By Ronald Njoroge
The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) in partnership with Twiva today announced a new project dubbed Twende Digital Project, which is being funded by the Challenge Fund for Youth Employment (CFYE) to oversee the creation of work opportunities for young digital content creators while supporting SMEs in adopting the use of technology through intensive capacity building and technical assistance
on the use of digital skills and platforms, which will eventually help these businesses to scale up. This Project majorly focuses on addressing the critical issue of youth unemployment in Kenya where the recent statistics by the Kenya National Bureau Statistics indicated that over 50 percent of the 2.97 million jobless Kenyans are in the ages of 18 to 29 years of age.
The Twende Digital Project is guided by the CFYE’s goal of fostering youth employment initiatives in Africa. Hence, the Project will provide significant work opportunities to both rural and urban setups in the country such as Nairobi, Nakuru, Kisumu, Mombasa, Eldoret,
Nyeri, Machakos, Kiambu, Garissa, and Kakamega. The selected businesses will enjoy digitization services and tools for free for the next 12 months including influencer marketing service credits, content creation credits, access to business digital coaches, access to influencers or resellers to help resell the SMEs’ goods, linkage to logistics and fulfilment partners, digital marketing training, and the digital marketing advisory services.
“A great lesson we have drawn in executing employment projects in Kenya is the fact that meaningful youth participation is a key factor in attracting and retaining youth in employment. The Challenge Fund for Youth Employment plans to create 230,000 jobs for young people in Africa by 2026. These jobs should be dignified and fulfilling work as per the African strategy of good jobs and good salaries. We have also learned that it is very crucial to support the private sector, especially in measuring the impact of youth employment initiatives. This is why digitizing the SMEs will not only help expand these businesses but also ensure the creation of jobs” said Paul Ngugi, Deputy Country Lead of the Challenge Fund for Youth Employment.
The absence of sufficient employment opportunities has been a huge hurdle in Kenya especially where recent reports have shown that over 2.97 million Kenyans are jobless. Out of these numbers, 50% are between the ages of 18 years to 29 years. Hence, with the limited employment opportunities in the formal sector, and the challenges that are there in starting a business, there is a need for rethinking alternatives to work opportunities for Kenyans, especially young people. Leveraging innovation, technologies, and other emerging
skills has been one way to help reduce the transition shocks of young people into the labor markets.
“Enterprises stand to have a great chance of unlocking the wealth of opportunities and
building a global competitive advantage through adoption and prioritizing digitization. As
the benefits of digitization become clearer for businesses where they stand to benefit from
access to wider markets, more efficient processes, increased productivity, better stock
management, and reduced costs; hence the adoption of digitization cannot be ignored.
Besides providing solutions for the growth of these businesses, digitization has brought
about new and more exciting work opportunities for the young people in Kenya” said Dr.
Ehud Gachugu, Director of Youth and Jobs at the Kenya Private Sector Alliance.
As a social commerce platform that gives micro, small, and medium enterprises digital access to markets through content creators, Twiva will play a pivotal role in supplying experienced social media influencers and resellers as well as the social commerce platforms to market and resell goods and services on behalf of these SMEs. This will then see the creation of work opportunities for the influencers while at the same time boosting the productivity of the SMEs through the integration of digital technologies.
“The anticipated impact of the TwendeDigital project is not just a statistic; it’s a transformation. As we aim to elevate the average income of employed youth from less than Kes 10,000 to approximately Kes 25,000, the project becomes a catalyst for change, injecting vitality into the lives of young individuals. Job satisfaction rates among the youth are not merely a metric; they represent a shift in the narrative of what it means to find meaningful work,” said Peter Kironji, CEO & Co-founder, Twiva.
Addressing challenges and fostering inclusivity, the project allocates 60% of opportunities to women-led SMEs and focuses on building digital skills among SMEs. At the same time, through the indirect work opportunities that are digitally enabled, the Project will provide start-up opportunities for youth without formal experience or capital, especially in areas of logistics and shipping of products to clients. The project envisions expanding its reach to serve more youth and women by enlisting additional social influencers, through the use of the Twiva platform, fostering economic growth, and contributing to a sustainable future beyond the CFYE project.
Also expressing his insights and expectations about such opportunities for digital content creators, Philip Karanja, the CEO of PhilItTV explained that it is important for businesses to look for an influencer that they can connect with and can help elevate their business to the next level. He said that branding requires a 360 approach from image and logos to the customer experience. He challenged the businesses present at the forum to involve influencers who can ensure improved visibility to their potential clients while they concentrate on other core functions of the business.
In addressing the challenges of limited capital and formal job opportunities, TwendeDigital doesn’t just provide solutions; it pioneers a new approach. By leveraging digital technologies and harnessing the power of social media influencers, the project opens doors for youth- owned agribusinesses and scalable enterprises. It’s not just about creating jobs; it’s about
fostering an ecosystem where businesses thrive and individuals flourish.
“Looking beyond the immediate impact, the sustainability of the Twende Digital Project is rooted in its holistic approach. By empowering youth and women economically, we envision a ripple effect that contributes to the growth of the economy and poverty reduction. This is a commitment to building a sustainable future,” continued Dr. Ehud.
In a world grappling with challenges, Twende Digital emerges as a beacon of hope, illuminating a path toward economic empowerment, inclusivity, and a future where every young individual has the opportunity to thrive. The partnership is also a testament to the transformative power of collaboration and innovation. Twende Digital is a roadmap towards a brighter, more equitable tomorrow.