Young Africa Works Newsletter

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Young Africa Works

August 2020

1. Message from our Senior Technical Advisor

Message from Senior Technical Advisor (STA), Ian Warrender

Hello all,

I am very pleased to be providing for you my first ‘Message from the Senior Technical Advisor (STA)’. I officially started with Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) on April 14, 2020. It’s hard to believe four months have passed by so quickly. Given such a short timeline to report on, I do, however, have a few things I would like to share. Clearly, the first item is how blessed I am to have such an incredible team to work with both here in Canada, and in Kenya. This Young Africa Works in Kenya-TVET program is an incredibly comprehensive, dynamic, and complex program, with multiple players, agencies, stakeholders, and industries. With that comes the need to assemble a great team. I am certain we’ve got that!

Given the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m continually amazed at the resilience and creativity of people to be able to continue on and achieve great outcomes. Both our Canadian and Kenyan teams have been incredibly resourceful in preparing the ‘front-end’ documentation required. This includes, amongst others, the Requests for Proposals (RFP’s), the Terms of Reference (TOR) documents, the Partnership Agreements, the budgets, and the workplans. A big ‘hats off’ to Senior Program Officer (SPO), Alina Scutaru, and Manager of Operations, Nathalie Garon, for staying ahead of the curve with the mountain of documentation produced thus far, also to Nairobi-based Dorine Mukoya-Kodemo and Gladys Gathingi who have developed the HR-related documentation for our Nairobi office and to Erick Kayere who is wearing multiple hats; juggling his duties as both the Senior Program Officer Monitoring Evaluation Research and Learning and his temporary role as a very busy Acting KEFEP Senior Technical Officer.

We are now starting the implementation of collaborative relationships and partnerships with the Canadian and Kenyan teams. For example, our Ottawa-based Program Officer, Namitha Philipose, and Nairobi-based Program Officer, Isabel Wanjui, have been instrumental in ensuring clear and succinct communication with all stakeholders. They have also sustained a solid media presence. CICan’s Senior Program Officer – Gender Advisor, Leila Faraj, is also in close collaboration with our Nairobi-based Gender and Youth Specialist, Ellyjoy Karimi Kithure-Masila. This dynamic duo ensures that the program is gender responsive, and that everything we do is done in the context of gender equality (GE). Erick Kayere, with Program Officer MEL, Jackline Adisa, are working closely with the Canada CICan team on the program’s Theory of Change as it pertains to M&E. Our Ottawa-based Senior Project Officer, MEL, Ronald Rojas, has been providing expertise as well. I would also like to recognize the amazingly quick on-boarding of Nairobi-based Finance Officer, Dan Odipo Oswago, and Office Manager, Dorine Mukoya-Kodemo, who have been working very closely with the Ottawa finance team which includes the CICan Finance Controller, Joe Nogueira, Senior Program Officer-Finance, Isabelle Simard, and Finance Coordinator, Lynne Verdon. It’s also important to realize that although we have teams of specialists, the overall program spirit is one of collaboration where all program members play an active role and have a voice in many of the program activities. Our Senior Technical Advisor, Moritz Schmidt, has been particularly instrumental as both the technical expert for both the KEFEP and Young Africa Works in Kenya-TVET programs, and the ‘glue’ in keeping these program teams highly functioning, cohesive, and productive.

It’s been quite a productive few months since I’ve started and I am learning a tremendous amount. I am deeply grateful to our Vice President, International Partnerships, Alain Roy, our Caribbean and Anglophone Africa Director, Susan Sproule, KEFEP’s Manager of Operations, Tom Tunney, and Administrative Coordinator, Michelle Keetley. The support from all is helping make this journey so rewarding!

Ian J.A. Warrender

2. Our team in Kenya

Introducing Young Africa Works in Kenya-TVET Program Team in Nairobi

Dan Odipo Oswago
Finance Officer

Dorine Mukoya-Kodemo
Office Manager

Gladys Gathingi
Administrative and Logistics Coordinator

Isabel Wanjui
Communications Officer

Ian Warrender
Senior Technical Advisor

Jackline Adisa
Monitoring and Evaluation Officer

Erick Kayere
Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist

Ellyjoy Masila
Gender and Youth Specialist

Derrick Masinde
Partnership Coordinator – Kisumu

Joylinah Nduta Njeri
Partnership Coordinator – Mombasa

Mary Zaritu Endale
Partnership Coordinator – Nairobi

Sarah Gubal Diba
Partnership Coordinator – Meru

Sylvia Muhandichi Ingati
Partnership Coordinator – Eldoret

3. Introduction

Introduction to the Young Africa Works in Kenya-TVET Program

Launched on June 20, 2019 by the President of Kenya, H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, Young Africa Works in Kenya is a partnership between the Mastercard Foundation, the private sector, and the Government of Kenya to improve employment outcomes in the country.

