Education and Youth
USAID works in partnership with the Government of Kenya to improve learning outcomes in early grade reading, the foundation for building Kenya’s human capital. A countrywide youth empowerment program has engaged youth to step forward as leaders – working with government and the private sector, to address national challenges such as access to higher education and workforce development. USAID supports communities to educate children marginalized by ethnic conflict as well as children orphaned or left vulnerable due to the HIV/AIDS crisis.
Today, nearly 3 million more students are enrolled in primary school than in 2003—a 46 percent increase—and the number of schools have grown by 7,000. With this increase, however, came a dearth of teachers, inadequate textbooks and overrun school facilities.
Despite the rise in student enrollment, approximately one million school-age children are still not attending school, many of those children are from ethnically marginalized communities.
USAID supports the Ministry of Education to build the skills and expertise of teachers and education managers to bring modern teaching methods and technology into the classroom. We measure our success not by the number of children in school, but by the number of children who can read by grade three. We also work in over 750 pre-schools and primary schools in the slums of Nairobi and the mainly Muslim communities of Coast and North Eastern Provinces.
We also partner with various civil society and private sector organizations to assist children orphaned due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic and those coming from economically distressed homes to complete their education and become leaders in their communities.
Kenya is home to USAID's largest youth program in the world – Yes Youth Can. The Government of Kenya defines youth as being between the ages of 18 and 35. Youth comprise over 35 percent of the population. The search for employment is a daily struggle for many young Kenyans, with close to 2.5 million youth currently unemployed and only 125,000 entering the formal workforce each year. More than 90 percent of youth are literate, and over half have completed at least some secondary education. However, many young Kenyans have not been given adequate opportunities to develop the necessary job skills to participate fully in the local economy. Yes Youth Can empowers youth to identify solutions to improve workforce development.
- New materials and teaching methods improved reading skills nearly three times faster in 1,300 pilot schools than methods and materials used in control schools.
- One million youth have organized themselves into 20,000 youth bunges, or parliaments, from which they are taking on national youth challenges such as access to higher education and workforce development.
- Our work in over 750 pre-schools and primary schools in the slums of Nairobi and the mainly Muslim communities of Coast and North Eastern Provinces resulted in a 567% increase in the percentage of children reading at grade level.