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An Update from Young Cities Kenya: 2021

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— 4 minutes reading time

Above: The Mombasa showcase was held on 11 March this year

Jasmeet Sahotay,
Project Coordinator, YouthCAN and Young Cities

Young Cities has been working to support youth leadership in P/CVE on Kenya’s coast since 2018, and not even the pandemic could stop our young activists from promoting peace, participation and unity in their communities. In February 2020, our Young Cities team conducted the third Kenyan Youth Innovation Lab. They worked with three new youth groups from Kwale and Mombasa, training them together to encourage cross-county collaboration, and supporting them throughout the last year to develop and deliver their projects safely and sustainably. Additionally, during the last year Young Cities supported two of its ‘Ambassador’ teams – groups who have successfully completed the programme – with an additional round of funding and support to build upon their successful projects and amplify the impact of their campaigns.

In March 2021, Young Cities had a chance to showcase the incredible accomplishments of these five teams and kickstart the newest round of capacity building in Kwale and Mombasa. In each case, the meetings were adapted to comply with all COVID-19 restrictions and to minimise risk of exposure.

Team Alpha and Omega celebrate the successful conclusion of one of their workshops to encourage youth civic engagement..Above: The Mombasa County Government Director of Resilience, Munira Hamisi, giving her opening remarks at the Mombasa Showcase.

On 11 and 15 March, Young Cities organised showcase events in Mombasa and Kwale respectively so the youth could present their projects, to their local and national governments. The events were organised in collaboration with our local partner – Human Rights Agenda (HURIA) and the municipal governments in both cities. All three of these parters have been critical for the successful develivery of Young Cities in the last three years and have been an amazing source of support for the youth groups. The showcase events  were covered by both national and local media with 17 journalists in attendance.

In the weeks that followed, the Young Cities Team met with three new youth groups and three Ambassador teams individually to offer personalised training and support to develop or build upon project plans. These six new youth-led projects will be launched in the coming 6-8 months, allowing for all COVID-19 restrictions and precautions.

New Campaigns 2020-21

Kigoda Pwani  promoted equal and representative participation of youth in community development opportunities in Mvita sub-county, Mombasa. Concerned with barriers that some youth face in identifying and accessing opportunities, Kigoda Pwani conducted research to understand youths’ experience and develop an awareness campaign, both on social media and throughout community. Their campaign reached more than 110,000 people and they authored a short research report.

Alpha Omega worked to increase youth turnout at local public participation forums in Jomvu sub-county, Mombasa. The team surveyed 120 youth in Jomvu about their participation and barriers they face, including critical gaps in knowledge. The team then actioned this research and delivered three workshops with 60 youth in total to build their knowledge and encourage participation.

Team Alpha and Omega celebrate the successful conclusion of one of their workshops to encourage youth civic engagement..Above: Team Alpha and Omega celebrate the successful conclusion of one of their workshops to encourage youth civic engagement.


Above: A member of DERIN Peace Network are helping to facilitate a workshop on raising awareness of opportunities.

Ambassador Grants 2020-21

DERIN Peace Network,  increased awareness about Devolution and trained youth about the process and opportunities it offers in Kwale. The project was developed during a Young Cities Youth Innovation Lab in February 2019 and has received two rounds of funding for delivery in four locations in Kubo South  and two locations in Pongwe Kikoneni wards. To prepare their workshops and ensure their training was based on research, the team surveyed 250 youth in the region and conducted focus groups with 25 youth. In total, they conducted six workshops with 150 youth to address their barriers to participation. They also ran a parallel a campaign on Facebook to increase knowledge and awareness of the devolution process with a wider audience.

What If? was an educational campaign that ran on social media in 2018-2019 and was adapted for offline training sessions through the Ambassador grant in 2020-2021. Following the first Kenyan Young Cities Innovation Lab in November 2018, the team wrote and produced highlighting the responsibility of different community members in protecting young people from gang recruitment – including friends, teachers and parents. In 2020 they used these videos as a core training resource to conduct four workshops – two with mothers and two with youth in Mvita sub-county, Mombasa. The workshops discussed key elements of gang prevention and where they could find assistance.

ImageAbove: The “What If?” campaign invited mothers to take part in their trainings

So what now for Kenya in 2021?

We’re excited to announce that in 2021 Young Cities will be launching in Nakuru County, working with the County Government and up to six new campaign teams. Since our Youth Innovation Lab in Mombasa last month, we are currently supporting the development of three brand new campaigns focused on countering disinformation and raising awareness about civic participation; as well as launching three more Ambassador Grants that will amplify some of last year’s campaigns – including Kigoda Pwani. We will also soon publish the results of a year-long study into COVID-19-related disinformation in Kenya, and look forward to sharing more of our activities in Kenya with you.