We offer our beneficiaries and partners the new knowledge, evidence and innovative solutions (tools, best practices) in peace building and economic development, generated through our implementation and evidence building work.

Competitive and tailored capacity development support and or systems strengthening for purposes of enhanced service delivery and realization of both individual and institutional goals.

Opportunities to leverage on our geographical coverage, technical know-how, and networks for purposes of (joint) delivery and or scaling up of various developmental responses.

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Pamela Adhiambo

My Hope to be Great is Revived

Pamela Adhiambo

This opportunity helped me to channel my dream by focusing my attention on completing my studies. While this is a certificate course, I find it covering almost half of what we learn at the university. I love the practical bit and I am inspired to continue to grade II and beyond in the future. This will give me an upper hand to become an examiner for technical training. I am also encouraged to finish my degree. I now have the confidence and determined to resume my fourth year studies with the small savings from freelancing and a token of appreciation from the YMCA. Having the two levels of training will increase my experience and chances in the job market and, overall, in the beauty industry. The knowledge and network gained from Up-skillers BFM training has increased my client base and inspired me to follow through on my passion of becoming a great cosmetologist and examiner instructor. I appreciate the opportunity; the scholarship has put me a step closer to my dream. I promise to keep impacting others too. Learning that both the trainees and other instructors appreciate my work gives me hope that I am on the right track to achieving my goal.”

Says Pamela

 

Pamela Adhiambo is a 23-year-old lady, a dancer by passion, and a volunteer instructor in the hair dressing and beauty therapy department at YMCA-Kisumu. She describes herself as a makeup artist and nail technician, work that she does on a free-lance basis. The desire to grow her passion and work with young people for empowerment led her to seek an opportunity to serve as a volunteer instructor with the YMCA-Kisumu. She previously served as volunteer at EXELL School of Beauty Therapy and Institute of Certified Studies (ICS). Pamela is also a third-year student at Masinde Muliro University of Technology, undertaking a Bachelor of Technology in Cosmetology. A course she enrolled in 2017 but has deferred due to a lack of school fees on numerous occasions.

As the first born in a family of four, Pamela describes her family background as complicated and is passionate about cutting her own space to become a great person in society. She previously attempted several job applications but has not been successful. Some of which she missed out on because of lack of academic transcripts. She has not been able to access her transcripts because she has not paid the required school fees. It is at her disposal as a volunteer instructor and trainer in dance at YMCA that she learnt about the S4J Partial Scholarship early this year (2022) and went ahead to apply as an up-skiller during the period May–July 2022 intake. Having qualified and enrolled in the programme, Pamela is among the 77 up-skillers spread across 5 learning institutions who sat for NITA Grade Test III assessment in July 2022. The S4J project supports upskillers by paying their exam fees and offering 3-day training on business, finance, and soft skills to help them improve their business practices.

Reconnecting to my business dream through development partnership

"The knowledge acquired from the training is helping me to better plan, set goals for my business and engage with my customers effectively. The overlock machine has increased the quality of my work. I can now do quality finishing on my products. I even earn some money from my fellow tailors-turned-customers who bring their clothes for overlock. I charge 40-50 shillings for overlocking one piece of cloth. This has guaranteed some level of income alongside the quality of my work. I see myself growing and attracting more customers. My income has improved and I look forward to establishing ‘ Ouya Textiles Company’ in future. Says Ouya.

Amos Ouya is a 49-year-old middle-aged tailor from Kisumu. He is married to Monica Atieno and has five children. Mr. Ouya runs a garment making shop at Ekwanda shopping center in Maseno, Kisumu. This business he started in early 2000 having learnt some tailoring skills in primary home science and further acquiring skills in dress making through apprenticeship both in Nairobi and Kisumu. Ouya holds a theology diploma in Bible in Mission from Nairobi Great Commission School.

"We both run the garment making shop with my wife, who is a KNEC-certified tailor. For many years of practicing garment making, I desired to be a certified tailor to prove my ability given the longstanding experience in this field. Sometimes we joked about it with my wife, who is certified dressmaker…. although I have more experience.  Lack of a certificate lowered my self-esteem in negotiating business deals with customers. Thanks to Pamoja for your scholarship program. I sat for my NITA Grade Test III assessment in May 2022 at Mariwa Vocational Training Center and I am determined to further my studies, "says Ouya.

Ouya is part of the 118 up-skillers enrolled in the Skills for Jobs (S4J) project for the period, January–April 2022. As an apprentice, he also benefited from Business Finance Management (BFM) training and was awarded a business toolkit of an overlock machine. The overall objective of the S4J project is to improve the employability and economic opportunities of young men and women in Kisumu, Bungoma, and Siaya Counties. The goal of the BFM and soft skills training is to provide participants with practical knowledge and tools in business, finance, and business planning.

