Women’s Hope: Young women participated in a business incubation program in the hospitality industry

Kenya – The Girl Spark program was created with a $5000 grant from GPA in March, 2016. The program trains and supports young women living in Kenyan slums to work in the hospitality industry either as employees or entrepreneurs. Each participant completed an 8 week skill accelerator program where they learned necessary “hard” and “soft” skills.  After completing the program the were linked to employment or entrepreneurship opportunities, mentors, developed a savings plan and learned how to negotiate a fair wage with health care.

27 girls participated and at the conclusion of the program 90% were either employed by others, profiting from their own business ventures (and, employing others) or attending higher education programs in the field.

 

“The girl spark program has empowered me with the
necessary skills and confidence to start my own cleaning
company. Now I have the power to dream big and do big”–Ann

 

The Girl Spark Experience

Ann, a mother of one always had a dream to start her own cleaning company, but the cost of paying college fees coupled with the financial challenges of taking care of her young daughter lead her to seek alternatives– when she learned about the Girl Spark Program she saw an opportunity to achieve her dream. Today she is the founder of a cleaning company and provides part-time employment to five young women living in the urban slum of Kibera.  Ann’s ambition is to continue with expansion of her company and provide opportunities to other young women.

Imarisha: Youth developed a rare bird farming program successfully increasing tourism in the community

Kenya –  Youth producing and drying briquettes

In April, 2016 GPA awarded a $5000 grant to Imarisha to train community youth to develop, process and market efficient charcoal briquettes from solid waste. These briquettes are used for cooking stoves in most homes in the Nyeri region of Kenya. In addition, this product preserves the natural forestation of the area and provide a cleaner source of fuel. Four youth were trained on the production process, marketing, financial management and sales of the product. Ten additional youth earned funds by providing the solid waste for production.  When faced with obstacles, youth readily reached out to experts to collaborate resulting in a well-branded, effective product that is affordable resulting in decreased poverty, a cleaner environment and reduced unemployment in the area. Imarisha has plans to scale up production in 2017.

Megabridge: Youth developed a rare bird farming program successfully increasing tourism in the community

Kenya – Megabridge received a $5000 grant from GPA in February, 2015 to develop a community-based rare bird farming project in rural Embu County youth. The project was an excellent example of the “out of the box” thinking that occurs when grantors listen to the needs of youth. The farm promotes tourism to the rural area and supports local educators who often bring students by for field trips. Youth participants support the program and themselves through admission fees.  At the conclusion of the 8 month grant over 200 youth had participated in the project, it is expanding to include other animals and being replicated in 5 other rural areas.

Black Starz: Business incubation competition for youth

South Africa – In December, 2014 GPA awarded Black Starz a $5000 grant. Black Starz created a business incubation program and contest serving 40 youth divided into 13 teams. Each team was charged with developing a sustainable business model to address a pressing social problem. The program along with local business leaders, mentored and guided youth during this process. Youth presented their concepts to a panel of judges and those promising enterprises were awarded funding and ongoing mentorship.

Black Starz youth participants receiving their awards

Miyela: Youth learned to become bakers, proceeds supported literacy programs for underserved schoolchildren.

South Africa – GPA funding was used to implement “Lick the Spoon” — a catering company which will employ youth and teach them a variety of entrepreneurial skills.

Funds from baked goods were used to implement tutoring and mentorship programs for under served, school-aged youth, implement the national youth spelling bee and provide teaching aids. The group also started a drama club, book club and library and runs a political discourse program for youth.

In February, 2014 GPA provided a supplemental grant in the amount of $500 to assist Miyela leadership with the development of a detailed business plan to promote long-term sustainability of the organization and it’s programs.

Remember Us Care Center/Navela: Job skills workshops for youth affected by HIV/AIDS

Remember Us Care Center/Navela

South Africa – Remember Us Care Center/Navela works to assist youth and community members affected by HIV/AIDS.  They provide guidance, nutritional awareness education, training and home nursing skills, and job skills workshops.  Remember Us Care Center/Navela advocates for victims of sexual violence through the use of support groups and counseling.
Grants

  • February 2009 – GPA is partnering with Navela to provide services to youth affected by HIV/AIDS.  The youth will be growing vegetable gardens and learning to prepare healthy meals for themselves and their family.

