The creation of decent and sustainable jobs for the youth of poor and marginalized communities as a response of the Decent Work Country Programme in Kenya and Zimbabwe

The creation of decent and sustainable jobs for the youth of poor and marginalized communities as a response of the Decent Work Country Programme in Kenya and Zimbabwe

ILO Project Youth Employment Support, Jobs for the Unemployed and Marginalized young People YES JUMP, funded by the Federal Republic of Germany and with the overall technical management from ILO’s Regional Office for Africa in Addis Ababa, Youth Employment Support (YES) Jobs for the Unemployed and Marginalized young People (JUMP) Project has been established in Kenya and Zimbabwe.

The YES-JUMP Project  is part of the ILO’s response to the Decent Work Country Programme adopted by the Government, Workers and Employers (ILO’s tripartite constituents) in both Zimbabwe and Kenya. The objective of the Project is to contribute to the poverty alleviation efforts through creating decent and sustainable jobs for the youth of poor and marginalized communities. Its aim is to help partner communities and youth groups find more socially responsible and community driven solutions to poverty alleviation, with at least 50% of its target group being young women.

The Project is also a part of ILO’s response to the Global Jobs Crisis in supporting young men and women in jobs creation and enterprise development. The principles of Decent work, Sustainable livelihoods and community participation guides the project in its strategy.


YES-JUMP is assisting local communities in selected districts of rural and urban areas, in collaboration with the government, employers’ and workers’ organisations, to create one thousand decent jobs in each of the countries. To do so, the project supports entrepreneurship development through vocational skills and business training, offers technical and financial support to local job creation schemes, and strengthens small enterprises and cooperatives.

In partnership with another ILO project, COOP Africa, YES-JUMP has also developed a Youth Fund which works through a competitive call for proposals and provides increased access to financial services for young people along with business development services.  Youth is defined by the African Youth Charter as women and men between the ages of 15 and 35 years.

The project strategy is, thus, to create a broader partnership between local stakeholders to implement priority projects for youth at the community level.

Immediate Project Objectives

The two immediate objectives of the project are: i) the creation of one thousand sustainable and decent jobs for young women and men in selected communities in each project country, taking participatory approaches, in order to reduce poverty; and ii) institutional building assuring that selected project partners at national and local levels are fully able to design and implement their own youth employment schemes.

Target groups, tripartite partners and stakeholders

The direct project beneficiaries are the young women (50 percent) and men in rural and urban economies in Kenya and Zimbabwe, as identified by the project partners and the project’s National Steering Committees, composed of the government and representatives of social partners (employers’ organisations and  trade unions); and youth organisations, including cooperatives and local organisations at the community level.

Results achieved and impact

In Kenya, a pool of local trainers was created on the module Start and Improve Your Business (SIYB). These trainers have continued to mobilize and reach the youth. So far, over 519 youth have received both business start-up and business management training as well as savings mobilisation and group dynamics training. 

After the launch of the Youth Challenge Fund in August 2010, over four hundred organisations like Visoi have accessed micro loans to help them start businesses which they identified during the training. In March 2011, about USD 60,000 were distributed to the youth as loans with microfinance organisations and SACCOs (Savings and Credit Cooperatives). The rest of the funds were granted by ILO, through collaboration between YES-JUMP and COOP Africa, to launch the Youth Challenge Fund. As a result, more than 667 direct jobs have been created for youth in isolated and rural communities in Kenya.

In Zimbabwe, similar trainings have been conducted for youth as well as the provision of loans amounting to approximately USD 42,000.  As a result, youth have started businesses and created jobs for nearly eight hundred young people in Zimbabwe. 

The project is now implementing the second round of Grants focusing on “Green Jobs for Youth in Kenya and Zimbabwe.” Partnerships are being established with the local youth SACCO (Savings and credit cooperatives), NGO’s in the field and experts on environment sustainability. A total of approximately US$60,000.00 each has been provided for each country.

Other successes of the Project:

  • Inculcation of a culture of savings amongst youth through the formation of Savings and Credit Cooperatives. SACCOs are a community based fund that mops up all excess local liquidity  while  discouraging youth from non productive expenditures .To date more than 1500 youths are members of Youths Savings and Credit Cooperatives .The SACCOs are managed by youth themselves thus creating a youth friendly environment amongst youth to save and borrow.
  • Promotion of the entrepreneurship culture. The project adapted ILO materials and guidelines already developed to promote entrepreneurship. These include KAB and SIYB which were introduced to promote entrepreneurship awareness, generating and managing small businesses.
  • Achievement of technical and vocational skill training through the Project linkages with Ministry of Youths Vocational Skills Training Centres in the districts and the Private sector.
  • Creation around eight hundred jobs mostly in following sectors of Horticulture, Manufacturing, Retails and Service industries

At the policy level, the YES-JUMP project has instituted a high-level National Steering Committee in both Kenya and Zimbabwe, thus actively promoting a sense of ownership among the government stakeholders, employers’ and workers’ organisations.

Project Locations

  • In East Africa – Kenya – Athi River, Nyandarua South and Nakuru districts
  • In Southern Africa – Zimbabwe – Gokwe, Goromonzi and Norton districts

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