Kenya – Kito International officially launched in June of 2010 in Kawangware, a slum community of 250,000 in Nairobi, Kenya. The organization was founded and is led by Wiclif Otinio at the age of 24. Wiclif, a former street youth, has a simple mission: to get youth off the streets and out of poverty. They envision a world in which all youth have the opportunity to achieve their full potential and that youth have the power to build a global movement of street youth helping their peers escape poverty. These views are shared by Global Philanthropy Alliance.
According to Kito, youth are unable to leave their street life without economic opportunities and support of youth-based businesses.
In 2011 GPA awarded Kito with a $5000 grant to enable the group to provide training to 60 youth, designed to prepare them for a life off the streets, out of the slums and into a professional world. Training topics included life skills, business development, management, professional development, financial education and literacy. Graduates moved into Kito’s employment program working together as a sale force for socially transformative products like LED lamps, sanitary pads, and eyeglasses. As Sales Agents, youth then help Kito to identify, develop, and sell new products under the mentorship of a Senior Sales Agent. Youth receive a modest base salary and earn a 50% commission on the profits of every product sold. Kito provides incentives to grow within the company and receive commissioned sales. All youth have regular access to social workers, gender-specific support groups and ongoing training. Youth exit Kito ready for life off the streets.
Since March 2011, KITO has trained 39 (18 female) youth in our Street Youth Training Program with an 82% success rated defined by the number of youth that graduated from training programs and continue on to start their own businesses, further their education, find internships, or secure full-time employment. An additional 45 street youth participated in financial literacy training.
During this process Kito quickly learned that it was not just capital that entrepreneurs needed: they need support! A business incubation model was developed and in 2013, Kito was the recipient of a second grant from GPA in the amount of $10,000 to assist with the launch of their business incubator, Futures Café.
In the Futures Café project, Kito will partner with the GPA Africa Advisory Board and members of our Kenya Country Committee as well as The Village Africa to assist youth in developing micro enterprises. Their goal is to train 60 reformed street youth in a business training program. From the 60 youth trained, Kito plans to incubate 5 businesses with an average of 3 youth per business in Futures Café.