Challenge Fund for Youth Employment in Kenya

Challenge Fund for Youth Employment in Kenya

Challenge Fund for Youth Employment in Kenya For sustainable economic development that has the potential to transform the lives of Kenyan households, there is a need for higher productivity jobs with higher levels of value addition – therefore resulting in higher GDP per capita.

This requires a three-dimensional shift:

  • A shift to more productive sectors that create more value for the economy, for example from primary agriculture to the use of technology in farming: investing more in value chains, food processing, manufacturing, and construction.
  • Developing more productive sub-sectors with specific services and products that help other (sub)sectors perform better, for example, business development services and technological innovations.
  • A shift from lower productivity self-employment to (semi-)formal employment in productive firms.

    Call for Solutions

  • Our research has shown us that despite a wide range of challenges to youth employment, there is clear potential for young women and men to find decent employment.
  • We have formulated two specific windows that focus on two sub-sectors: Digital Business Development Services and Green Jobs.
  • CFYE wants to co-invest in innovative private sector-led initiatives that provide businesses with access to suitably skilled personnel and help them to increase their employment of youth between the ages of 16-35.

    We have selected the two thematic focus-areas based on our labour demand assessment, which in turn considered 1) observed unmet labour demand

    2) match to youth’s need and interests

    3) opportunity for cross-sectoral flexibility with one skillset, and

    4) potential for high productivity jobs with negative environmental or social impact.

    Eligibility Criteria

    The following general criteria for eligible proposals apply:

    Employment type: Initiatives in both the informal and formal sectors are eligible. However, they should focus on wage employment or semi-employment (working with agents or other semi- self-employed positions as part of a company’s business model). Fully independent self-employment without a matching mechanism with confirmed off-takers of products or services is not eligible.

    Business Development stage: We are looking for readily tested concepts ready for scaling up or scaling out (meaning already scaled up but ready to diversify).

    Idea stage ideas are not eligible. Lead applicants need to have been in active business for at least 2 years. Lead applicant: Both companies and NGOs are eligible as lead applicants, but there should be a business in the consortium (with confirmed labour demand) if an NGO is the lead applicant.

    Minimum number of jobs: The minimum number of jobs that need to be created, improved, or matched is 500, although we hope to receive proposals with higher numbers due to the focus on agency style business models.

    Decency of work: Basic requirements include an average monthly income at living wage level (at least Sh 23,400 depending on location), no more than 48 hours/week of work and jobs are maintained for at least 6 months. Thematic focus: Eligible projects need to focus on one of two windows: Digital Business Development Services or Scaling up Green Jobs.

    Competitive Process

    The Challenge Fund for Youth Employment will apply a competitive process to select the projects that will receive a grant.

    That means that only those projects that present a clear and convincing pathway to employment, lead to significant and sustainable results in terms of decent employment for youth, with a focus on young women, and can demonstrate high leverage will be selected.


    As we have identified two thematic areas with opportunities for youth employment, we have split our call for proposals into two windows. Each applicant must choose whether to submit a proposal for ;

  • Window 1: Digital Business Development Services or
  • Window 2: Scaling Up Green Jobs. Applications that do not match either of these windows (and thus type of employment opportunities) will not be considered.

    For more information and application details, see; Challenge Fund for Youth Employment in Kenya

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