Characteristics of self-employed youth in service provision and trade sectors: a case study of Ngong-hills town.
The study was carried out to provide information on background characteristics of the self-employed youth in services and trade, and to establish the extent to which the youth self-employment activities alleviate poverty. In view of the limited opportunities, which can be offered through formal employment, self-employment is being recognized as a highly viable and effective response to the growing problem of youth unemployment. In most countries, special efforts are being made to encourage unemployed youth to take up self-employment activities and lots of resources is being diverted for the promotion of this program. Kenya as a country set aside Kenya shillings one billion in the 2006/07 budget for the Youth Enterprise Development Programme. The study was conducted in Ngong-Hills Town open-air market. Ngong-Hills Town is a cosmopolitan peri-urban settlement situated in the outskirts of Nairobi City but lies in Kajiado District of the Republic of Kenya. The main findings ofthe study were: 1. The self-employed youth in Ngong-Hills Town were becoming young entrepreneurs taking all the necessary risks to ensure the success and viability of their activities. 2. The background characteristics (family environment, education level, age range, gender, marital status and ethnic) influence youth involvement in self-employment activities. 3. The background characteristics of traders and service providers are different implying that the background characteristics influence the choice of activities. 4. The self-employment activities enabled them to achieve their livelihood security at different levels but they still lacked some productive skills such as relevant skills for their activities and physical assets. 5. The self-employed youth were faced with various challenges especially accessing of funds from micro-finance institutions and relevant information on issues affecting them. Conclusion: The background characteristics are important in promoting self-employment activities among the youth. The activities enabled them to be employed, economically empowered and socially integrated. Recommendations: 1. The government to facilitate the establishment of resource centers at community level where the youth can get information, training and counseling on employment matters and other issues affecting them. 2. The entrepreneurship development strategy should consist of stimulatory activities such as entrepreneurial education and skills training, technical support programmes, and other supportive activities such as apprenticeship, start-up capital and sustaining activities such as linkage with Micro - Finance institutions for the provision of loans under user friendly terms to nurture and expand viable Youth Self - Employment Activities. 3. The government to make vocational training institutions more accessible to the youth to enable the majority acquire employable job skills along side free secondary education free.