 

Ouya currently provides attachment to tailoring and dress making trainees from Mariwa Vocational Training Center. He considers this an opportunity not only for learning by the trainees but platform to enhance publicity of his enterprise.

"Thank you to Pamoja, you have made me proud. Keep up the good job and support many to address both technical and capital needs to start or grow their businesses.”

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My Move to start own business ignited by Pamoja skills training

Josephine Auma Apwok is a 34-year-old business woman from Ekwanda. She is married and has four children. She currently runs a tailoring shop. Josephine’s dream of starting her own shop was ignited through her participation in the Skills for Jobs project as an Up-skiller from January to May 2022. She was enrolled at Mariwa Vocational Training Centre where she sat for her NITA Grade Test III in May 2022.

At the time of her enrollment in the project, Josphene had been learning tailoring as an apprentice for close to two years. “Although I had known the job, I relied on daily commission from my labour. I was paid a commission of 50 shillings for every shirt I made and 100 shillings for every dress. My commission depended on the availability of customers. I longed to open my own shop but was limited by lack of finance and confidence to make the move. The training on business finance management and soft skills gave me the inspiration and confidence to walk the journey. Lessons on goal setting, entrepreneurship, and business planning gave me the insights to begin the journey," says Josphene.

During the BFM and soft skills training, participants are given the opportunity to practice Business Model Canvas (BMC) and business planning with their actual or dream businesses. It is from this kind of practice that Josphene begun visualizing and actualizing her newly desired business move.

From the training, Josphene reached out to a friend in need who wanted to sell her old manual sewing machine and, with her little savings, bought the machine through two installments of Ksh. 2,500. Her husband later bought her another second-hand manual sewing machine. Even with the two manual machines, her work output was limited and always interrupted by regular maintenance due to bad condition of the second hand machines. Josphene was awarded a business toolkit of a brand new Singer sewing machine to boost her business operations.

 

"Before, I could only do one dress in a day. However, with the new machine from Pamoja, my work is faster and satisfactorily. I can do more than two dresses in a day. Sincerely, my business has changed. I am on a different growth trajectory. My income has improved. I made an average of 200 shillings before. I now make more than double and am still able to meet my customer's demand for production and comfortably provide space for two trainees on attachment. My only challenge now is the overlocking machine. As a remedy, I just do neat finishing but sometimes pay for overlock services. I am committed to expanding the business and moving from the current container to bigger space. Though I never made it to university, I see this business helping me to educate my children to university and beyond, " says Josphene.

Turning the Tides through Development Cooperation

Mathews Ochieng Msumba, famously known as "Jawaya," operates OK Garage in Kisumu. The garage is famous for all its motor vehicle services and has produced various apprentice trainees. OK garage was identified by Pamoja as an industry player in the initial phases of the S4J project to provide Motor Vehicle Mechanic trainees with attachment. The garage has had a similar arrangement of apprenticeship training with Undugu Society, among other partners. When Pamoja reached out to the garage in September 2021, we were not sure whether our concept of apprenticeship would sail through given that other development partners pay the industry players for every trainee attached, and this is not the case with our model. However, out of the usual practice of supporting the vulnerable and contributing to the empowerment of youth in Kisumu, the garage agreed to our concept.

 

“previously, we hired spray painting machine to attend to our customer needs. The daily cost of hiring minus fuel and painter ranges between 800 – 1000 shillings. Now we don’t spend on hiring machine. In fact, we now lend out our machine to other neighbors at a cost when we do not have spray paint work. The machine brings money whether we have spray panting work or not. Even with the past arrangement with other partners, we have not had such assets given to us. We sincerely appreciate this gesture and commit to providing opportunities for the trainees to practice here” Says Jawaya.

 

Figure 4: On the above left is Mathews Ochieng Msumba of OK garage display his new spray painting machine after site visit and toolkit handing over by Pamoja

OK Garage provided attachment opportunities to 5 MVM trainees for the January–April 2022 cohort, and another 5 trainees are currently undergoing their internship at the garage. An opportunity that Jawaya describes as an avenue to give back to society and a tradition they are not letting go any time soon. In our new model of supporting a select number of industry players as they provide apprenticeships, Ok Garage was recently provided with a new heavy-duty spray painting machine in June 2022. The need for this machine was identified through our regular visits and follow-up with attached trainees and validated through Jawaya and team consent. "As a recommendation, I urge that you consider an arrangement where you bring us fresh or new trainees." We train them here and you register them for NITA grade test III exams. I believe this would be the best approach for fast learners and will provide much needed practical skills from the onset.

