In August 2020, Adili pilot project kicked off in Busia County. Through local mobilisation, 17 young people were recruited. In a weeklong training, the participants learnt how to make multi-purpose soap, bar soaps and hand-sanitisers. They were also taught basic entrepreneurial skills to help them understand their customers, market, and competitors and how to get the best value for their products.
Adili is an empowerment programme in Busia county, that contributes to the creation of employment and economic opportunities among teenage mothers, between the ages of 15 and 25, through skills development.
Post-training support for these participants was provided to ensure quality of the products. They reported back to the training centre in Busia, where they produced multipurpose soap and sanitisers. Out of the 17 participants of the first cohort, three have started small businesses selling their products.
Increased incidence of teenage pregnancies in Busia County.
According to Esther Wasige, the director of the Children’s Department, Busia County, Butula Sub-County reported 517 teenage pregnancies, followed by Matayos Sub-County, with 448 and Teso North 441. Nambale had 364, Teso South 340, Samia Sub-County 252 and Bunyala Sub-County 188 cases. These statistics are part of a report published by the Children’s Department last year.
Poverty, lack of economic opportunities and awareness of sexual and reproductive health and rights have led to girls as young as 10 engaging in sex. They then end up dropping out of school, or being forced into early marriages. Some are even forced into commercial sex work to earn some money for their basic needs.
To protect the young girls from teenage pregnancies, there are many initiatives by the government and NGOs. Some 98 per cent of pregnant teenagers, who survive childbirth in Kenya, drop out of school, according to Plan International (2020).
What happens to these teenage mothers?
The Adili Project goes beyond just empowering young mothers with transferable skills, but also equips them with expertise they can use to generate income for themselves and to support their families.
This year, the programme will work with 20,000 women, an expansion in a span of five years in 20 counties. Our pilot programme will begin with 150 women in three sub-counties in Busia County. The project will focus on training and imparting practical skills on entrepreneurship. The training will last three months. We will be scaling up by recruiting 50 more women every three months.
We will be working closely with the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Busia Chapter. The two organisations signed an MoU to formalise this partnership and explore other areas of collaboration.
The participants will be provided with the initial capital to start production. A revenue-sharing model will be used between the participants and Zuhura, to ensure sustainability. For the participants who decide to venture out on their own, the organisation, in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce at Busia, will assist them to acquire loans.