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KITO International is a non-profit social enterprise with a simple philosophy: give street youth an economic opportunity and they will WORK their way off the streets and out of poverty. The estimated 300,000 youth that live and work on Kenya’s streets face disease, poverty, exploitation, and violence every hour of every day. Four out of 10 Kenyans are unemployed; almost two-thirds of which are youth between the ages of 18 – 35 Inexperienced street youth simply cannot compete in that job market.
Envisioned by a former street boy, KITO refocuses street youth’s survival skills to create a lifetime of self-sufficiency. KITO’s model is broken down into five components:
Recruit - Street youth are recruited by team members, recommended by affiliate organizations, or they apply on their own. Selection - Staff select KITO youth through a participatory interview/assessment process that includes individual and group evaluation exercise and challenges (e.g.,goals, leadership and teamwork capabilities, entrepreneurial potential, life/work attitude, and overall performance during the process). Train - After successfully completing the assessment process the new participants begin a rigorous two-month training experience that covers life skills, entrepreneurship skills, basic personal finance and savings, marketing and sales, leadership development and team building. Employment - After completing the skills’ training graduates are offered employment at KITO’s business, EcoSafi, for four months. At EcoSafi, KITO youth put their training to work . The hands-on real-work experience in marketing, customer relations, accounting, and production gives the graduates with a job reference and practical knowledge of how to run a business.
Because KITO is committed to the success of each and every youth that walks through our doors staff work with each youth to create a personal exit strategy to ensure their continued success and reach their potential as they grow into adulthood. Previous graduates have started their own business, found full time employment, or continued their education with the help of KITO’s Scholarship Program.
“I am so happy that through Kito I am now able to not just be independent, but also equip other youth with computer skills. I never imagined I could be able to help anybody.” Wilkister, a Kito alumni.
"Kito has given me an opportunity of a lifetime. Through their support, I joined college and has immense hope about the future. My income has grown, I have a roof on top of my head. Things that I never imagined. Thank you Kito." Reuben Owuor.