In partnership with Kenya National Library Service,and Book Aid International,VAP’s community library dubbed ‘Maktaba Mtaani’ has been fully commissioned to live by donation of books and other collections of all categories targeting young people as from the ages of 6-20 years.Prior to the donations,a two days training of ‘setting up’ a community library was conducted by staff from Kenya National Library services to VAP staff who will be in charge of the library.The library stationed within the Youth Empowerment Hub will be open to young people,teachers and community members from various schools providing them a serene and safe environment for study revisions,tutorial support,STEM subjects interventions integrated with sports as well as introducing young people into environmental initiatives of using recycled and reused materials for artistic purposes aiming to promote sustainable development through:culture,arts and communication.
Basketball For Good
In order to expand its reach and providing a different taste of another sport amongst its growing youth population,VAP has added another layer of sports on its existing pyramid of sports for social and economic development.The introduction of basketball for good programs aims at using resiliency principles,skills and training learned on a basketball court.The program focuses on positive health and well being,social connection,teamwork and the development of resiliency and employability skills on and off the basketball court, working with young people aged 12-19 years both boys and girls from various schools:primary,high schools,and colleges including community centres.The program delivers both on and off court activities including basketball skills and drills for young people and builds the capacity of local youth coaches to facilitate programs to motivate and inspire participants.
In 2012, at a conference in Lyon, Founder & Executive Director of Vijana Amani Pamoja (VAP), attended a session on social enterprise development.
The session was delivered by Steve of Kick4Life, a fellow Common Goal community member organisation which had developed a series of successful hospitality social enterprises in Lesotho. Kick4Life’s restaurant and hotel were providing employment for young people, as well as generating income to support the financial sustainability of their Football for Good programmes.
For Enouce it was a lightbulb moment and he saw immediately that a similar approach could work for VAP, the organisation he had founded in 2008 to fight HIV/AIDS in Majengo, a slum district of Nairobi. From their first office, pictured below, in the following four years, VAP had grown significantly, reaching thousands of youth every year with health education and testing, as well as expanding their programming to provide holistic support including employability and entrepreneurship interventions designed to help young people work towards achieving sustainable livelihoods.
Despite these successes, and in common with many other NGOs, the biggest challenge for VAP remained funding and financial sustainability, with a competitive fundraising environment and the often short term nature of grants making it difficult and draining to maintain and grow the organisation’s impact. The workshop in Lyon showed Enouce, pictured below, how social enterprise could improve the situation, providing an opportunity to diversify their funding balance and to create a new and flexible income stream which could, at the same time, fulfil VAP’s mission to help young people escape the cycle of poverty.
When he returned from France, Enouce got to work, and when it was not being used for programme delivery, VAP started to rent out its various equipment, such as outdoor furniture, sports equipment, gazebos and audio systems. By 2016 they had raised enough capital to open M Food, a small restaurant and catering service located close to their office in Buru Buru, and it was soon generating a steady stream of income for the organisation. M Food was also providing paid employment to a team of three people as well as providing training opportunities for young people with pathways to permanent positions with various local restaurants, hotels and other hospitality providers throughout Nairobi and further afield.
With M Food successfully underway, Enouce and his team developed a vision for a centre which would be a dedicated facility used for both charitable operations and for further social enterprise activities, and over the next six years they put aside some of the income from M Food as well as fundraising towards making it a reality. By 2022 they had saved enough to buy some land on the outskirts of Nairobi and to begin the first phase of development of the ‘Youth Empowerment Centre’, which will include the following:
Enouce says: “As well as providing an inspirational environment for delivering our work to young people, the centre will help us to operate more efficiently and will provide multiple opportunities for social enterprise. We can rent out the various spaces and sports facilities, run corporate retreats and expand M Food.”
Construction of the first phase of Youth Empowerment Centre is well underway, pictured below, with the team at VAP working hard to raise the remaining funds to complete the development.
Introduction of Double Club in Mathare school at the beginning of third term was a real boost to the participants given the fact that they are located in slum areas and they’re both informal schools.Additionally,the schools lack enough qualified teachers due to financial constraints that would allow them to pay teachers good salaries.
Teachings from Double Club booklets provided them with additional lessons of learning english literacy as well as football skills.The Double Club teachers/coaches play a double role of being english teachers and football coaches which is an added advantage to these schools.”We are so excited of the Double Club program because it suppliments English lessons and football coaching.For our school to have these services,we would be required to hire people and pay them alot of money,so having Double Club program is a great gift.”Said Mr. Zungu headteacher of Mathare school.
Construction of VAP’s new Youth Empowerment Centre under the ‘Empower The
Future’ drive got underway in the month of march witnessed by community members,
program participants and a few invited guests including partners, parents, well-wishers
and like-minded organizations. The center which is a place of pride and a hub for the
youth and the community to gather, meet and grow together will consist of: vocational
training Centre, Health clinic, gender based recovery block, library, research and
development unit, common space, volunteer accommodation, football pitch and a
basketball court. The facility will create a safe space and a youth friendly environment
for participants to: play. Learn and grow as they aspire to achieve their life dreams
both socially and economically. Participants will have a safe space to play football and be involved in football based lifeskills sessions and have a serene environment for tutorial educational support at the facility[s coming soon Library.The library will create a safe space for many youth and children from under priviledged8 communities to excel in their respective educational subjects as they also have fun and mould their football talents."We are very greatful for the support towards VAP's programs and the construction of the centre that will create sustainability and supplement VAP's ongoing programs"Said VAP's program officer,Charles.
Riding on the back of VAP’s new ‘Youth Empowerment Centre’ that’s currently underway, the month of February witnessed the launching of VAP’s soccer academy at VAP’s new facility which brought together 40 children both boys and girls from different neighboring schools and community centres that participated in the first training sessions conducted by VAP’s football coaches. The academy will serve as a safe space for the youth to: play, learn and grow as they acquire other side benefits that attached to life skills. The launch was boosted by football kits which included: balls, bibs, goal nets, whistles, first aid kits and football cones donated by uefa foundation. Football sessions and life skills will be conducted on weekends including school holidays as other health service providing tents will be pitched alongside to provide health services including: hiv voluntary counselling and testing and referrals to the general community.
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