TKD Tours: Youth-owned business providing bicycle tours of Soweto

South Africa – TKD Tours offers tourism packages visiting historical places and museums in Soweto and Kliptown. With GPA funds, they were able to purchase 9 additional bicycles (they have 16 bikes total.)  This has allowed them to expand their operations and hire 3 youth.   They have entered into several partnerships with other local tour guides to strengthen their presence in the area and has fast become a premier tour provider for local hotels.  The organization spearheads a charity drive to provide school uniforms for children in Kliptown.

In June, 2014 TKD Tours was awarded a second grant in the amount of $10,000 from GPA in order to expand business operations, develop a business plan and purchase a vehicle to transport tourists to tour sites. Additionally, the organization is receiving business mentoring and instruction from GPA partner, Tourism Enterprise Partnership (TEP). TEP will assist TKD Tours with developing a vision and plan expand/develop operations, run efficiently and leverage assets.

Grassroot Soccer: Teaching youth life skills through soccer

www.grassrootsoccer.org

South Africa – Grassroot Soccer (GRS) is a South African based, not for profit organization. Its mission is to use the power of soccer in the fight against AIDS by providing African youth with the knowledge, skills, and support to remain HIV free.  Founded by former professional soccer players in 2002, GRS trains African soccer stars, soccer coaches, teachers, and young peer educators in the worlds most HIV-affected countries to deliver an interactive HIV prevention curriculum to youth. GRS focus its efforts in delivering an innovative education program to and by youth. The curriculum focuses on building basic life skills that help young people, to adopt healthy behaviors and live risk-free. Through a series of interactive games, activities, and discussions students gain a tangible understanding of core messages related to HIV/AIDS and get a chance to practice the skills necessary for sustainable behavior change.

Key topics in the GRS curriculum include healthy decision-making, avoiding risks, building support networks, reducing stigma and discrimination, increasing knowledge about testing and treatment, addressing gender issues, and assessing values. After having completed the curriculum the students graduate with a ceremony. GRS graduates are also given tools such as Extra Time Magazine, which is a unique communications tool that includes messages and interviews with many of the Worlds top soccer stars. It also reviews the topics covered in the GRS curriculum and provides a tool for the graduates to serve as peer educators by sharing their knowledge with the community at large.

Grants

  • July 2008 – $5,000 for Grassroot Soccer program in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.  GPA was interested in becoming a funder of GRS so we might benefit from the excellent learning approach of this well-designed and evaluated program. Our African advisors also thought the program might be usefully extended to other countries where we make grants.

Esther Retreat: Computer literacy training programs for disadvantaged young women

South Africa – The Esther Retreat was founded in April 2009 by Masentle Mokhele, a young social entrepreneur.  The organization focuses on skills development for previously disadvantaged young women who are currently in high school, tertiary and unemployed young women. Training courses in interview preparation, self–discovery and purpose,  entrepreneurship in tourism and computer literacy.

A 2010 GPA grant in the amount of $ 4771 allowed the organization to begin and train over 100 disadvantaged girls in Pretoria and Soweto South Africa to become computer literate at no cost to them.  At the conclusion of the grant period the organization had purchased 20 computers, conducted countless training courses for young girls in Soweto and Kliptown and supported instruction at two local schools.

Ekupholeni: Emotionally challenged youth participate in transitional and skill building programs

South Africa – Ekupholeni is a non-profit organization in Katorus, South Africa that provides mental health services to their community.  Their programs focus on psychosocial impact of violence, trauma, abuse and the HIV/ AIDS pandemic.  Ekupholeni utilizes mental health development programs addressing youth at risk, gender violence and HIV/AIDS and bereavement to provide holistic mental health care to the community.  A cross cutting income generation project supports sustainable livelihoods of clients in the various programs on a needs basis.

Recently, Ekupholeni launched a Kick-Start Program for the teenagers and young adults that have been emotionally and psychologically stabilized through the  psychological intervention groups to move into a bridging program that affords them the opportunity for skills training, apprenticeship, further studies or micro-business depending on their abilities.  Kick-Start is a “transitional” program that assists participants to become re-integrated into their communities with not only psychological but also material and economic resources.  Such further intervention is necessary to break the long-term cycles of poverty and deprivation and the associated helplessness by empowering/transforming our youth to become as self-sufficient and productive as is possible.

Grants

  • September, 2008 – $5,000 for establishment of the Kick-Start Program.  GPA is very interested in the holistic approach to youth development Ekupholeni takes in the community where they are working.  Few organizations use mental health and transition programs to serve youth and mentor them through a critical time in their lives.