Using CLA Methods to Enhance Kenya’s Youth Entrepreneurship Roundtable
In Kenya, the rate of unemployment especially for youth who form approximately 75% of the population is high. With limited growth in formal sector employment, self-employment and entrepreneurship have become increasingly common. However, there are few opportunities for technical assistance or networks that are critical for strengthening entrepreneurial mind sets for youth business start-ups. USAID Cooperatives Leadership Engagement Advocacy and Research (CLEAR) Program established the Youth Entrepreneurship Roundtable (YERT), a Community of Practice for youth in cooperatives and startup businesses to network with each other and connect with business experts to support them in developing their business ideas.
YERT took a big hit during the COVID 19 pandemic which also forced most members to shut down or downscale their businesses. CLEAR received mounting requests to maintain YERT and train members on adaptive business skills to help them survive the pandemic. With health and safety requirements to stop the spread of COVID-19, CLEAR had to reimagine its programming to suit the emerging needs of the youth. CLEAR organized listening activities that include interviews and surveys with YERT members and thereafter facilitated pause and reflect sessions with the program team, to make meaning of data gathered and identify effective interventions. This intentional use of CLA allowed CLEAR to quickly adapt. Through utilizing CLA framework tools, CLEAR was able to maintain YERT amidst the pandemic and transform it from a physical to virtual platform, which led to a 400% increase of YERT registered members accessing business technical support from 11 counties in Kenya.
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