Vusha Girls Employability Program
‘Vusha’ is a Kiswahili word for transition. Funded by the US Department of State, Office of Global AIDS Coordinator (OGAC), through the DREAMS Innovation Challenge, Vusha Girls Employability Program was a demand-driven workforce development program intended to improve employment prospects and income-generating capacities for 1,000 young women aged 19-24 years, whose socioeconomic circumstances heighten their vulnerability to and risk of HIV infection. The fishing bays in Kisumu, Homabay, Siaya counties; and informal settlements in Nairobi, Kenya were the target sites for the project. The program was implemented between October 2016 and March 2019.
The four counties in which the program was implemented have the highest burden of HIV prevalence in Kenya. The young women targeted were at their transition point from high school/vocational/tertiary education to the world of work. They were equipped with ICT skills (digital literacy, coding skills), online work (microwork) skills, life skills (for day-to-day life, for the workplace and healthcare planning), entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills; and one vocational skill of their choice selected from the range of 19 vocational skills/trades customized for the program. The trades/vocational skills course included digital skills, electrical installations and electronics, carpentry and joinery, plumbing and pipe fitting, fashion design and garment making, motor vehicle mechanics, food production and service, and welding and fabrication to mention a few.
In addition, the young women will be trained on HIV transmission and associated risk factors and referred to HIV testing and counselling services as well as Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) services.
Young women (119.5% of life of project – LOP – target) were reached through the intervention.
1122 young women aged 19-24 completed USG-assisted workforce development programs. Of these 505 (45%) were from Nairobi County whereas 617 (55%) were from Kisumu, Homa Bay and Siaya Counties.
82% of the 1005 AGYW reached through a tracer survey confirmed to have found better economic opportunities, including higher paying jobs through ACWICT’s employer network (with average monthly income of KES 10,000-20,000), or self-employment.
980/1122 completed a standardized HIV prevention intervention including the minimum components during the reporting period.
392/689 young women aged 19-24 completed referrals for various clinical service (s).
Employed in male-dominated fields like auto mechanics, electrical, electronics, masonry, plumbing, and information and communication technologies, or established businesses of their own.