Kenya farming youth group
Paul Wambugu/Obscuramedia

Kenya

We've been working in Kenya since 1959, building healthy communities, strengthening inclusive education systems, and supporting people to develop sustainable and resilient livelihoods.

VSO employs a People First Framework to ensure local communities design and own their own development.

Currently, VSO works in partnership with the Kenyan government, private sector, and civil society organisations, through local staff and community, national, and international expert volunteers.  

VSO works in 21 counties that include: Makueni, Machakos, Kilifi, Nyandarua, Makueni, Kirinyaga, Isiolo, Mombasa, Kwale, Taita Taveta, Bungoma, Migori, Murang’a, Nandi, Nairobi, Wajir, Kajiado, Siaya, Kisumu, Garissa, and Turkana.

In 2022-23 we reached

339K

339,887 people in total.

212K

212,887 people directly.

127K

127,000 people indirectly

58%

58% of the people we reached were female.

Healthy communities

Woman attend session

Our health programming supports women to make empowered family planning choices.

VSO staff and volunteers work alongside health workers, communities, and governments to improve health services for marginalized and disadvantaged members of society including women, children, people with disabilities, and prisoners.

We work to increase sexual reproductive health rights, maternal, neonatal and child health, nutrition, and promote disability and social inclusion into health services. VSO also champions integrated programs that promote social inclusion, and intersectionality.

Make Way

January 2021 to December 2025

Our Make Way project is ensuring everybody, including those who are most marginalised, are able to realise their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). SRHR are human rights, that allow people to make informed decisions about relationships, their bodies, family planning, sexuality, and wellbeing.

The programme aims to enhance access to SRHR for youth facing discrimination, through innovative lobby and advocacy by youth civil society organisations and their allies. We work by strengthening youth leadership to ensure youth are the leading voice in making sure those who face discrimination, can exercise their right to SRHR. 

Learn more about Make Way

Resilient livelihoods

Women sorting waste

From Waste to Work is supporting young people to become job creators in the green and circular economy.

Our youth programming in Kenya focuses on supporting some of the country’s most marginalised and disadvantaged young people – particularly those living with disabilities, young girls, young heads of households, and those from informal settlement and pastoralist communities. We support people to develop employability and entrepreneurship skills, empowering them to find employment or establish their own income-generating activities.

We’re working to ensure that 10,000 young people benefit from relevant skills development and training, and 5,000 are supported to access entrepreneurship and employment opportunities.

From Waste to Work

November 2022 - February 2025

VSO, in partnership with Taka Taka Solutions (TTS) and Stichting International Child Development Initiatives (ICDI) and with support of IKEA Foundation, has started the From Waste to Work project in Kenya.

The project is designed to create lasting impact for 3,900 most vulnerable youth active in the waste sector, to build successful enterprises and earn a sustainable living income. 

From Waste to Work promotes recycling and transforming waste by preventing it from going into the landfills while supporting green entrepreneurs to develop innovative ideas to go beyond only collecting ‘re-sellable’ waste and enable them to develop innovative, marketable products with ‘left-over’ waste.

The project primarily targets youth in slums but shall also work with young women and persons with disabilities within the communities and use social accountability to advocate for friendlier and inclusive waste management policies. 

More about From Waste to Work

Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities Economic Empowerment

Female farmers
Paul Wambugu/Obscuramedia
VSO are supporting women, youth and marginalized groups to have equal access to the employment market.

VSO promotes economic inclusion for women, youth, and other excluded groups, by emphasising access to employment, finance, leadership training, and technical and vocational education and training (TVET), for individuals out of the employment market.

VSO does this by working with local civil society organisations (CSOs), local private sector organisations, education institutions, and local governments. At the national level, VSO helped develop the government strategy on Women’s Economic Empowerment and has fostered a vast network of youth employment and entrepreneurship groups. 

Challenge Fund for Youth Employment (CYFE)

Dutch MFA (2021-2025) 

The CFYE program works with social enterprises to support job creation and decent and inclusive employment for Kenyan youth, women, and people with disabilities.

This is achieved through targeted capacity strengthening for social enterprises to help them to be inclusive employers and to drive meaningful policy change for gender, social, and disability inclusion in the workplace.

By 2025, the CFYE aims to create decent employment for 32,000 young people including 16,000 women in Nairobi, Machakos, Makueni, and Taita-Taveta counties in Kenya. 

Learn more about CYFE

Capacity Strengthening

VSO supports local communities leading their own process of change. VSO has strengthened capacity of government, civil society, education stakeholders, and farmers to create sustainable improvements led and owned by communities themselves.

VSO enables and supports local organizations to establish effective governance, volunteering for development programmes; oversight, monitoring and evaluation, finance, and management mechanisms to ensure effective grant management to assist in localization efforts by major funding sources. 

Integrated Peace, Development and Humanitarian Efforts (IDPHE)

Smiling women
The IPDHE project aims to empower local communities to identify the underlying problems that cause conflict and help them develop action plans to solve these problems.

Austrian Development Agency (2022-2024) 

VSO is implementing an integrated peace, development and humanitarian project in Marsabit, Moyale, and Borane regions at the border of Kenya and Ethiopia.

This cross-border project is anticipated to reduce conflict and enhance resilience and peaceful coexistence of cross-border communities at the Ethiopia-Kenya border.  

VSO volunteers are building the capacity of community-based organisations to engage in peacebuilding, develop early warning systems, build resilience and address issues of drought using our social inclusion, and social accountability models.

