Empowering women in Kenya with vocational and business training 

Women and adolescent girls in Kenya often face difficulties in developing their careers due to gender-based inequality and lack of opportunities.

We have developed the Mwangaza Project with our partner, Kianda Foundation, and its three schools, Tewa Training Centre, Kimlea Girls Technical Training Centreand Kibondeni College of Catering and Hospitality, so that women can access vocational and business skills training 

Vocational training for young women in Kenya  

As we are now in our second year of the project, of the 200 students that started the vocational training programme, 113 are already in employment and 180 have finished the course. These women have been employed in some of Kenya’s most prestigious hotels and restaurants.  

One student at the Tewa Training Centre who began the project feeling shy has grown more confident and become a team leader, saying: “I have learnt how to be responsible and manage time. After I finish, I want to advance my career to be a catering teacher”.  

The success of the project is not only shown by the students, but also from the 43 mentors who have gained confidence and improved their ability to support the students throughout the process. Along with one-to-one mentoring to improve confidence and goal-setting, psychologists and counsellors have also been recruited to support the students, many of whom are from difficult backgrounds. 

To overcome the seasonal nature of the hotel positions during the cost-of-living crisis, some of the women have set up small side businesses and obtained additional work. We are also including more entrepreneurship skills in the courses.  

Additionally, Tewa students are involved in a community project to inspire other girls to pursue education by visiting underprivileged families.  

Providing women with business skills training 

Since our first year of the project, the number of women undertaking business skills training has more than doubled, with 404 women having developed business plans. This means that many of the women have expanded their existing business and increased their income. To adapt to the cost-of-living crisis, we are supporting women to adapt their businesses to make more money.   

Like the vocational training programme, the mentors on the business training programme say they have also gained more confidence. The mentors who received training are taking the lead and organising additional activities to help their mentees. They have formed support groups that meet regularly. In these groups, they do things like table banking and work on collective business projects, such as catering larger events. This is not only boosting their income but also increasing their confidence and creating a strong sense of community.  

One student says that since starting the business school, “I have stopped taking unnecessary loans” and “I used to have one shop, now I have two. I’m planning to have two more shops”. She says, “I didn’t think I could get to where I am today”. Due to the success of her shops, her husband has left his job to work with her in the second shop. 

What’s next in the project? 

Coming up to the third year into the project, we are excited to enrol more students. We are continuing to nurture our relationships with vital organisations in the hospitality industry, and provide students with valuable recruitment strategies to ensure there is at least 80% job placement success for our vocational graduates. Meanwhile, we are continuing to learn from our experience by strengthening our monitoring and evaluation processes to improve the projects.  

Author: Becky Lee

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Corporate Volunteering at WONDER Foundation

WONDER Foundation hosts a variety of corporate volunteering days throughout the year, partnering with organisations and businesses that support our mission and goals.