As a key strategic component of Young Africa Works, the Young Africa Works in Kenya-TVET program will strengthen the quality of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions and systems in Kenya. The program will run for 5 years (2020-2025).

Young Africa Works in Kenya-TVET will work through a partner-driven participatory approach focusing on developing 26 Centres of Excellence (COEs) as model institutions that will increase the participation of young Kenyans, particularly women, in market-relevant skills training programs to ultimately increase the number of youth in dignified and fulfilling work in the Big Four and digital sectors. The program will also work with 75 other institutions through an institutional mentorship structure.

Young Africa Works in Kenya-TVET builds on CICan’s experience and leadership in the Kenyan TVET sector and current initiatives such as the Kenya Education for Employment Program (KEFEP). Key elements of CICan’s philosophy that have shaped Young Africa Works in Kenya-TVET include deeply embedded industry linkages, a participatory partner-driven approach, a focus on gender equality in teaching and learning, and partnerships between Kenyan and Canadian TVET institutions to build lasting peer-to-peer collaboration.

A particular focus of the Young Africa Works in Kenya-TVET program includes competency-based curriculum development, pre-service and in-service training of trainers, recognition of prior learning, delivery of life skills/employability curricula, and establishing work placements for trainees. The program also addresses the need for safe learning spaces to increase the participation of youth, specifically young women, in training that leads to employment.

The program consists of three broad objectives delivered in an integrated manner:

  1. TVET institutions deliver high quality Competency-Based Education and Training (CBET) courses linked to labour market demands
  2. Technically competent TVET trainers use CBET methods to deliver up-to-date curricula
  3. Pathways are created from unemployment through training to employment

4. COVID-19

COVID-19 measures being taken by the program

The health and safety of all Young Africa Works in Kenya-TVET team members as well as partners is our top priority. As such, CICan staff in Kenya and Canada are working from home. We continue to take a very thoughtful approach to business resumption that will take into consideration a number of aspects, including the recommendations of the public health authorities and governmental regulations, as well as any adjustments that will be required to reconfigure the office spaces and adjust the schedule of staff working from home and/or at the office consequently.

As of now, the following measures have been put in place:

  • Weekly check-ins are taking place with staff in both Canada and Kenya
  • Canadian and Kenyan staff will be alternating taking scheduled leave between July and August
  • The Canadian team and the Nairobi Office Manager having been meeting regularly to draw up safe return-to-work policies

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, CICan will continue to adapt its activities and hold online orientation meetings with program partners as needed (both Canadian colleges/institutes and Kenyan partners).

5. News and Events

Phase 1 Institutional Partnerships

We continue to build on CICan’s work in Kenya to enhance sustainability and synergy; therefore, we will be working with the same institutional partners as KEFEP for the next year. These partnerships will focus on supporting the roll-out of existing CBET courses that are already developed and approved (by TVET Authority) and registered (by Kenya National Qualifications Authority).

Thematic Partnerships

Young Africa Works in Kenya-TVET initiated 3 thematic partnerships to support key program activities:

  • Young Africa Works in Kenya-TVET-01 will focus on developing new pre-service and in-service TVET trainer training curricula. This partnership will be implemented by Algonquin College in collaboration with Durham College, Camosun College, and Kenyan partners.
  • Young Africa Works in Kenya-TVET-02 will focus on implementing PLAR procedures to provide certification for experiential learning and to facilitate admission and advanced standing in TVET institutions. This partnership will be implemented by Humber College in partnership with NorQuest College, Red River College, and Kenyan partners.
  • Young Africa Works in Kenya-TVET-03 will focus on curricula gap audit to identify new levels and content needed for programming. This partnership will be implemented by NorQuest College in partnership with Seneca College, College of the Rockies and Kenyan partners.

