Raising economically empowered youth
By Lilian Kaivilu
Before Wamuyu Mahinda founded The Youth Banner, she had worked in several youth organisations. In 2006, she was given an assignment to go round the country running a business plan competition that was encouraging youth to go into enterprise development. It is here that she realised that the youth who wanted to go into business needed more support in helping them think through and build the idea towards success. This was the start of The Youth Banner, an organisation mentors the youth and provides leadership towards achieving the organisation goals. She is an Ashoka Fellow.
Tell us more about The Youth Banner
The Youth Banner is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to empower the youth by imparting basic but vital business knowledge to them so that they can be able to start and run successful businesses.
What are some of your programmes?
Our flagship program is the Banner Economic Empowerment Program (BEEP), which is a six-month entrepreneurship training. In addition, we have Ajira which works with already running businesses and Amka Tujiinue Group which works with the women. Other than this we offer ICT training in collaboration with our partners and this ensures that the youth have all rounded skills to enable them run their respective ventures
How much did it cost you to start the organisation?
I don’t have a figure in shillings as the beginning was possible because of pro bono services given by friends and relatives.
What has been the impact so far?
We have gradated over 3500 youth, created over 794 business and jobs in the last 2 years. In addition, over 100 youths have been linked to KIVA interest free loans to expand their businesses. Through BEEP program, the initiative has indirectly benefitted over 200,000 people. In addition, 1,577 youth and women have been trained in digital literacy. TYB employs a youthful workforce and currently, there are 40 permanent staff and an additional 15 business advisors/trainers.
In which areas is TYB working?
We are currently in 27 counties, but we are in plans to go nationwide and we are working closely with the counties to ensure that we develop suitable programs to be implemented in them.
What is TYB doing differently in its quest to empower the youth? What is unique about your programs?
First of all our programs follow what we like to call the “handholding approach”. This basically means that once a youth has joined our program, they are carefully guided and mentored throughout the training period
How does TYB track the beneficiaries to know their progress?
We have a Monitoring and Evaluation department and we use various tools to monitor the progress. Also through the handholding approach, a relationship is formed between trainers and students that stretches way beyond the official six months’ training period and this is used to track the progress of our beneficiaries after training.
Tell us about the upcoming WECREATE event on August 1&2nd
The Women’s Entrepreneurial Center of Resources, Education, Accesss, Training for Economic Empowerment Center is a global program that intends to provide female entrepreneurs and women led enterprises with tools and opportunities to make their startups booming successes but also provide a physical space that nourishes and supports a local, national and international ecosystem.