It is a well-known fact that the youth in our country are getting disillusioned, and some of them even losing hope in life due to lack of opportunities. Even when they can see these opportunities clearly, they lack the necessary financial capital to push their dreams forward. For some, as much as they have the necessary skills, these skills are not fine-tuned enough to enable them to survive in the sometimes brutal entrepreneurial/business world.

It is with this kind of scenario in mind that Barclays Bank has announced an investment of Kshs.230M in projects to empower the youth around the country. Barclays’ aim is to empower 70,000 youth with skills that will help them make money and build their dreams. The projects will be channeled through the Shared Growth Agenda which will be driven through three pillars – education and skills, enterprise Development and Financial Inclusion.

With 200 Million people between the ages of 15 and 24, Africa has the youngest population the world over and if we lose this generation to poverty and crime, it is sad to imagine what that means for the future. If however we empower the youth and make use of their high levels of energy now, the positive ripple effect of this kind of projects is quite priceless. Empowering the youth now means empowering families and societies as a whole. This, over the years will culminate in better educated youth, better empowered families and societies, and eventually a strong economy as a whole.

How will these three pillars work?

Education – Under education, the next generation will be equipped with skills and development that they need to fit into the workforce. This will be through the ReadytoWork program, what we can call a finishing school to equip graduates with hands on knowledge that they may not have come across in their books and lecture halls.  ReadytoWork aims to fine-tune the youths’ people, work, entrepreneurial and money skills through online courses.

Enterprise development – Under enterprise development, Barclays will give a helping hand to young people as they start, run and grow their businesses. What is the value of this kind of help to a to an energetic man/woman or entrepreneur? I’d say absolutely priceless! The business and corporate world can look quite menacing to a new entrant – and even to seasoned and semi seasoned players since there is never an end to challenges. Having a nudge in the right direction from the right quarters is one of the most beautiful things that can happen to a young and growing career.

Financial Inclusion – Under this pillar, Barclays will enter into partnerships with youth and ensure that there is increased access to financial services.

Barclays will be working with 7 organizations to promote the youth empowerment agenda. These are:

  • The shining hope for communities (SHOFCO)
  • Junior Achievement
  • Care Kenya
  • Technoserve
  • International Youth Foundation (IYF)
  • Strathmore University
  • Nairobi University

If there’s anything the youth in this country needs, it is this kind of empowerment. Otherwise they have the energy, the will to work and they have very bright ideas. They just don’t have the know-how and the financial muscle to push forward.

Have a look at the video below to get a grasp of the working of Barclays Bank agenda.

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