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Samuel: Pamoja Changed My Life

Samuel Ochieng or Sam, as he is often referred has experienced a fair share of struggles throughout a better part of his life. Through much effort, Sam managed to complete his secondary education in 2018 that came by with much support from the local CDF’s bursary funding. His family could however not afford to support his college education for lack of money and competing family demands. For 4 years, he struggled to make ends meet and alleviate the challenges of his life. The need for survival led him to engage in casual jobs to earn a living, at local building sites (mjengo) as a helper, as a tout at the local matatu industry (plying Kahawa West –Nairobi City route), at car washes as an attendant and as a casual laborer in small restaurants within Nairobi city. It is from such engagement that he developed a passion for cooking through his experiences in working at hotels and eateries though his financial and social circumstances however could not allow him to act beyond his desired goal to be a chef.

 

Samuel learnt about the skills for jobs sponsorship through an advert that was forwarded online by a close relative. After application he was lucky to be on-boarded under the Novice Cohort-I category at NITA-Kisumu to pursue a short-term course in food and beverage production between January–April 2022. The training offered Sam practical and theoretical skills in food and beverage production that has equipped him with a range of knowledge and understanding, skills and techniques, personal qualities and attributes essential for successful performance in the food service industry. Samuel also benefited from Soft skills and career readiness training that prepared him not only to think creatively and acquire basics skills in entrepreneurship, but also promoted his overall future career performance, career advancement and retention. In April 2022 Sam successfully sat for his NITA grade III government trade test examinations.

Through the project’s skills matching approach Samuel eventually managed to secure a placement opportunity at EKA hotel in Nairobi as an intern assisting in food production department. The internship position offers a small monthly stipend which he partly uses to cater for his daily needs, and support his family whenever possible. The hotel management recently approached him with an offer for employment.  “My self-esteem is over the roof. I remain grateful for the support I’ve received from Pamoja for transformation that has offered me this new lease of life. My parents and family are also happy and encouraged with my performance. My supervisor is also happy with my work which has motivated me to commence setting some money aside that will help me sponsor myself for NITA grade II government trade test. My dream is to become a professional chef in a five-star hotel and support my family. From now on my life can never be viewed with the same lens again. I encourage my fellow youth to never give up in life, to look out for and explore all available avenues to take up skills training and to always work hard.” Says Samuel Ochieng.

Your Support was an ‘Eye Opener’

Beline Perry was on-boarded in the skills for jobs program under the Novice Cohort II category at YMCA in January 2022.  She is 26-year-old and a second child in a family of 3, Perry and her siblings lost their parents at tender age and were taken in by their grandmother. All through her life, Perry had always strived to work hard in her studies to support her grandmother and her siblings. She had even managed to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Enterprise and Management degree at Egerton University.

Things however didn’t turn out as easy as Perri had anticipated, getting a job after her graduation had proved to be a struggle. “Despite making hundreds of applications, no jobs were coming forth which made me feel very discouraged. My grandmother also felt like I wasn’t doing enough.”  From her childhood passion in hairdressing, Perri decided to establish a small saloon where she could keep herself busy and to make a little earnings for herself. As her customer base grew, so were their demands. Perri noticed that majority of her clients were in need of beauty services including; makeup application, manicure and pedicure settings.

It was then that she learnt of the skills for jobs project in Kisumu. She applied and got enrolled at YMCA. Perri has learnt to express her creativity in the field of beauty therapy. She committed to the 3month technical training to the extent of closing her small business to attend her classes. Perri successfully sat for her NITA grade III, government trade test and has fully embarked on her Salon.  She has also offered an employment opportunity to one of her colleagues from YMCA. She currently sponsors her youngest sibling who is a student at Kisumu Polytechnic “I am very grateful to Pamoja for Transformation and her donor for the opportunity to study and the gift of Hair Drier machine.

I now have skills in Beauty Therapy and equipped to offer competent services to my clients. I would wish to tell my fellow young people not to wait to be employed. Employment opportunities are quite few, but with our own hands and hard work, we can contribute to create such opportunities for ourselves and others” Beline Perri

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Your Support was an ‘Eye Opener’

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Hillary Kawa Sore

“I initially registered for this training in 2019. However, my family’s financial situation could not support my school fees and soon after I was forced to drop off.

 

I relocated to Nairobi and landed a job in an electrical installation company as an apprentice. It wasn’t easy for me, since various contractors would demand for a certificate which I did not have.

 

I was eventually fired from my work place because I did not have any formal certification. I am very grateful for this opportunity that has been granted to me.

 

I will finally acquire certification in electrical installation” Says Hillary Kawa Sore of Bungoma North Technical and Vocational College