The Youth Group is a grassroots programme which provides a range of activities to youths from the Mathare area. Although the Youth Group is coordinated and supported by Maji Mazuri, it is consciously set up to allow the beneficiaries to design the programmes. At the beginning of each year, the group meets to make an annual plan which is then implemented during weekly sessions.
These programmes include an environmental initiative which has been recognised by the UN and an anti-violence campaign focused on reducing the amount of political violence and rioting around election times.
The environmental activism ‘Green Heroes’ programme is an initiative in which motivated and dedicated youth focus on organizing and improving waste management in Mathare. They invest their efforts into sensitising and educating the community through regular garbage clean-up events and other activities. Their efforts were recognised and awarded a World Environmental Day Challenge Award by the UNEP.
The ‘Peace Programme’ is a response to the problem of violence around elections. In the past, Kenya’s political sphere has been tainted by incitements to rioting and violence. The youth group’s peace programme was an effort to push back against this trend and to encourage peaceful protests through community outreach.
Other elements of the Youth Programme include scholarships for higher education, health and sex education, as well as mentorship and career advice from visiting speakers.
In addition to the programmes designed by the Youth Group, Maji Mazuri runs an ICT programme that provides computer literacy, graphic design, and business training to 25 individuals each intake (there is a long waiting list!). To date, the programme has trained upwards of 1,900 individuals! This training takes place in Maji Mazuri’s community centre, which is also the planned site of future community programmes.