CPISP scholar Elham Yusuf, who is pursuing an undergraduate degree in International Relations and Global Health at Claremont McKenna College, USA, spent her summer last year in Western Kenya as part of her internship under non-profit Omega Foundation.
Elham and her team designed and set up a community-led joint micro-lending and educational mentorship program called The Kich Breadwinners Program in Kisumu, Kenya. The pilot program aims to strengthen the livelihood of orphaned HIV/AIDS affected youth aged 13-25 by engaging them in business management and life-skills training.
“The strength of the program lies in its innovativeness,” explains Elham. “It ignites social change through its capacity to engage with the youth and village entrepreneur champions, who serve as role models to the youth. The youth drive the curriculum.”
“Because the village had no Internet and computer access, we integrated a mobile banking platform for the youth to receive and pay their loans and continue to run their businesses. In the village Kanyuto, the villagers had the intellect, drive, and determination to enact a better future for themselves. I was driven by the philosophy that I had the resources to motivate community members to recognize that they can create their own social change, manufacture their own meaning, and generate their own leadership programs."
(photo caption: Elham (right) and a colleague with one of the youth mentors in Kanyuto village.)