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Education and Youth

Speeches Shim

Two Kenyan boys read together while sharing a book.
Kenya’s focus on high-quality education is improving the futures of primary school students across the country. Children who excel in reading have a better chance of succeeding and contributing to the prosperity of the country.


As the responsibility for leadership passes to the next generation, Africa’s future and its global competitiveness will be driven by academically gifted and entrepreneurial young people empowered to lead. USAID is providing state-of-the-art education to millions of Kenyan children, expanding educational and employment opportunities for young adults, and preparing a new generation of young African leaders with the skills and mindset to transform the region and the continent.

Program Areas

Early-Grade Reading

Reading is a fundamental skill that lays the foundation for all future learning. USAID partners with the Ministry of Education to implement the Tusome Early Grade Reading program in every public primary school and over 1,500 low-cost private schools across Kenya. Tusome (“Let’s Read” in Kiswahili) has trained 70,000 teachers and dramatically improved the reading skills of over six million learners throughout the country. 

Through Tusome, teachers and learners are utilizing over 26 million new Tusome textbooks and learning materials, enabling every child to have their own book. Tusome utilizes an electronic monitoring and evaluation system to provide real-time data and instructional feedback to teachers and administrators throughout the country to help adjust programming approaches. The technical interventions and methodologies of Tusome are producing a new generation of Kenyan children reading at higher levels of fluency and comprehension.

Access to education

Extensive public private partnerships drive the USAID Global Give Back Circle (GGBC). The program empowers high achieving yet impoverished students to continue their education and realize their potential through scholarships, training, and mentoring. To date, GGBC has provided college and university scholarships to 1,000 young women and 28 young men who all commit to giving back to their communities.

Youth employment

Lack of access to education and job skills are barriers for youth. USAID’s youth programs target key growth sectors and develop skills that boost competitiveness for the job market. Generation Kenya, a youth workforce development program, teams up with employers to identify skills gaps in target industries and customize job training programs for young people.

To date, nearly every Generation graduate has secured employment in their target industry, thus meeting the needs of both unemployed youth and the emerging job market. The Kenya Youth Employment and Skills (K-YES) program brings together public and private sector leaders to solve Kenya’s youth employment challenges, spur economic growth, and embed results at the county level.  K-YES connects young people with market-relevant training that translates into jobs.

Youth leadership

The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) supports young people to drive growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa.  There are three YALI programs in Kenya and East Africa:

  1. The Mandela Washington Fellowship provides skills and support for young African leaders through training and coursework at 40 U.S. universities. YALI leadership training has enabled thousands of young Africans to make a difference and lead a new generation back in their home countries.
  2. The Regional Leadership Center for East Africa in Nairobi, Kenya has trained thousands of young leaders from 14 East and Central African countries in business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership, and public management.
  3. The YALI Network with 500,000 members continent-wide, provides online courses and a forum to equip young leaders with 21st century skills to transform their communities. 

Overview: Education and Youth

Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored and Safe (DREAMS)

Generation Kenya

Global Give Back Circle (GGBC)

Kenya Youth and Employment Skills Program (K-YES)

Tusome Early Grade Reading

Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI)