Empowering young people to become positive, productive members of society is a challenge in many emerging democracies. This is especially true in Northeast Kenya, where a large underemployed ethnic Somali population is at special risk for recruitment by violent extremist groups. EDC’s USAID-funded Yes Youth Can! North Eastern Region (YYC! NER) project provided thousands of youth with economic development and civic engagement opportunities in three provinces in Kenya. Through the creation of village-based youth groups called bunges, YYC! NER supported youth access to academic and vocational scholarships, income-generating activities, and trainings in leadership and peace building.
During a three-year span, the YYC! NER project undertook the following activities:
- Mobilized youth to join bunges and County Youth Board Forums (CBF), both of which supported civic engagement and socially conscious development projects
- Provided postsecondary academic and vocational scholarships
- Conducted peace-building skills trainings with members of three CBFs
- Conducted income-generating activities skills trainings for youth in Garissa and Wajir provinces
- Established Shariah-compliant savings and credit cooperative organizations (SACCO) in Garissa, Wajir, and Mandera counties
- Promoted the livelihoods of women in Kenya through the Coca-Cola 5by20 initiative
- Supported the development of youth radio programs that promoted civic engagement
- YYC! NER conflict resolution and peace-building activities reached more than 24,000 youth.
- 3,798 youth reported new or better employment as a result of the project.
- Youth created 144 civic education radio programs.