Ever since we attended the initial training conducted by the British Council, and then cascaded it to a further 300 civil society and social enterprise leaders, our eyes have opened up to a new way of working.
George Onyango, CEO of the Community Initiatives Concern (CINCO), Kenya
To promote and strengthen an evidence-based social enterprise approach to addressing East Africa’s social protection, health, education and jobs agenda, thereby supporting inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
Kenya’s unemployment levels and youthful population has created a demand for skills, job opportunities and entrepreneurship, creating a gap for the social enterprise sector to support, both institutionally and financially. Funded by the EU, we leveraged our considerable expertise to make three main interventions to set up the sector for sustainable growth; increase sector understanding to drive policy change, build capacity at all levels, and increase national and international collaboration between social enterprise communities in Kenya, Ethiopia, the wider Africa region and with the EU.
Firstly, we published the State of Social Enterprise in Kenya report to create an evidence base to build from –which was the first of its kind in the country. Institutional grants were given to top institutions in partnership with the EU, Tangaza University and Kenya Technical Trainers College, for example. The chosen institutions cascaded training to lecturers of the social enterprise curriculum, who in turn trained a further 954 students and entrepreneurs. Study visits were carried out for ministers and policy makers. Furthermore, two partner CSOs were contracted to deliver a Social Enterprise Leadership Programme, as well as the training of 80 Master Facilitators to cascade knowledge to the next generation of social enterprise leaders.
The State of Social Enterprise in Kenya survey was crucial to creating an evidence base for the sector’s future policy development and engagement. It found most social enterprises are run by young people – 44 percent of all new social enterprises formed in Kenya are run by women aged between 25-35.
The creation of institutional partnerships and the awarding of grants to CSOs and intermediaries, such as Digital Opportunity Trust and Issitet Limited, has increased capacity of Kenyan practitioners. Following social entrepreneurship policy masterclasses to over 100 policy makers, 11 county governments requested our support to promote their own social entrepreneurship and policy development. We learnt that policy changes require a strong base and cannot be fast-tracked to fit a short project timescale, hence our long-term approach to training and development.
By the end of the pilot we successfully convened a conference that brought more than 300 delegates together representing five countries from East Africa and beyond to collaborate and exchange ideas about social entrepreneurship.
The UK is widely recognised to have one of the most developed social enterprise eco-systems in the world and has a demonstrated commitment to supporting the growth of social enterprise globally and creating opportunities for mutually beneficial partnerships.
Our work in Sub-Saharan Africa is creating opportunities for young people to fulfil their potential and improve their employability and resilience, which social enterprise plays a large part in. The UK is the fifth largest exporter of goods to Kenya, showing there are great opportunities for social enterprise and long-term partnerships between the UK and Kenya.