Youth groups and business success: using the c-yes fund to improve livelihoods in Kibera slum, Nairobi
This study explores whether the Community Youth Enterprise Scheme (C-YES) helps youth groups establish successful businesses, capable of improving livelihoods of poor youths belonging to youth groups in Kibera slum, Nairobi. Kibera slum was an ideal location for the study because a chunk of the first and second disbursements of the C-YES funds in the larger Langata area went to youth groups in Kibera, given its high youth unemployment rates in the expansive slum. The study interviewed leaders and ordinary members of youth groups that were the first beneficiaries of the C-YES Fund after it was established. A total of 31 out of 46 youth groups were analysed. Both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection were used to gather the necessary information on C-YES, youth groups and their businesses. Semi-structured questionnaires and observation methods were used to ensure adequate and necessary data on youth groups was gathered. The data was then analysed using qualitative methods of data analysis. A codebook was developed to classify themes - using research questions as guide - and also help identify other emerging themes from the fieldwork. The study finds that the C-YES Fund is yet to make a major impact on the livelihoods of poor youths in Kibera, a confirmation that access to funds is not a panacea for the establishment of successful business and improvement of livelihoods. There are other intervening factors that determine success and sustainability of businesses and betterment of livelihoods. This is because despite the disbursement of millions of shillings in 2007 and 2008, more than half of the businesses established by youth groups that benefited from C-YES collapsed even before celebrating their fifth anniversary. The study puts forward several recommendations, the major one being addressing the intervening factors that prevent the youths from establishing successful businesses. The government‘s action should be geared towards developing a proper follow up strategy to monitor businesses established and offer expertise advice whenever needed.