Thousands of orphans and vulnerable young people live on the streets of Nairobi. Our local project parter, Undugu, has 30 years of experience working with street children, and has pioneered a new approach that recognises that the young people themselves should be part of the solution to the problems they encounter. Through the Street Associations model, we work together with the gangs that young people are inevitably forced to join, to create supportive and economically viable self-help associations.
The Associations agree their own rules, and members are trained to start small businesses, such as rubbish recycling or car washing, in order to generate legal and sustainable income. Our partner Undugu registers Association members for ID cards, which reduces police harassment and enables them to access other basic services, eventually allowing them to leave the streets on a permanent basis. In return, the Associations actively look out for new young children on the streets and quickly refer them to the Undugu Street Team for help.
The project has already formed more than 300 Street Associations, positively changing the lives of more than 7,000 children and young people.
How we make a difference:
- We work closely with Undugu to understand the local context, to develop community-owned responses, and to share knowledge and solutions from other places where we operate.
- Together, we create and support Street Associations in the slums of Nairobi, equipping them with ‘life skills’ to deal with drugs and substance abuse.
- We rescue younger children from the streets and give them places in our informal schools, to reintegrate them back into the formal school system. Our social workers work with them to discourage absenteeism and identify and deal with any cases of neglect at home.
- We increase the number of employment opportunities open to Street Association members, and graduates from the informal schools, through a vocational training model, which improves their job prospects.
- We train parents, guardians and community leaders to become Child Rights Ambassadors, to actively promote child rights and build confidence in confiding in trusted adults.
- We equip those who care for orphans and vulnerable children with entrepreneurship skills, and help them to establish village savings and loans associations as part of our Village Investors Program (VIP). This enables them to pool their small resources and make business loans to each other, in order to earn a sustainable living and support the children in their care better, and for longer.
We See Hope in Stephen
Find out how Undugu helped Stephen become a positive force of change on the streets of Kibera, Nairobi.
Hear Personal stories
Personal accounts from the children, young people and communities in Africa that we’ve had the privilege of working with, show extraordinary strength and human spirit.
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We are proud to be working with 27 project partners, across 217 communities, to support and empower young people for the long-term.