Kenya: Sustainable Peer Educators

Recognizing that peer educator groups have a tendency to disband once a project ends or funding dries up, AMURT integrated income-generation activities into the mission of the Komango peer educator group as a pilot program to bolster their longevity.  The group started small by selling sausages and porridge at youth-organized soccer tournaments, in addition to their normal responsibility of discussing HIV prevention with people attending the events.

Methods of saving were discussed with the Kamango group, who then decided to keep every shilling of profit, looking to the future rather than quickly spending initial gains.  AMURT observed their maturity and independence and agreed to join them as a consultant and business partner for a new venture: a village cinema showing popular movies and even more popular British soccer games from satellite feeds.  From the beginning, the youth understood they would have to assume financial responsibility for the business in addition to overseeing operations.  Investing their own capital guaranteed that they would not take these responsibilities lightly.

Once the cinema opened, the group was able to charge 10 shillings ($0.12) for movies, 30 shillings for Liverpool PremierLeague games and 50 shillings for a World Cup final! Within a few months they have saved over 10,000 shillings, but are waiting patiently for more capital build-up before making their next entrepreneurial move. They have learned that timing is everything in life!

From the success of this model, it is apparent that sustainability should be made a priority even in the formative stages of a program.  The youth were able to transform an aptitude for business into a viable idea, and then construct a business plan to make it a reality.  There have been challenges, such as making the business accounts more transparent and deciding when and how to use profits, but the youth have always taken the time to reach a common understanding and then move on.

AMURT is encouraging these types of activities in peer educator programs throughout Kenya, always pushing youth to pursue their interests, such as in Malindi and Likoni, where peer educator groups are developing their hip hop skills while learning about sound engineering and audio production.

The Kikuyu PE group poses by their new theatre.