the needs of the poorest and ill-networked youth despite sacrificial investments in education.
Our organization vision is to bridge this gap through a curriculum in high school ensuring that the youth have a clear career pathway and also stimulating creative ideas in entrepreneurship for ethical