Youth leaders in front of an Amref car with signs protesting gender based violence.

Kefeta: Elevating Ethiopian Youth

In an exciting and unprecedented partnership with USAID, Amref has created the Kefeta (meaning “to elevate” in Amharic) program. Through Kefeta, we will be working hand-in-hand over the next five years with two million of Ethiopia’s youth to amplify their voices and their role in community development, in order to address the growing unemployment gap across the country that youth face.

In Ethiopia, 67% of the urban population is under 29 years old. The potential of these young people must be harnessed to achieve the country’s ambitions to lift its citizens out of poverty and become a lower-middle-income country by 2025. Currently, Ethiopia has an unemployment rate of 22%.

To aid in this, Kefeta aims to build strong and sustainable networks of youth-led and youth service organizations that will provide a comprehensive range of integrated services.

Platforms will include:

Youth Hubs:

  • 26 city hubs to be managed by youth coalitions, housed in existing youth centers
  • Providing a range of integrated and comprehensive services including Kefeta’s assets and agency trainings, and career and entrepreneurship services

Youth-Friendly Health Services:

  • We will improve access to quality, comprehensive, respectful, youth-friendly, and gender-sensitive health services: sexual and reproductive health, including STIs, menstrual hygiene management, sanitation, hygiene and nutrition, substance abuse, and family planning counseling, psycho-social support, and sexual and gender-based violence support

Student Career Development Centers in partnership with Higher-Education Institutions (HEIs):

  • Establish/transform physical and virtual career service centers at HEIs to provide capacity building for center staff, provide ongoing work readiness assistance, coaching, and
    exchange forums to students
  • Use career centers for access points to life skills trainings
  • Create/support functional linkages for internship/fellowship/mentorship programs

Youth Financial Services:

  • We will create a Youth Savings and Credit Cooperative; engaging youth in the design and implementation process
  • Devise attractive loan packages for the target audiences
  • Ensure young women and other disadvantaged young people are equally given financial opportunity
  • Include entrepreneurship training, coaching, and linkages with mentors with experience in business

In addition to the above, with $10 million in funding from USAID, we will be creating a Youth Empowerment Fund, to finance youth-led and youth-serving organizations and entrepreneurs
through seed grants, matching grants, and through the creation of a Youth SACCO for low-interest loans.

The Kefeta program will provide life-changing opportunities by connecting youth to services that meet their unique needs. Working in partnership, youths will be the co-creators, implementers, decision-makers, and leaders of the program, and not merely program recipients. By building the capacity of young people and youth-serving organizations, we can expand opportunities for millions across the country – transforming their futures and with that, the future of Ethiopia.