The Kenya Youth Empowerment Project (KYEP) was a 5 year World Bank funded project that came to an end on 29th February 2016. The Kenya Private Sector Alliance successfully implemented the Training and Internship component which aimed at supporting Governments effort to improve youth employability through provision of Training and Internship. Specifically, the project aimed at ensuring that at least 50% of youth completing the internship programme secure employment 6 months post internship completion.
In June 2010 Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) was mandated by the Government of Kenya to implement the Kenya Youth Empowerment Project (KYEP), Training and Internship component which aimed at providing the selected youth with relevant work experience and skills through training and work placements in the formal and informal sectors.
KYEP responded to the demand and supply issues facing youth employment. On the demand side, it mobilized private sector employers and created internships in the formal and informal sectors.
The pilot program was offered in Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu and entailed two months of training and four months of work experience per cycle. It targeted vulnerable youth who were defined as 15 to 29 years of age with at least eight years of schooling and who were not in school or working at the time of entry into the program. The project run for a total of six cycles
Overall, a total of 20,384 (47% female) youth received training and 13,289 (49% female) youth were successfully placed in internships against the target of 15,000 and 10,000 planned for Training and Internships respectively.
Additionally, the project was successful in placing youth in paid jobs (An average of 75% of the Interns participating in the project ended up securing employment (wage or self) while approx. 10% went for further skills development). The Impact evaluation carried out on participants and control group of cycle 2 revealed that 14 months after the internship completion, 80% of young men reported they were in paid work compared with 69% in the control group, a 10.8% point gain. The gain increased to 14.2% for those completing the full training program. Among young women there was a 6.7% increase in employment for those who were offered internships and an 8.7% increase for those who completed the program.
As a result of the successful implementation of the pilot project in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu, lessons learnt from KYEP has informed the design of a new government led initiative (Kenya Youth Employment and Opportunities Project) planned to be launched from mid- 2016.
With the successful completion of the project it is evident that the private sector in Kenya took a bold step in addressing the challenge of youth employment in a coordinated and harmonized manner. It is therefore clear that tackling the youth employment challenge requires innovative solutions that draw together multiple partners moving beyond the focus on numbers to the quality and sustainability of these interventions. There is thus a need for diverse solutions that respond to the unique needs of different youth groups across the country, recognizing each region’s unique challenges and contextual differences. It is therefore important to develop youth employment projects, programs and policies that are evidence based and results oriented by adopting an approach to youth employability that builds on strong partnerships.