Kenya Unlimited

The country has joined Generation Unlimited as one of its key partners.

Generation Unlimited
Young people collaborate in a workshop.
02 July 2019

About half of Kenya’s people are under the age of 18, and the polices and investments made today will have an impact on these young people’s future prospects.

While Kenya has seen many improvements in access to education, such as introducing free primary education in 2003 and free secondary education in 2008, implementing these policies has been challenging.  The pupil-to-teacher ratios remain high and many young people do not graduate from secondary school. Youth unemployment (ages 15-34) stands at a little over 10 per cent compared to overall unemployment (ages 15-64) at less than 8 per cent, and 85% of unemployed people in Kenya were younger than 35, according to data collected in 2015-2016.  

To prepare Kenya’s young people to face the challenges of a rapidly changing world and to build on existing national leadership on young people, the country has joined Generation Unlimited as one of its key partners.

In June, Kenya was visited by Generation Unlimited Director Roberto Benes and a technical team to meet with government officials, the private sector, youth, civil society and representatives from the development sector to discuss opportunities for the Global Partnership to strengthen coordination of the numerous programmes and innovations already happening in the country.

The Generation Unlimited mission set up the ground for the operationalization of the partnership as Kenya will be the first of a group of six frontrunner countries. As part of the mechanisms in place, the mission discussed how to translate into action the important leadership of His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta, a proposed Leader of Generation Unlimited. The President has established a high-level steering committee to guide the implementation of Generation Unlimited in the country, as well concrete steps to attract public and private partnership in support of its goals. The focus over the coming months will be to identify and prioritize the opportunities and challenges that Generation Unlimited will address in Kenya and to establish a country roadmap for further scaling of actions.

As a result of this first round of -discussions, a technical process will start to undertake a mapping of opportunities and gaps in the public and private space around youth employment, skilling and education, as well as the design of an in-country public/private platform that will attract and pool investment for scalable, bankable initiatives that have transformational potential for millions of young Kenyans.

The implementation of Generation Unlimited will also be led at the highest level of the UN System in the country with direct involvement by the UN Resident Coordinator in Kenya, Siddharth Chatterjee. “One million youth join the labor force each year. Kenya, through its Big 4 Development Agenda can be at the vanguard of ensuring every young person is educated, trained, employed,” said Mr. Chatterjee.


Young people collaborate in a workshop.
A team participates in the Generation Unlimited Youth Challenge.

The discussions around Generation Unlimited take place amid significant investments and opportunities underway in Kenya, under leadership from President Kenyatta. In 2017, the Kenyan Government launched the “Big 4” National Development Priorities, which addresses youth employment. The Government is also upgrading the formal education system through a new curriculum, a focus on digital learning, and the development of ICT infrastructure and equipment for schools.  Above substantive investments being made by the Government of Kenya itself, the German and Swedish Governments, World Bank and MasterCard Foundation all have major investments each worth more than $100 million in support of youth skilling and jobs. 

 “Our starting work in Kenya is an exciting moment as we are putting our feet in the ground to translate the Generation Unlimited strategy into concrete opportunities for public/private investment in young people,” said Roberto Benes, Director of Generation Unlimited’ s Secretariat “Generation Unlimited fills a space of opportunity in the countries in designing initiatives that can help young people in Kenya become productive but also engaged members of their society and we look forward to working with each and every of them.”

Generation Unlimited was established in 2018 as a global multi-sector partnership to meet the urgent need for expanded education, training and employment opportunities for young people, ages 10-24, on an unprecedented scale. The Global Partnership is developing a powerful approach to bridge education and training to employment and entrepreneurship on a massive scale and has a strong country-based approach.

Generation Unlimited focuses on seven strategic priorities which include: ensuring secondary school transmits skills that young people need for the future of work; providing young people outside the school system with opportunities for training and skills development; improving connections between job seekers and work opportunities, as well as access to quality work opportunities for young people; fostering broad-based entrepreneurship as a mindset and a livelihood; ensuring equitable access to education, training, entrepreneurship, employment and civic participation; and equipping young people as problem-solvers.