The Foundation supports passionate local youth leaders who are committed to forging a more positive path for youth in Kenya. Walid Ahmed, head of Lamu Youth Alliance, grew up facing the same problems young people do today, but was able to navigate and excel with the support of those who saw a bright future in him. He was invited by the Clinton Global Initiative in New York where Barack Obama recognised him in his speech in 2014.

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer

Creating opportunity for youth in Northern Kenya

In response to these challenges, and with the support of the European Union, the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) is working with Islamic Relief Kenya and the newly established National Council for Nomadic Education in Kenya to tackle the complex array of problems faced by youth in Lamu, Garrissa and Mandera counties.

Recognising the need for education and training, the Foundation is working with leading youth organisations and schools to provide the skills that young people need to take advantage of job opportunities. The Foundation is also working closely with local businesses to ensure youth are job-ready, and with local government to make sure youth are aware of the entitlements available to them.

The goal of this initiative is to provide opportunities for 16,000 vulnerable young men and women, aged 15 – 35 -- which will further support 25,000 members of families and the wider community.

The Foundation is supporting many civic organisations like these to help mentor, train and represent young people in Northern Kenya. These groups act as platforms through which to connect young people to opportunities. They also help youth engage constructively with local government around local development issues.

Impressively, these organisations have begun to negotiate apprenticeship programmes with large private sector companies like major utilities as well as with local enterprises, such as carpentry workshops and beauty salons.

Abood is a good example. Once an idle youth who hustled a living from tourists by the port, Abood heard about an apprenticeship at Maja Ali’s carpentry workshop from Lamu Youth Alliance. He has now been learning the trade for several months. “One day, I want to set up my own business and employ young people like me,” he says.