Partnership with Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA)

Young Africa Works in Kenya-TVET is partnering with MEDA, who will conduct rapid labour market scans to identify sectors in which employment and self-employment potential exist within the Big Four and digital sectors. The results of the labour market scans will be used to determine the sectors of focus at each COE for Phase 2 Institutional Partnerships. The assessments will also identify areas of opportunity that should be the focus of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) efforts, where high potential for employment or self-employment exists, and where RPL for admission into formal programs or credentialing of existing skills would have a significant impact. MEDA is an international economic development organization based in Canada whose mission is to create business solutions to poverty. MEDA has over six decades of experience in private sector engagement and market systems development with significant experience conducting rapid labour market scans (

Partnership with CAP Youth Empowerment Institute (CAP YEI)

Young Africa Works in Kenya-TVET is partnering with CAP Youth Empowerment Institute (CAP YEI) to build capacity for the delivery of life skills training at COEs by providing insight into the local context and developing a life skills short course/training module and instructional tools. CAP YEI is a Kenyan not-for-profit organization which addresses the youth unemployment challenge by offering skills training and support to vulnerable youth through its Basic Employability Skills Training (BEST) model. BEST is a market based, demand lend model that works by linking youth with employers or opportunities to establish small businesses with an approach that lays equal emphasis on ‘soft’ skills as on ‘hard’ technical skills. The model is designed to help youth develop labor market-oriented employability skills and access placements to easily assimilate into the competitive job market, make informed choices for their self-directed growth and positive citizenship, and access higher education and qualification, savings, peer networking, and enterprise development support. To date, CAP YEI has used this model to reach over 30,000 youth directly, and has achieved a successful transition ‘from learning to earning’ rate exceeding 80% on average – 75% to jobs and 78% to entrepreneurship ( CAP YEI currently operates in over 26 counties in Kenya.

Youth Engagement Forums

We conducted our very first online forums, aimed at giving as many young people as possible an opportunity to voice their experiences.

The first virtual forum held on June 23 targeted ‘accessible’ youth, or youth that are in school or working and have access to communication devices including laptops/computers. The Principal Secretary of State Department for Youth, Mr. Julius Korir, as well regional coordinators, and representatives from Mastercard Foundation, were also in attendance.

The second youth engagement forum held on June 25 focused on ‘harder to reach’ youth, or youth who haven’t been able to access any programs, students, unemployed youth, or those in informal work situations.

Overall, we had more than 135 participants mainly from Kenya but also Canada who took part in these two rich and informative discussions.

Program Steering Committee (PSC)

The purpose of this multi-stakeholder committee is to provide high-level strategic guidance and play an advisory role to the program, ensuring the alignment with Young Africa Works in Kenya as well as Kenyan government priorities. The PSC is co-chaired by the Mastercard Foundation and the State Department of Vocational and Technical Training, and membership consists of representatives from CICan, TVET, and private sectors in Kenya. The first PSC meeting took place on June 30, 2020 with the purpose of providing an overview of the Young Africa Works in Kenya-TVET program, and highlighting the role of the PSC.

Program Technical Committee (PTC)

The principal role of the PTC will be to address matters of a technical nature for Young Africa Works in Kenya-TVET implementation, and to ensure that activities are implemented in line with approved workplans. Members of the PTC include the Mastercard Foundation, CICan, Kenya government and private sector partners, as well as youth representation. The PTC committee membership will continue to evolve, and new members will be added as the program progresses.

The first PTC meeting was held on May 27, 2020 with the purpose of reviewing the PTC mandate and endorsing the selection of partners for 3 thematic partnerships.

6. Closing

Kindly note that we are committed to ensuring that we are in line with the directives of the Kenyan government. The health and safety of our staff, as well as our partners, comes first, and as a result, we have implemented a work-from-home order until further notice. Our staff can be contacted via email or phone during business hours.

Once things return to the “new normal”, we can be found at the office address below. This space houses other CICan programs in Kenya, including the Kenya Education for Employment Program (KEFEP) and the TVET Innovation Fund (SITVES).

CICan Kenya Office:

THE PROMENADE – 3rd Floor, General Mathenge Road
PO Box 66552 – 00800, Nairobi, Kenya

Mobile: +254 720 992 081
Website: Young Africa Works in Kenya-TVET

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