News, Events & Press Releases

Nakuru County Governor Kinuthia Mbugua graces YouthSparkLive

Nakuru County Governor Kinuthia Mbugua graces YouthSparkLive

 

 
Microsoft in partnership with I Choose Life - Africa (ICL) and the County Government of Nakuru through the Directorate of Education, Sports and Youth Affairs hosted a YouthSpark Live event at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru to help solve youth unemployment.
The event is part of global measures aimed at helping the youth address their employability challenges, explore careers in technology and entrepreneurship skills to enable them plan for their future, create, build and grow profitable businesses. 
 
The event dabbed YouthSpark Live will create an avenue for nurturing over 1000 young business minds by linking them with experienced mentors entrepreneurs from 50 participating companies.
The forum provides a pitching opportunities to those with investment ideas for a chance to secure funding and receive financial advice from partners including, KCB Foundation -‘Tujiajiri’ project , Youth Enterprise Development Fund, the Uwezo and Women Fund initiatives. 
 
The CEO of ICL Eng. Mike Mutungi said the #YouthSparkLive Nakuru County chapter seeks to address the huge gap between the youths and corporates in the county. “We intend to realise this by bringing together prospective employers and investors in an informal set up for information exchange on available opportunities and map the prerequisite skills needed for these positions. This will go a long way in positioning young people for jobs opportunities.”
Mr. Mutungi noted that without the ability to attain basic skills that match the demands of the labour market, many youths are unable to find employment. There is need to raise the standards of our polytechnics to meet the demand for labour and skills to attain the set GDP targets in Vision 2030” 
Unemployment rates continue to widen in the country, leaving the youths to settle for temporary and unsafe low-paying jobs. Experts argue that there is need to modernise the current education system and incorporate programs that cater for the 21st century workforce. 
 
Kunle Awosika, General Manager Microsoft Kenya noted that “YouthSpark Live is a Microsoft initiative activated through partners to provide an opportunity to engage with youth and discuss development opportunities. As Microsoft, we draw on the strengths of our partners like ICL, the County Government and other like-minded orgarnizations to reach the youth and educate them on how to tap into technology to achieve more.” 
“One need not wait to be employed, with basic computer skills young people can take up online work or create businesses and employ others.” Awosika added. 
 
H.E. the Governor of Nakuru County Hon. Kinuthia Mbugua applauded the initiative and noted that the initiative will offer the County an opportunity to collect primary data on youth unemployment issues and advice in future policies aimed at addressing the situation.  
 Microsoft and ICL are currently offering a free platform: www.tukoworks.co.ke for job seekers and employers to increase flow of information on available jobs and career counselling services.  
 

Sh3.5 billion plan to improve education standards in Kangundo

Sh3.5 billion plan to improve education standards in Kangundo

Machakos County Government in partnership with I Choose Life Africa (ICL) and University of Nairobi (UON) on Thursday validated a Sh3.5 billion plan to improve education standards in Kangundo ahead of looming job opportunities at the Konza Techno City. With massive job opportunities imminent at the multi-billion Konza Techno City, there have been growing concern whether the region is technologically prepared to grab opportunities. The government estimates that more than 20,000 IT jobs will be created in Konza and more than 200,000 jobs by 2030.

In recent years, Kangundo Sub County has been recording one of the worst performances in national exams with an average student recording a mean grade of D.The three year plan (2016-2019) however, seeks to reverse these worrying trends by improving grades to mean grade of B with aim of converting the region into a Silicon Savannah. Speaking during the ceremony held at Misyani Girls’ High School, the CEO of ICL Eng. Mike Mutungi said adoption of the strategy is crucial in equipping students with necessary skills to beat the digital literacy disparity in the region.

“Under the plan, we seek to equip 26 schools with ICT infrastructure and enrolling 20,000 students to be certified in Internet Computing Core Certification (IC3),” he said.
Adding that: “We also want to see some 240 teachers certified in Microsoft Certified Educator (MCE) as well as equipping one technical training institute to train technology artisans.”
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has developed standards of measuring IT skills through IC3 and MCE certification and issuance of globally recognized certificates.
 
In an effort to provide real time accurate data for decision making, the plan will in cooperate the use of Biometric Student Information Management System (BioSIM) technology.
BioSIM is an information system that uses the iris as a unique personal identification. Mr Mutungi noted that the system will revolutionize data management, thus resulting into real time patient care as well as improved student learning. Kangundo Sub County Director of Education Hadard Wanjau noted that adoption of tech in learning will make it easier for teachers to deliver curriculum as well as make learning interesting. He also noted that the sector has been struggling with timely generation of reports in schools for planning purposes. “Currently, it takes more than four days to compile and share a report with the Ministry of Education in Nairobi. If we were to adopt technology, such reports would be available in a few minutes,” he said. Kangundo North Member of County Assembly (MCA) Francis Matheka promised to mobilise other MCAs in the region to sponsor at least one teacher in every school to take MCE courses.

