Yes Youth Can Initiative Sponsors Pivot East

By John Kieti
m:lab
  Published 1st June 2012
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The Yes Youth Can initiative has partnered with m:lab East Africa to sponsor the Pivot East Pitching Competition and Conference. Yes Youth Can is a Mercy Corps’ program in Kenya, which was created with funding from USAID. Mercy Corps is a global aid agency that focuses on disaster response, sustainable economic development, health services, and emergency and natural disaster relief.  Yes Youth Can (YYC) is a USAID - funded initiative for youth empowerment in Kenya.  “But it’s not your typical program” says Elliott Wilkes, Technology Advisor for YYC.  “We’re putting youth in the driver’s seat to take charge of their future for a change.  We don’t have beneficiaries; we have youth partners at the grassroots.  We’re not a project; we’ve helped the youth of Kenya start a movement.”

One of the unique components of Yes Youth Can is the Digital Innovation Team, led by Mr. Wilkes, which is responsible for working with youth to put together digital solutions at the grassroots. One of these solutions, a large scale SMS platform for subsidized communications, expected to launch in mid-July, came about after months of synthesizing the needs of Kenyan youth in the program.

In addition to co-sponsoring the competition, Yes Youth Can will provide key support to a number of co-selected Pivot East youth applicants whom focus on services and solutions geared towards the grassroots, in the form of direct investment, market research, and linkages to the hundreds of thousands of Kenyan youth involved in the project. Yes Youth Can is pleased to have the President of the grassroots organization, Mwanasha Gaserego, involved in this selection process.

Alongside a growing number of technology partners, including Microsoft, Thought Works, Nokia, and now m:lab/ihub, YYC’s Digital Innovation Team, hosted by Mercy Corps, is working to lower the barrier for entry into the digital society and the information age for the youth of Kenya.

Pivot East Pitching Competition and Conference. Yes Youth Can is a Mercy Corps’ program in Kenya, which was created with funding from USAID. Mercy Corps is a global aid agency that focuses on disaster response, sustainable economic development, health services, and emergency and natural disaster relief.

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