The Talanta na Kazi Project was funded by the U.S. Embassy Nairobi and was designed to use the arts as a vehicle to promote social change and economic empowerment among vulnerable youth in the coastal region: particularly Mombasa and Kilifi Counties respectively.
More specifically, the project was designed to build the professional capacity of the participants, develop their skills with the goal of gainful employment in their respective fields, and teach them how to be leaders and agents of social change in their communities.
The ultimate goal of the program was to empower the participating youth so that they become eligible for real jobs so that their lives are transformed, creating an ongoing positive cycle that results in other generations’ enhanced lives and discourages them from falling into destructive or otherwise negative behavior.
The project ended in 2021, where 200+ participants graduated from the program, with the promise of empowerment, beyond skills, but also jobs in various capacities. At its closure, some four grant awards were given to deserving participants. The grants were awarded according to the business proposals that the participants wrote and pitched to us. Some of the grant awardees include Rael Mose, who started her online boutique shop with the money, Teddy Odhiambo, who set up a theater company, and Ali Noor from Mazingira Youth Center, where they got funds for a toilet within their venue.
The project was hailed by the county governments of Mombasa and Kilifi, while the officials acknowledged the project as a great intervention, given the dire need for youth empowerment and specifically projects that cater to the needs of the youth at the Coastal Region.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Managing Director at Sarakasi Trust, Marion Op Het Veld highlighted that the project would go a long way in ensuring that young people had been granted the tools necessary for economic empowerment, securing jobs, promoting social entrepreneurship, connecting them with mentors and trainers as well as empowering them with knowledge through relevant business and marketing training.
The project achieved its objectives, as it was designed to make a wide spread positive impact among youth, both male and female, in the vulnerable region of the coast of Kenya and will do so by sustainably using the arts, key trainings, mentorship as well as community service and volunteerism.
Over the years Sarakasi has implemented many projects. Most projects come and go with available funding or even trends and needs.