Communique to set up a joint monitoring and evaluation framework for the health sector

Communique to set up a joint monitoring and evaluation framework for the health sector

I Choose Life Africa (ICL) and other health stakeholders in Kenya on May 18, 2016 signed communique to set up a joint monitoring and evaluation framework for the health sector to boost service delivery in the country. Kenya which is endowed with highly skilled researchers is currently struggling with disjointed data which has often led to sluggishness in relay of critical information. The launch of the data warehouse will however, provide a platform for storage of relevant data for easy access and planning by the health providers. Speaking during the event, the Chairperson of Health NGOs Network (Hennet) Eng. Mike Mutungi said the country has a lot of data which could be mined to boost quality of lives across the country. “It is very ironical that it takes a few seconds for Kenyans to receive money on Mpesa while it takes 45 days to get data fed into the country’s health information system – the DHIS,” he argued. “As NGOs we are behind this network and we are committed to ensuring that as a country we have one evaluation framework and we are all reporting to one framework,” added Mutungi who is also the CEO of ICL. Eng. Mutungi noted that Kenya is best in the world in athletics and as countries work towards attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Kenya should not be left behind. The first ever forum in the country attracted health stakeholders from national, county and international organizations. The World Health Organisation (WHO’s) Coordinator Results Monitoring and evaluation, Department of Health Statistics and Information systems Kathryn O’Neill said the initiative is noble and will go a long way in alleviating suffering in the country. “This is about Kenyan leadership – national and county government sending a signal that they want to build a robust system to enable them monitor their health system,” she said. “This is the first country in Africa that has this approach. We hope that this will be a pathfinder mission for other countries learn from Kenya.”

NGOs want Public Benefits Organisations Act implimented

NGOs want Public Benefits Organisations Act implimented

The Chairperson of Health NGOs Network (Hennet) Eng. Mike Mutungi has called on the government to speed implementation of Public Benefits Organisations Act 2013 to help give direction for the health sector. The proposed law seeks to bring more than 350,000 non-profit agencies acting in the public interest and providing benefits to the public under one legal umbrella. Speaking recently during the joint review of 2014/15 Health Sector Performance in Nairobi Eng. Mutungi who is also the CEO of I Choose Life – Africa (ICL), said delay in the implementation of the law is creating unfavourable environment for none-state actors. He said that there is need for all players involved to work together and make the act operational in the first quarter of 2016. “There is need for clear direction to enable us channel our energies to service delivery for common mwananchi. We hope to see the new Health Cabinet Secretary work towards implementing the new law," Adding that “If you have an environment where none-state actors are not sure about the future, such uncertainties makes it difficult for the health sector.” The country’s cash-starved health sector is banking on some Sh250 billion contributed by the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs). Some experts argue that without clear guidelines in the running of CSOs, the country risks losing such funds. Ever since the act was signed in 2013, taskforces have been formed to review it without coming up with a clear roadmap on its implementation. Last November, the Ministry of Devolution and Planning gazetted a PBO task force that successfully amended the PBO Act through amendments to the Security Act Amendment Bill 2014. The proposed law provides for the establishment and operation of public benefits organisations, previously known as non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The new law proposes a regulatory authority, similar to the current NGO Coordination Board, and a PBO Federation to replace the NGO Council.

#Majimtaani campaign launch

#Majimtaani campaign launch

Residents of Sarang’ombe Ward in Kibra constituency Nairobi County with support from I Choose Life – Africa (ICL) have launched a campaign aimed at raising Sh50 million to provide water and sanitation for the locals. The crowded slum is presently struggling with water and hygiene issues, a situation that has pushed many to use the famous ‘flying toilets’ – relieving oneself in a plastic bag before throwing it away. The online campaign, dabbed #Majimtaani, seeks to raise funds for the construction of 20 Community Service Centers (CSC) to provide 54, 000 residents with treated drinking water, hot showers and toilets. With so far one CSC nearing completion, the residents are optimistic that the venture will relieve them from decades of struggle with water-related illnesses. In October, the Ward launched its first-ever three year strategic plan that focuses on six sectors including, water and sanitation, education, access to finance, livelihoods, technology and health. The CEO of ICL Mike Mutungi said the campaign responds to the strategic plan and is aimed at boosting standards of living in the region. “It is saddening to see many Kenyans still have no access to basic water and sanitation nearly fifty years after independence. As an organisation, we believe that economic growth can only be realised when people are healthy,” argued Eng. Mutungi. Adding that: “As the country strives to attain Vision 2030, ICL too has a critical role to play and one way is to reach out to resource-challenged communities with basic services needed.” Despite Kibra being a path way to major city’s water supply, due to uncontrolled construction the region the country’s largest informal settlement has lagged behind in access to water. Each CSC is projected to generate a revenue of Sh40, 000 per month. The Chairman of Kibra Development Committee John Millar said the project is a big boost for the locals and will go a long way in improving quality of lives. “We have been suffering for a long time. Currently, only a few plots have access to piped water. This forces many to rely on common water points which sometimes sells the commodity at staggering rate of between Sh10 and Sh20 per 20 liters,” he said. ICL’s Programme Manager Kevin Kadiri said once the water and sanitation segment is completed, the organisation will embark on mobilising additional funds for the other remaining sectors. “Eventually the goal is to enable the region to gradually attain 10 per cent economic growth,” he said. In an effort to reduce water wastage, the project plans to digitise its services through introduction of water ATMs in partnership with Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company. Other partners supporting the initiative includes, Nairobi Chapel, Centre for Economic Governance (CEG) and Nairobi County Government.

