Unemployment is a global problem, which presents a particularly difficult challenge for youths in the labor market. In Kenya, unemployment and underemployment continue to be major obstacles to the full utilization of human resources despite relatively strong growth in the region over the last decade.
Youth in Kenya are experiencing much higher unemployment rates than the rest of the Kenyan population. Most of them who have graduated with degrees from institutions of higher learning stay for years without getting the jobs they trained for.
This has led Alfred Mombo, a fourth year student at a private University to come up with a movement known as “Nijenge”. Nijenge is a Swahili name that means build me.
“The idea to start Nijenge begun in class. Our lecturer asked us to suggest the things that we could do to make Kenya a better place. So most students began complaining about the lack of opportunities for the youth. I sat there and asked myself, 'what if we were made aware of just how many opportunities were available to the youth?' It was then that I decided to invent Nijenge as a platform that would make it easier for youths to gain inspiration from individuals who had already made it in their careers,” Alfred said.
Nijenge comprises of ambitious university students, who are constantly seeking new ways of empowering themselves and others. “I work with students from both public and private universities, and corporate organizations that support our initiatives,” he added.
During their events, they organize men and women who have succeeded in their careers to speak to undergraduate students. In these forums, they also showcase talented upcoming artists as a way of supporting creative talent.
This movement has brought about connections and has created a platform that fosters interaction between University students and older, more experienced role models.
Some of the guests “Nijenge” has hosted include Dr. P.L.O Lumumba who is the director of the Kenya School of Law, Mary Njoki who is the director of a top Public Relations company, Dennis Okari who is an investigative Journalist, Ian Mbugua who is a thespian and fashion specialist and lastly Johnstone Mwakazi, a director at WTV among others.
Nijenge has successfully held events at the Presbyterian University of East Africa, Kabarak University, KCA University, Maseno University and lastly Kabianga University.
Mr. Alfred goes ahead to elaborate that many organizations have come up to support this movement because its goals are clear and straight forward. This clarity makes individuals easily make up their mind about speaking to young people and inspiring them. “Actually most of them agree to speak because they see the sense in what we are doing as a team,” he added.
Nijenge was first registered in February 2015 as movement. Within a period of one year it has expanded into a digital marketing company that offers services in, advertising, print and soft design, software design, SNS management, content production, product launch, digital PR among others.
Currently Nijenge has 8 employees, working with 6 companies - Cubot Kenya, Kilimall, Uliza Links, Gionee Kenya, and Churchill Africa among others. “We brag of having led the launch of Cubot smart phones held in Mombasa earlier this year,” Mr. Alfred noted.
In five years time, they dream of hosting live shows on the mainstream media. The good news is that by that time they hope to have built their own capacity to produce, direct and design their programs since most of the employees are communication students. Once they have their own show they can impact more lives of young students all over Kenya and beyond as well as showcase their God given talents.
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