The week of 12-18th June was a busy one for NBCC partner Business Fights Poverty as it held a week of virtual meetings for global stakeholders to discuss the Covid-19 Pandemic. Hundreds of speakers and participants took part in the different sessions where our very own NBCC partners discussed: Delivering Covid-19 interventions to Kenyan youth through technology and collaboration.
The panel constituted among others
- Maggie Rarieya of NBCC Secretariat
- Elsie Wandera. CEO Heroes for Change
- Rob Burnet, CEO of Shujaz,
- Christian, Chief Commercial officer, Brck,
- Manowa: Adviser on ICT, from the Ministry of ICT
- Anila Gopal, Health and Wellness Director, Unilever Global
Bringing diverse expertise from technology and youth, the panelists discussed how their seemingly diverse backgrounds are merging through collaboration and delivering much needed interventions to the Kenyan youth demographic.
With under 35 year olds constituting about 75% of the population in Kenya, the 18-35 year old youth by their very nature are also the most susceptible to contact and or transmit the virus. This same demographic also constitutes the largest users and consumers of technology and thus the NBCC saw it prudent to channel their Covid-19 interventions to them through tech based platforms.
Anila Gopal spoke on using blended finance and a PPP model to fund among others innovative local digital solutions reaching target audiences and appeal to the youth with a focus on hygiene and behaviour change. With a targeted reach of 330 million people globally and leveraging on Unilever’s expertise on consumer insights, behaviour change, communications and distribution, they have delivered high-impact interventions to improve both personal and environmental hygiene to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.
Christian of BRCK highlighted what is doing to provide affordable internet connectivity for youth populations. As an organization BRCK exists to connect Africa to the internet, removing the barriers to connectivity in order to increase economic opportunity. For them, converting the web to work for youth remains a critical intervention they are championing as most youth expose themselves to Covid-19 infections when they seek employment.
Heroes for Change and Shujaaz have the youth in their cross hairs with the former recruiting and training the youth to be the change agents in their communities. According to Elsie Wandera CEO of Heroes for Change “Contrary to the narrative about the youth, they are not the problem, they are a force of change and inviting them to the table as we develop integrated interventions for our community ensures they are included in the achievement of the audacious goals in these times.”
She added Technology provides a platform for the youth to express their ideas and mobilize their peers to solve problems in their community and Heroes for Change provides the bridge and guard rails for the youth to showcase their abilities and unlock their potential to better themselves.
Elsie’s sentiments were echoed by Rob Burnet of Shujaaz who through a network of social ventures are using the youth to break down barriers and re-build better. With 7.5 million youth in their network, Shujaaz is ensuring the youth voice is heard through use of technology whilst also employing the Covid-19 barometer designed to analyse and share a range of data, to provide stakeholders with real-time feedback on the impact of the crisis on young people.
He added feedback collected is also used to communicate back to the youth and provide much needed interventions in timely and intended versions that the target audience can relate with and share.
Bringing it all together the NBCC secretariat has turned a blank canvas into a masterpiece of different partners working in harmony. “The dynamics and interventions required in Kenya as relates to Covid-19 couldn’t be more diverse with each community experiencing unique challenges and putting together a team that interprets and delivers for all stakeholders is paramount for our success” said Margaret Rarieya Head of the NBCC Secretariat.
With a mission to limit the spread of infections by improving hygiene practices and contribute to protecting lives and livelihoods across Kenya NBCC brought to the table different partners with different backgrounds, expertise and know-how; delivering much needed intervention synergies and employment for the youth through the power of collaboration in a fluid and uncertain environment.
In her parting shot, Maggie closed by quoting the Ubuntu saying “ I am because we are”, a reflection of our motto at the NBCC where we firmly believe that it is our coming together that enables our impact to be felt.