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Kenya: Better prospects for young people

The VIVA programme promotes education, sport and health

two women with a mobile phone
Through the online platform, young people in Kenya receive education and support services that improve the prospects of life - especially for girls and young women.

No training, no job and no opportunities to play sports or make music. Young poor people in Kenya often decide to start a family at a very early age due to a lack of prospects. There are many early pregnancies as contraceptives are difficult to obtain. The VIVA programme supported by KfW on behalf of the German Federal Government is now tackling the problem with various approaches.

VIVA’s aim is to escape the vicious circle of poverty, early pregnancy and a lack of education. The programme supports young people in the poor neighbourhoods of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu by ensuring that they can access services in state and private healthcare facilities free of charge. Plus, the specialists at the facilities are trained to deal with the particular situation of young people in an understanding and sensitive manner.

Assistance is offered in family planning and on the topic of alcohol and drug use. In addition, the young people can take advantage of leisure activities, take courses and continue their education. The programme covers youth meetings to sports activities, sewing and cooking courses and technical training, for example in vehicle mechanics.

Also in Kenya the easiest way to reach young people is through online platforms. Interested parties register on a website or by text message and then they receive access via a voucher through the app or as a chip card to the comprehensive range of services offered by the VIVA programme, including contraceptives. VIVA’s offers are advertised in youth clubs, social media and popular youth magazines. Promoters and young people who are already participating in VIVA also share information about it.

The German Foundation for World Population (DSW), an international non-governmental organisation, is implementing the programme by raising awareness of VIVA and offering educational seminars and further training courses. The online platform and associated app are being created by the Dutch social enterprise Triggerise.

The programme, which has been active since 2022, aims to improve the sexual and reproductive health of young people and generally equip them with more skills and knowledge. The main target group is people between the ages of 15 and 24, primarily from poor residential neighbourhoods.

More than 20,000 young people from Kenya have already registered on the site, and the number is expected to rise to around 70,000 by 2024. At least 3,000 young people – almost two-thirds of these being girls and young women – are also expected to have attended vocational training courses by 2024. The aim is that 2,100 of them will have found a job no later than six months after their training. A further 18,000 young people are expected to have participated in sports and other leisure activities.

The programme gives young people their own income and more self-determination to make decisions about their lives. Girls and young women in particular have greater freedom to go their own way.