What is Yes Youth Can?
Yes Youth supports the empowerment of Kenyan youth as envisioned in the 2010 constitution. The program aims to develop peaceful leaders among 18-35 year-olds, with the complementary objective of improving their socioeconomic status.
Who implements Yes Youth Can?
USAID’s implementing partners offer training, mentorship
and skill building activities to the bunges and focus on supporting youth leadership and entrepreneurship.
YYC /Coast: CLUSA International
YYC /Central: Mercy Corps
YYC /Nairobi: CLUSA International
YYC /Nyanza: World Vision
YYC /Rift Valley: Mercy Corps
YYC /Western: Winrock International
YYC/North Eastern Province: Education Development Center
Village bunges and County Bunge Forums
Project Duration and Budget
$55 million total budget
How does Yes Youth Can work?
Young people organize themselves in youth-run and youth-led bunges, (parliaments) through which members democratically elect their own leaders at the village, county, and national level. The bunges provide a structure and a forum for young women and men to mobilize and take action to improve their own lives and those of their neighbors, develop new leadership skills, promote transparent decision-making about their priorities, engage their collective voice on decisions that affect them and revive the true spirit of harambee (a Kenyan tradition of community self-help events).
Research conducted after the 2008 post-election violence showed that Kenyan youth wanted their own voice in affairs that affect them, through youth-run organizations.
How is Yes Youth Can making a difference?
Organizing a Movement
As of mid 2012, close to one million youth from thousands of villages have come together and as many as 20,000 village-level bunges have registered with the government of Kenya as Self-Help-Groups. Village bunges have selected representatives to form 25 county-level bunges. In March 2012, the county bunge leaders gathered to form the National Youth Bunge Association (NYBA) to represent the movement at the national level.
Income Generating Activities & Community Self-Help
The village bunges have built and are running small businesses such as fish ponds, poultry raising, small scale tea growing, milk sales and jewelry making. They organize community service, focusing on environmental conservation, building and reinforcing peace groups, local garbage collection, making sanitary pads for secondary school girls, pairing up with hospital workers to eliminate jigger infestations as well as doing infrastructure repairs and raising funds to provide reliable water for their communities.
Promoting a Youth Focused Agenda
Bunge leaders are working at building strong relationships with local government officials as a means of promoting a youth-focused agenda. Since early 2012, the bunges across Kenya have been mobilizing youth in their counties as part of a national government campaign called “My ID My Life” to register Kenyans for national identity cards. Without a national ID card, Kenyans cannot get a job, open a bank account or vote. It is estimated that since June 2012, the My ID My Life has helped roughly 400,000 Kenyan youth to apply for an ID card. In addition, the program is supporting the development of a “Kenya Youth Think Tank” to research youth issues in Kenya with the aim of influencing policies to be more youth-friendly.
Supporting Grassroots Development
Bunges have generated proposals for a youth-led and youth-managed Youth Innovate for Change (Tahidi) Fund for grassroots community development and empowerment projects. By mid-2012, 4,200 Tahidi grants (beginning at 40,000 Kenya Shillings or $480) were awarded to village bunges in all 25 counties to work on agricultural, environmental, conservation, infrastructure and water projects. In addition, 25 youth-led Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) have been launched nationwide.
For more information:
Christine Pagen, Acting Director
Office of Education and Youth
Tel: +254 20 862 2755
Updated July 2013
Last updated: August 21, 2013