Looking beyond the deprivation of Kenyan communities, one of the biggest problems facing communities is a lack of economic opportunities. In many cases people do not have the skills or resources to access employment or generate their own income, despite having the ambition to do so. In other cases, there are those with skills who simply cannot find work. Unemployment is a massive problem and challenge in Kenya – statistics show that the unemployment rate is around 40% and that an estimated 64% of those unemployed are youth. We know that there are a variety of causes contributing to this such as rural to urban migration (caused in part by population growth), economic growth not keeping pace with a growing population and associated large numbers of youth finishing school, significant school drop-out numbers and an education system that does not adequately equip the youth with the right skills to gain employment or entrepreneurial grounding to start their own businesses.
Through our volunteering programme and projects, we seek to address these root causes of unemployment in our communities. We have already gained experience in running small business fund projects and will explore opportunities to expand this including the possibility of partnering with organisations that have specific expertise in the field. Our dressmaking training centre is an example of one of our own projects that will contribute to improving the skills of local women.
Dressmaking and Tailoring Centre Project
In one of the ways to address the low job practical skills and unemployment problem in Ruaraka community, the organization established a small dressmaking and tailoring training centre to tackle the problems of low practical skill levels and lack of income generating opportunities for our target group especially the women and youth. This project gives skills training in tailoring and embroidery, fashion designing and basic life skills for sustainable livelihoods to women and youth in Ruaraka.
Financial Literacy and Small Business Grants Projects
Financial Literacy and Small Business Grants project offers grants to women and youth in Ruaraka. Progressive Volunteers identifies women and youth in need to realize their dreams of financial self-sufficiency. The organization conducts business skills trainings on business idea generation, business plan development, sales management, management of finances and reporting. After successful completion of the training, the beneficiaries are given a small grant for business start-up. A $300 grant helps these beneficiaries start or expand small businesses like shops, tailoring, bakeries, kiosks, shoe shining booths, carpentry shops, cafes, farms etc.