As the responsibility for leadership passes to the next generation, Africa’s future and its global competitiveness will be driven by academically gifted and entrepreneurial young people empowered to lead. USAID is providing state-of-the-art education to millions of Kenyan children, expanding educational and employment opportunities for young adults, and preparing a new generation of young African leaders with the skills and mindset to transform the region and the continent.

Program Areas

Early-Grade Reading

Reading is a fundamental skill that lays the foundation for all future learning. USAID partners with the Ministry of Education to implement the Tusome Early Grade Reading program in every public primary school and over 1500 low-cost private schools across Kenya. Tusome (“Let’s Read” in Kiswahili) has trained 77,000 teachers and dramatically improved the reading skills of over six million learners throughout the country.Through Tusome, teachers and learners are using over 26 million Tusome textbooks and learning materials, enabling every child to have their own book.

Tusome utilizes an electronic monitoring and evaluation system to provide real-time data and instructional feedback to teachers and administrators throughout the country to help adjust programming approaches. The technical interventions and methodologies of Tusome are producing a new generation of Kenyan children reading at higher levels of fluency and comprehension. Tusome has also in collaboration with MOE  developed a national online data collection and monitoring system providing real-time data on the school, teacher performance and student learning progress, enabling the MOE to monitor student learning across the country in real time.

Youth Employment

USAID’s youth programs target key growth sectors and develop skills that boost competitiveness for the job market. USAID Empowered Youth supports innovative and sustainable strategies, partnerships, and youth-led approaches to promote youth economic prospects, increase access and utilization of social and economic services, and connect youth with each other. To accelerate youth-driven employment solutions, USAID Empowered Youth provides small grants to start-up or expand youth-led businesses, scale youth-run enterprises to employ more youth, or expand employer-led training.

Youth Leadership

The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) supports young people to drive growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa.  There are three YALI programs in Kenya and East Africa:

  1. The Mandela Washington Fellowship provides skills and support for young African leaders through training and coursework at 40 U.S. universities. YALI leadership training has enabled thousands of young Africans to make a difference and lead a new generation back in their home countries.

  2. The Regional Leadership Center for East Africa at Kenyatta University in Nairobi has trained over 5,000 young leaders from 14 East and Central African countries in business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership, and public management with an eye toward regional networking and collaboration.

  3. The YALI Network with over 500,000 members continent-wide, provides online courses and a forum to equip young leaders with 21st century skills to transform their communities. 

Overview: Education and Youth

COVID-19 Communication Campaign for Primary School Students

Our Sisters Read

Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI)

Two Kenyan boys read together while sharing a book.
Kenya’s focus on high-quality education is improving the futures of primary school students across the country. Children who excel in reading have a better chance of succeeding and contributing to the prosperity of the country.