The project aims to work with 43 indigenous institutions, 20 peace and 20 disaster risk reduction committees, 15 local civil society organisations, 120 government officials, community leaders, and 4000 community members, and ultimately reach 157,000 people. 

Active Citizenship Through Volunteering and Empowerment (ACTIVE)

UK aid logo

FCDO (2022-2025) 

Funded by UK Aid from the UK government, the ACTIVE programs key objectives, revolve around, promoting active citizenship, increasing access to services and improving the evidence and understanding on the effectiveness of the volunteering for development approach for citizens, county and national governments.  

The program is targeting 180,000 children, youth, women, and persons with disabilities, and will support the national and county governments in the delivery of Universal Health Coverage by strengthening health systems in Makueni, Kilifi and Turkana counties.

The programme is promoting access to quality and inclusive education for children and youth in Turkana (both host and refugee communities) and improving access to green jobs for marginalised youths.

More about the ACTIVE programme

Previous projects we’ve worked on

Health

Delivering Equitable and Sustainable Increases in Family Planning (DESIP), FCDO (2019-2023) 

VSO and partners are working on the largest family planning and SRHR program in Kenya spanning 19 counties with the lowest modern contraceptive prevalence rates. The project targeted marginalized adolescents, persons with disabilities and poor rural women.

DESIP strengthened services at a national and county level helping them to plan, coordinate, budget and manage family planning services to enable women to gain education and skills, to live healthy lives and gain an income. Notably, VSO contributed new ideas on social and disability inclusion considered in the revised National FP CIP for 2021-2024. 

Livelihoods

Youth Entrepreneurship and Employment Program, CITI Foundation, FCDO (2017-2021) 

 An innovative VSO partnership with Citi Bank and Balloon Ventures promoted entrepreneurship and employment opportunities across two initiatives.

In Nakuru, Kenya, VSO coordinated a knowledge exchange volunteering program where a global crop of Citi analysts and specialists, worked alongside Kenyan youth and provided valuable coaching to entrepreneurs.  

Of these youth trainees, 88% developed new business ideas, 75% improved their business operations, 75% increased their financial understanding, and 63% developed stronger networks. The program trained 1,400 young people in job readiness skills, empowered 500 entrepreneurs to start or scale their own business, and increased businesses revenue and staff by 50% for participants.  

Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), USAID (2015-2019) 

VSO partnered with IREX in East Africa on the YALI program, working with fellows from 12 different countries with central operations in Kenya. VSO facilitated an executive mentorship program, coordinated professional development placements, hosted communities of practice, and trained fellows for speaking engagements at numerous regional, national, and international events.

VSO was a key contributor to the Organisational Performance Improvement (OPI) pilot, that helped YALI alumni to develop finance, procurement, and HR policies as well as a 3-year strategic plan. 

Inclusive education

Education for Life, FCDO (2019-2023)

Education for Life (EFL) supported out-of-school marginalized adolescent girls, to gain a basic education and skills to enhance their future opportunities.

Alongside the government and local partners, VSO reached 2,000 marginalized girls and provided remedial education and pathways to employment, while implementing policies to improve safe access to education for girls in Migori and Isiolo County.

The EFL project was implemented in partnership with ActionAid, Leonard Cheshire, and the Ministry of Education. VSO Kenya also provided technical assistance to the Ministry of Education and supported the National Youth Council and National Employment Authority to increase youth employability at national level. 

Right to Education and Life, ERIKS Development Partner (2021-2023) 

The project was implemented in Isiolo and Laikipia, two counties with low education outcomes and large numbers of out-of-school children. The project increased knowledge, awareness, and interest, among parents and communities on the value of educating children with disabilities (CWDs).

It also provided opportunities for households to improve their income, improve the quality of education for CWDs, address negative social norms and improve the implementation of policies around inclusive education at the county and national levels.

The project supported 1,229 CWDs and 3,000 households with humanitarian assistance through relief food during floods, and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Partnerships

We work with a number of partners including the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), USAID, ERIKS Development Partner, PS Kenya, ActionAid, and Leonard Cheshire.  

Through partners like VSO... we are enabling citizens to respond as volunteers to tackle poverty in Makueni County through public participation.
Professor Kivutha Kibwana
Governor, Makueni County

VSO Kenya has partnered across the country to implement its work and ensure sustainability. At the national level, VSO has partnered with the Ministry of Education (MoE), the Ministry of Health (MoH), the National Youth Council, the National Employment Authority, and the Pan Africa Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), ActionAid, and numerous universities.  

Locally, VSO has partnered with Disabled Persons Organizations, international NGOs, local CSOs, and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) centres, and numerous social enterprises. 

Contact us

If you are interested in supporting our work, or if you have another query, get in touch:

Address: VSO Kenya, Timau Plaza 5th Floor, Argwings Kodhek Road, Nairobi, Kenya

Tel: (+254) 720 890 184, (+254) 203 871 700
Email: vsokenya.comms@vsoint.org


Find out more about our work in:

Girls at the She Club, a safe space for girls to learn about SRHR
Chosa Mweemba

Adolescent and youth health and wellbeing

Improving health services and empowering people to exercise their right to quality care.

We helped almost 90,000 people access better healthcare in 2022-23.

Young female farmers in Kenya
Paul Wambugu/ Obscuramedia

Resilient livelihoods

Ensuring people have the skills and opportunities needed to support themselves and their families.

200,000 people benefited from our work supporting livelihoods in 2022-23.

Purnima at a catch up class
Suraj Shakya

Inclusive and resilient education

Making sure everyone gets the skills they need to live a fulfilled, dignified life.

We helped over 3.2 million people to access the quality education they deserve in 2022-23.