An Appraisal of Youth Enterprise Development Fund: challenges and policy options
Kurgat, Bridgit Chepkoech
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The Kenyan government like most developing countries has put in place various initiatives that aimed at addressing youth unemployment one of them being the Youth Enterprise Development Fund. The overall goal of the Youth Enterprise Development Fund is to expand the window of opportunities for Kenyan youth to get involved in the growth of the country by encouraging them to be job creators rather than job seekers through providing easy and affordable loans and business development support services to those expanding their enterprises. Youth unemployment rate in Kenya is estimated to be at 18.47 % with 7 million Kenyans entering the job market annually. Further, 9 out of every 10 unemployed Kenyans are below 35 years and the majority are between the age group of 20-24 years. The review aimed to assess the impact of active labour market policies adopted by the government to curb unemployment with specific emphasis on Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF). The specific objectives of the study were; to review Youth Enterprise Framework & identify gaps and emerging issues, identify factors that have undermined the success of youth funds in creating opportunities for the youth and to suggest measures of enhancing effectiveness of youth fund by drawing lessons from other country experiences. The data used cross-sectional and descriptive design and is qualitative in nature. The study population was Youth Enterprise Fund. Purposive sampling was used for key informant interviews. Data collection was conducted by document analysis and Key Informant Interviews of YEDF beneficiaries and staff. Data was transcribed, coded and put in themes, patterns and relationships drawn out. Data evaluation was carried out by scanning data for recurrent words and phrases and contrasting findings from interviews conducted and document analysis with findings from literature review and discussing similarities and differences. The study identified gaps and emerging issues emanating from external and internal factors of the fund’s framework, challenges in the implementation of the fund’s mandate and suggested policy design options based on other country experiences. As a result, the study proposes investment of comprehensive business development support programs, establishment of an effective monitoring and evaluation system and coordination with other government agencies.