Launch of Sarangombe Strategic Plan activity - 10th October 2015

Launch of Sarangombe Strategic Plan activity - 10th October 2015

Sarang'ombe Ward residents, led by their Member of County Assembly, Hon. K'Otieno, with technical support from Nairobi Chapel, I Choose Life - Africa (ICL) and Centre for Economic Governance (CEG), partnered to develop the Sarang'ombe Ward 2015 - 2017 Strategic Plan; the 2nd of its kind in the country. The MCA mobilized five people from each Sub Location and formed the Sarang'ombe ward Development Committee, with 30 members.

The Sarang'ombe Strategic Plan focuses on six sectors; Water and Sanitation, Education, Access to Finance, Livelihoods, Technology and Health or simply WEALTH. Each sector has one flagship project. In 2015 - 2016, Water and Sanitation, with the flagship project being the establishment of 10 water tanks with the necessary piping to reach 5 villages within the Ward.

What: Launch of the Sarang'ombe Strategic Plan and also kick of the construction of the Community Service Center that will provide Water and Ablution facilities to about 5,000 ward residents
When: Wednesday 10th October 2015
Where: Kamkunji Grounds from 9.00 am to 1.00pm

The Event was officiated by Nairobi County Governor, H.E Dr. Evans Kidero.

Plug in and support the Implementation of the Sarang'ombe Strategic Plan.


MACHAKOS COUNTY PARTNERS WITH SWEDEN TO BENCHMARK AND ACCELERATE COUNTY ECONOMIC GROWTH

MACHAKOS COUNTY PARTNERS WITH SWEDEN TO BENCHMARK AND ACCELERATE COUNTY ECONOMIC GROWTH

Press Release: 4th September 2015

Machakos County Government Officials, together with I Choose Life - Africa CEO and team will today get a sendoff to Sweden for a knowledge exchange visit. The delegation comprising 4 County officials and 2 ICL team members will be flagged off by Machakos County Governor, Hon. Alfred Mutua at 11.00am.

The knowledge exchange visit was birthed by the Machakos Strategic Think Tank with the objective of benchmarking the recently launched Machakos Vision 2020 against Sweden's Municipality management success. This project was initiated by I Choose Life- Africa (ICL) in partnership with Machakos County government, forming the Machakos Strategy Think Tank. The two key partners have been involved in implementing developmental programs in the county since 2012. Through observations and gaps identified in the course of interactions with the county citizens and the county government, I Choose Life Africa felt the need to facilitate effective collaboration between Boras Municipality in Sweden and Machakos County.


Future FirstGlobal and  I Choose Life - Africa Launch New Partnership

Future FirstGlobal and I Choose Life - Africa Launch New Partnership

80,000 young people in Kenya to access role models and support for school-to-work transition

Nairobi, Kenya 18th March 2015 - Future First Global and 'I Choose Life - Africa' (ICL) launched an exciting new partnership today, which will provide access to role modelsand support in the transition from school into jobs, for some 80,000 young Kenyans over the next two years.The two-year partnership, launched in Nairobi, will see the expansion ofthe Future First programmeinto at least 80 government secondary schools across eight counties - Nairobi, Meru, LaikipiaMachakos, TaitaTaveta, UasinGishu, Turkana and Mombasa - reaching some of the most disadvantaged communities in Kenya.


Microsoft women encourage high school girls in Kenya to take up careers in STEM

Microsoft women encourage high school girls in Kenya to take up careers in STEM

Machakos, Kenya- Microsoft Corporation employees marked this year's International Women's Day eve by holding the 4th Edition of Microsoft's ICT Day for girls dubbed "DigiGirlz", in Machakos County, Kenya. The one day ICT workshop will be hosted in partnership with; I Choose Life Africa, Craft Silicon Foundation and Techno Brain Limited.

The initiative is a Global Microsoft YouthSpark Program for young women to build a pipeline of future workers ready for the challenges of the global economy. It gives high school girls the opportunity to interact with female Microsoft employees to gain exposure to careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) as well as participate in hands-on computer and technology workshops. Locally, it is executed by Microsoft employees as part of the company's Employee Volunteer Program (EVP). To date, it has seen over 750 girls from schools within Nairobi County benefit from the program.


Adopt a school campaign! Launch event, Sarova Panafric, 11th February 2015

Adopt a school campaign! Launch event, Sarova Panafric, 11th February 2015

This is an initiative by Jielimishe GEC Project together with MoEST and County Government which Seeks to support marginalized girls through mentorship and conducive learning environment for better quality education. It will bring together MoEST, County Governments and Corporates to support and improve education. I will also initiate the Employers' challenge to support and improve education in county schools