The Youth Groups

We are now half way through our second programme in Nakuru and this time around we are lucky to be working with 21 fantastic, if at times challenging, Youth Groups. Youth Groups are groups of men and women between the ages of 18-35 (although some can be considerably older) who have come together to develop their communities and are registered with the Ministry of Youth. They focus on things like HIV/Aids awareness, peace-building through theatre and arts, and micro-enterprise.

The groups we are working with are very diverse coming from Bondeni to Kaptembowa and ranging from a group of widows to a group of Egerton University graduates. I really enjoy this diversity because every group is a challenge in its own way and every group must be worked with differently. Some groups “get” the key concepts very fast while others take much more time to understand important ideas like problems are opportunities. Every group presents a challenge to the Fellows that work with them and, for me, this is one of the best parts of our programme. The Fellows can’t simply deliver a curriculum that we give them. Instead they are forced to adapt and think on their feet and to be good facilitators they must be very thoughtful and observant in order to analyse their groups and decide on the best approach.  On this programme I have endeavoured to see everyone teach and it’s really a credit to this group that every lesson I’ve seen has been taught differently.

Often we are asked how we select the Youth Groups.

This process is managed by our Kenyan Partners, Hope and Vission SACCO, recently voted the best run Youth SACCO (saving and credit co-operative) in Kenyan by the Kenyan Government.

Hope and Vision firstly source groups from different areas of Nakuru and then visit them to better understand their past activities, check their records, observe them in meetings and generally assess how active and committed they are. From this they narrow down the shortlist and we then have an information day to which we invite the shortlisted groups. Based on attendance and further discussions at this day, Hope and Vision select the participating groups.

This is exactly what happened this time where 28 groups were invited to the information day. The only snag was word had gotten out of the success of our first programme meaning many more groups turned up unexpectedly, keen to find out how they could work with Balloon Kenya. At the final count 48 separate groups came to the day. A ringing endorsement of the commitment and passion of young Kenyans in Nakuru; but also, I hope, evidence that the programme can have a massive impact in Nakuru and across Kenya over the next few years.

All in all a very exciting day and time for our organisation.