First Lady Margaret Kenyatta today joined several leading African philanthropists who have partnered under the African Philanthropy Forum to provide strategic giving with the aim of fostering shared prosperity on the continent.

During the forum, also attended by Youth Affairs CS Prof Margaret Kobia, representatives of philanthropic institutions expressed optimism that increased investments in new technologies will expand and provide new platforms for African youth to improve their livelihoods.

Speaking at the event, CS Kobia said the Kenya is committed to creating better opportunities for its youth through the ongoing reforms in the education sector.

She said the government is currently revamping and equipping Technical and Vocational Education and Training Institutions (TVET’s) with the aim of equipping the youth with competencies needed for the job market.

Prof Kobia challenged philanthropists to come out and partner with the government in offering technical and vocational skills training in the Big 4 Agenda focus areas of housing, food security, manufacturing and universal healthcare.

“Philanthropists and civil societies should cut their niche and decide which area of the Big4 they will support,” Prof Kobia said in  the forum that included Ms Nyokabi Kenyatta of Kenyatta Trust. 

Ms Kenyatta said her outfit, which has footprints in all the 47 counties in Kenya, helps the needy by creating a conducive and enabling environment that facilitates learning for young people from vulnerable backgrounds. 

She said Kenyatta Trust counts on beneficiaries of their philanthropy to offer voluntary community service as a way of giving back to society. 

Audience at the Strathmore Business School

“We play our part by bringing the youth to acquire skills and by providing access to quality education, through mentorship and community service. 

“We are trying to create a solution that is more comprehensive than just paying fees to the school by ensuring that we are also involved in the lives of these children,” Ms Kenyatta.

Ford Foundation Regional Director for East Africa Maurice Makoloo said there is need for philanthropic institutions to establish partnerships and create synergies for them to have sustainable impact on their beneficiaries.

“I want to encourage us as Kenyans to learn to really trust a little bit more. Civil society should trust that government means well. And that government can actually trust that civil society is a critical partner in these things and that private sector can trust philanthropy is part of delivery,” Mr Makoloo said. 

On his part, chief executive officer of the Chandaria Group Darshan Chandaria said corporates should consider taking philanthropy as a core business. 

Mr Chandaria said philanthropy helps organizations to remain relevant in the modern economic environment.

Dr. Beth Waweru who is the Associate Director of Education and Leadership Development at the Equity Group Foundation said since inception, her organization has sponsored a total of 16,168 needy students through its partnership with the MasterCard Foundation and other partners. 

She said the success of the Equity Group Foundation is largely as a result of involving communities in selecting beneficiaries of their scholarship programme.

In his closing remarks, the founder and chairman of the African Philanthropy Forum (APF) Gbenga Oyebode called for more partnerships in philanthropic activities saying as Africa’s population continues to grow, there’s need for all stakeholders to be more innovative in utilising technology to create opportunities for the youth.