Since our start, we have been providing youth in Kibera with opportunities to showcase their talent while supporting their physical, emotional, and social development. We build peace with youth from varying ethnic backgrounds as they learn how to rely on their teammates and develop healthy friendships with one another. We also support their educational path, ensuring opportunities for leadership and success.
Ask any Kiberan what they save their money for and most will tell you it’s to pay school fees. Education is a basic human right and critical to long-term social change. Yet, it is one of the most underfunded development strategies. Education promotes independent thought, teaches tolerance, and promotes the ability to compete in job markets. It is also a stabilizing factor for children who have experienced trauma, a key determinant to country-wide economic growth, and the foundation to healthier, more educated future generations.
Our Angaza program supports young people in Kibera through:
Although primary school is subsidized by the government, high school is still too expensive for most Kenyans living in poverty. The ‘Angaza’ Education Program provides qualifying participants and community members with funds to cover 100% of the tuition fees for all four years of high school.
The leadership program is a three-month intensive curriculum for scholarship recipients. It provides supplementary education to build self-esteem, self-direction, and goal-setting for life after secondary school.
For many Kiberan youth, venturing outside of Kibera is a rarity and provides a unique learning experience. During breaks from school, program staff lead small groups of scholarship recipients on “exposure visits” to local landmarks. Throughout the day, students participate in group activities that build leadership, teamwork, and problem-solving skills.
Many times, young people are pulled from their studies to help support their families by providing childcare for younger siblings, performing household duties, or even working small jobs. The Angaza program has recently expanded to also assist enrolling out-of-school children. By 2020, we hope to have enrolled over 2,000 students back to school.
When several ethnic groups live in close quarters, misunderstandings can lead to stereotypes and violence. Sports promote peace and tolerance by encouraging players to bridge ethnic divides and work towards a common goal.
For over 15 years, our sports program has been teaching more than just sports. We have been helping to build peace with boys and girls from varying ethnic backgrounds as they learn how to rely on their teammates and develop healthy friendships with one another. Players also improve their self-confidence and learn valuable lessons about leadership, fairness, and gender equality.
Our flagship program, the Champions League, holds two annual soccer tournaments, one for girls and one for boys. To compete, every team roster must be ethnically diverse, as Kibera itself is. By participating in community engagement activities, teams can earn additional points to help their team’s tournament standings. More than soccer, the Champions League teaches leadership, solidarity, and civic service.
Soccer is a fun way for youth to get involved—and once they are involved, they learn about CFK’s other opportunities and activities. Athletes participate in workshops on sexual and reproductive health, clean water, sanitation, and hygiene.
The most important part of peace advocacy in Kibera is ensuring that peers and neighbors adopt peace as a guiding principle during potentially difficult times. Bringing that message door-to-door is precisely what our Sports for Peace & Development program has done through a series of “peace caravans.”
Through peace tournaments, weekly performances and community forums, athletes have traveled to all parts of Kibera and neighboring communities to spread messages of peace and solidarity. Sharing these messages creates a movement with the power to reach and support the entire community.
There are many lessons to be learned from Mueni. First, don’t underestimate yourself. When applying to the Queen’s Young Leaders Programme, Mueni didn’t think she would be afforded the opportunity. But she was accepted to the one-year leadership training that included a trip to the UK and an extraordinary meeting with Queen Elizabeth. Second, remember your roots. As she has said in interviews about her trip, “Being awesome is just doing small things for your community.”
Now, Mueni is helping other motivated Kiberans achieve their goals as CFK’s Sports Program Assistant.
In Kenya, the official unemployment rate is 40%, but in Kibera, this statistic is much, much higher. Migration from rural parts of Kenya increases competition for employment and makes the job search fruitless for many. Without ample opportunity for formal employment, many turn to running small businesses or finding work informally, where profits are low and the work is both risky and irregular. While entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of Kibera, not all young people want to be entrepreneurs. Some desire the stability of traditional employment. Our Work Readiness Program seeks to build both technical and leadership skills while providing mentorship for youth seeking permanent, full-time employment.
The Work Readiness program aims to do exactly what its name promises: help Kiberans interested in formal employment become prepared to work in the field of their choice. The program consists of workshops to develop both hard skills (such as creating budgets, drafting memos and e-mails, and creating work plans) and soft skills (such as managing work flow, working collaboratively, and interacting with partners and supporters). Participants have the opportunity to enroll in a certificate or degree course in one of a few pre-selected fields, and they have the option to pursue an internship as well.
Established in 2001, Carolina for Kibera (CFK) is an international, nongovernmental organization based in the informal settlement of Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya. In the United States, CFK is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and major associated entity of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.