Raise The Radio: Creating Youth Entrepreneurs in Kenya

Raise The Radio: Creating Youth Entrepreneurs in Kenya

  • by Architecture for Humanity
  • Mar 28, 2010
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The Mukuru Kwa Njenga youth technology resource center, designed for Slums Information Development Resource Center (SIDAREC) will give local residents access to the internet, computer and technology training, health clinic services, early childhood development programs and a community theater.

As part of the centers' long term economic sustainability program the center has a community bakery and a radio station, media lab and recording studio. The youth run radio station, Ghetto 99.9 FM, broadcasts to more than 650,000 local residents, giving a voice to the community.

During the planning phase for the new center, a fire destroyed SIDAREC’s previous radio tower and studio. The team modified the overall plan to include a completely new studio and launched an incremental “Raise the Radio” fund-raising campaign to ensure the entire community center opens as scheduled. Currently we are 80% funded to complete the project and we hope to complete funding before we finish major construction

“In Mukuru slums, all the ingredients that work in unison to perpetuate poverty are present. Unemployment amongst women and youth is predictably high, inaccessibility to quality education, drug abuse, high prevalence of disease, especially STIs and HIV/AIDS, are some of the challenges characterizing this community,” said George Onyango, project administrator, SIDAREC. “This has created a state of hopelessness where the community lacks motivation to improve the standard of living. This upcoming project will address some of these challenges by providing a platform for information dissemination, access to technology and opportunities, thereby increasing employment for youth and women. It will open opportunities for young people to explore their talents and enhance skill for sustainable development.”

SIDAREC, the project’s community partner, is a Nairobi youth development organization whose mission is to help community members access greater economic and social opportunities. This new community center expands and strengthens the organization’s current community service.

“Being here today at the site, the excitement and hope in Mukuru residents is palpable, and the opportunities the community center will provide have an added urgency ,” said Dan Shine, president of the 50x15 Foundation. “Internet and computer training provide skills for local residents to educate themselves and qualify for good jobs. Access to life services like healthcare information, education, financial services, job hunting and communication, empower Mukuru individuals, families, and the community at large to improve their lives and living conditions.”

The 50x15 Foundation’s mission is to accelerating worldwide digital inclusion rates to 50 percent by 2015. It focuses on seven key areas of development to advance its mission through its partner program -- power, connectivity, devices, financing, content, expertise – as well as structural design. Pre-planning for technology in structural design in integral to the sustainability and efficiency of a project.

Architecture for Humanity has managed the design and construction process of the new SIDAREC community center and hosted the 2007 AMD Open Architecture Challenge where SIDAREC submitted the winning community project proposal and the Global Studio of Seattle, Wash., created the winning concept design. Our design fellow Isaac Mugumbule led the local team through the design process and is continuing through project completion.