SHOFCO Employability Program: Helping Slum Youth to Beat Unemployment

SHOFCO Employability Program: Helping Slum Youth to Beat Unemployment
July 15, 2019 Denis Koech

For Wycliffe Okumu Oliech, growing up in the Mathare slum meant facing a scarcity of resource and the knowledge that he had not received the education or skills needed to make him competitive in the job market.  Wycliffe has always been passionate about film and photography and had unsuccessfully launched his own photography company in 2014. Realizing that he needed more skills and training to turn his passion into a successful enterprise, Wycliffe joined SHOFCO’s employability training program in 2016.

“I had formed and registered a photography company in 2014 whose operation was on and off. [Through SHOFCO] I was trained on financial literacy, record keeping and the savings skills that helped me to refocus my view on my business. It was at the training where I learnt how to differentiate between my personal money and business money.”

Wycliffe applied the business principles he learned in SHOFCO’s entrepreneurship training and started saving the money he made from his photography business. Within six months of SHOFCO’s training he was able to purchase his own camera equipment and began a marketing campaign to build his brand.

Equipped with professional equipment and a business plan, Wycliffe has begun to receive more job offers, from clients beyond Mathare. To help cope with the demand, Wycliffe has trained youth from the community to assist in executing orders from his clients. Currently, he is training and mentoring 35 youth on film making and photography.

“Sometimes I get five orders that I have to work on in a day. When I am overwhelmed, I outsource services from professionals and established companies in the film sector,” he says.

Wycliffe (2nd from right) with his colleagues during a recent field work. Photos: Wycliffe Okumu.

Wycliffe and his colleagues are now earning a stable income in a context where many youths are frustrated due to high rates of unemployment. He says that due to lack of opportunities to earn income and make their lives better, many youths are unable to support themselves and their families and turn to criminal activity.

Wycliffe currently earns between Ksh30,000 and 50,000 (US$300-500) profit from his business each month. He envisions a bright future for his business. By 2021 he plans to expand his business operations and scale to the level where he is able to take on businesses and other professional clients.



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