I worked with Youth Venture, which is an initiative developed by Ashoka, the world’s leading network of social entrepreneurs, to inspire and empower young Kenyans between 12-22 years to create change in their communities. This movement is part of Ashoka’s vision of creating an Everyone a Changemaker™ world. If young people are given the chance to have an early experience in their lives in Leadership, Empathy, Entrepreneurship and Teamwork, if they develop and build their ideas for creating positive change in their communities, then not only would they create an impact now, but they will continue to take initiative and lead change throughout their lives.
The Youth Venture movement is happening at a global level: already 21 countries have initiated it and the number is growing every year. It is part of a wider shift in people’s mentality towards a search for better lives and a cleaner environment. In the past five years people have begun to see the consequences of their careless behavior and issues like environmental protection, universal healthcare, microfinance and especially social entrepreneurship are being raised in more and more mediums.
What role does Kenya play in this trend and how would Youth Venture grow here? I was to find the answer to these questions over the course of my internship. What makes Kenya so particular is the multitude of pressures its youth are facing: they are confronted with high unemployment rates, reduced and expensive access to quality education, as well as low confidence in their power to create change.
Youth Venture has just started in Nairobi on March, 2012, but the openness with which it has been received by partners, youth and fellow organizations have made it develop very quickly. Now we are already working in Dagoreti Rehabilitation Centre and Nairobi Remand Home and we will be having events with young artists and youths with disabilities by the end of July. In August there will take place an “EACH Inspire Event” aimed at engaging 100 young changemakers in Nairobi to give them the opportunity to share their stories and ideas of change.
I encourage every young person to find a role they can play in this movement. It is the best opportunity to work together to build a better world.