Jobs for Youth in Urban Slums

by LivelyHoods
Everlyn, iSmart Office Manager, and her daughter
Everlyn, iSmart Office Manager, and her daughter

Over the past two months, we’ve promoted 3 sales agents to help us manage our growth. Prior to working with iSmart, one was stealing, one was a single mother with little means to support her child and the other found it difficult to find a steady job. Everlyn Ochieng has been promoted to Office Assistant, managing inventory and the checking in and out of products to our sales agents. Joseph Osoth has been promoted to Store Manager, responsible for managing our first iSmart retail store. Alex Beru Govinda has been promoted to a Sales Leader, managing morning meetings and assisting with the recruitment of potential sales agents. Without being asked, they come to work early, stay late and work on weekends. It’s inspiring. Recently Alex was asked what he likes about iSmart by a visitor. He replied, “I like thinking about how iSmart is going to grow.”

Key Indicators

Our 2012 sales from January through July are approximately $22,000 USD. In July, we generated $6500.00 in revenue, from the sale of 326 products. And most important, our sales agents made a net income of $111.00 USD on average. Additionally, 18 more sales agents joined our sales force.

Operations Updates 

  • New Products. We are market-testing BBOX products.
  • Protocols. We are working with our external accountants to assist us with implementing key operational protocols related to cash, sales, inventory, management, and human resources. We view strong operational protocols as key to effective scale.
  • Cashless Operations. We completed our M-PESA corporate training, which means we are on our way to becoming a cashless social enterprise. M-PESA is a mobile money service, allowing our customers to transfer money directly to us using their mobile phone. We aim to be 100% cashless in the first quarter of 2013.
  • Supplier MOUS. We signed memorandums of understanding with all of our suppliers, outlining terms related to delivery, marketing support, credit, product guarantees and availability of supply. This is important as we build strong partnerships to ensure that our sales agents always have quality products to sell.
  • New Intern. Jeevika Makani is an Economist from Australia. She left her job waiting at home to join us for two months. With her background in market research for companies like Vodafone, she is assisting us to conduct research on our customers and our impact as well as calculate forecasts for our social return on investment (SROI).
  • Staff Evaluations. We have implemented an evaluation system for all employees at LivelyHoods and iSmart, including sales agents, managers and co-founders. 

Funding & Achievements 

  • Data. We acquired a Q license, data analysis software, valued at $4750.00 USD. With this data, we are able to effectively analyze the baseline and endline surveys for our sales agents. For instance, we're already seeing that on average, single mothers are our best performers.
  • Lively Films. Sam Nuttmann of Session 7 Media just wrapped two weeks of filming iSmart operations. At the beginning of October, we’ll release a promotional film and a longer documentary about our impact. 
iSmart Recruits a New Class!
iSmart Recruits a New Class!
We now offer 4 fuel-efficient cookstoves!
We now offer 4 fuel-efficient cookstoves!
The iSmart Team is Smart & Enthusiastic!
The iSmart Team is Smart & Enthusiastic!
A Day in the Life of an iSmart Agent.
A Day in the Life of an iSmart Agent.
Evelyn Markets New D.Light Solar Product
Evelyn Markets New D.Light Solar Product

To Our Lively Global Givers,

We’d like to share some of our accomplishments with you.

Since our launch last year, 27 youth have sold over solar lamps and fuel-efficient cook stoves to over 1,400 families in Nairobi slum communities. Through their creativity and resilience, our youth have generated over $15,000 in sales revenue, which has been reinvested in expanding our impact. This month, we’re hiring 10 more youth. Next month, we’ll hire more. Thank you for helping us give youth rich with potential an opportunity – a job with dignity.

Mercy, one of our youths who just moved on to pursue her education, left this unsolicited (and unedited) post on our Facebook page about her work with our sales force, iSmart Kenya:

“ismart kenya is the best place any youth can enjoy being.when i joined livelyhoods i didn,t knew il reach this far.i specifically recognized tania and maria springer for coming up with this idea.i also appreciate anyone who contributed in raising this project.personally i benefited mentally,socially being part of ismart.i never regret at one point”

Additionally, here are some of our other achievements:

-With the help of former Procter & Gamble employee, we’re overhauling our training and sales curriculum.

- Tania Laden, our Director of Operations, and iSmart Kenya was given an award from Paradigm Project for being an excellent distributor of fuel-efficient cook stoves.

-Maria Springer, our Executive Director, was selected as a Cordes Fellow, which gives promising social entrepreneurs a scholarship to attend the Opportunity Collaboration in Mexico

-We were selected as one of 300 semifinalists from a pool of 3,508 for Echoing Green, an organization that invests $90,000 in bold social entrepreneurs and organizations.




iSmart Wins Paradigm Project Sales Award
iSmart Wins Paradigm Project Sales Award

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information


Location: Venice, California - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Maria Springer
Executive Director
Venice, California United States

Retired Project!

This project is no longer accepting donations.

Still want to help?

Find another project in Kenya or in Economic Development that needs your help.
Find a Project

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.