Youth empowerment through sports infrastructure and talent development in Nairobi City County


According to a 2019 survey carried out by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, the youth contribute to 42.8% of 4.397 million of the population in Nairobi County. The large population of youth in the city has led to high competition for the available but inadequate opportunities. As a result, the youth face various challenges due to unemployment and lack of income-generating opportunities, hence end up being idle and engaging in illegal activities like crime and drug and substance use.

Unemployed youths end up engaging in illegal activities because they lack a constructive way to spend their free time like participating in leisure activities. For example, the youths do not have fields to engage in various sports activities like football, volleyball and basketball. Likewise, they do not have adequate facilitation to participate in activities that can help them generate income, like engaging in league sports where they can get a monthly stipend to sustain their lives.

Although basketball is a very common sport, it has not been given the attention it requires. For instance, in many urban communities, there are both football and volleyball pitches that people can access for free. However, this is not the case with basketball, especially in informal areas. As a result, youths with basketball skills end up being disadvantaged because they do not have the facilities to sharpen their skills and also make an income from them. This called for a need to facilitate unemployed youths to spend their leisure time constructively, and also create a way for some youths to earn a monthly stipend from sports.

Response and Actions (Solution Path)

The initiative focused on the use of sports and capacity enhancement to achieve meaningful youth engagement. The County used two major strategies to engage the youth. One of them was through the development of basketball infrastructure. Despite many youths having the skills of basketball, they lacked the infrastructure to practice and enhance their abilities. For instance, there were no adequate basketball courts that the youths could easily and freely access.

The County partnered with Hennessy to construct a FIBA-standard basketball court. One court was constructed in Jericho, in Makadara Sub-county, while two other courts were constructed on Umama grounds in Komarock by different stakeholders. The construction of the three courts was to provide the youths in the targeted areas with adequate infrastructure to spend their free time.

Another strategy which was used to solve the problem was capacity enhancement of the youths. In most of the affected areas, the youth have skills, but cannot use them to make income to finance their livelihood. The County mainly targeted the basketball teams at the grassroots level. The main aim was to facilitate four basketball teams to ascend to the Street League level. This was achieved through continuous training of the teams and subjecting them to tournaments to select the best.

The top four teams were then promoted to the Street League and the subscription fee was paid by the County. This created a way for the team members to make an income from basketball, and also constructively spend their free time.

The County partnered with stakeholders to create Yakazi (, an online platform, where youths can upload their certificates to be located by employers. Linking qualified but unemployed youths with potential employers has also helped to reduce idleness and unemployment among the youths.

Relevant County:
Date of Publication:
8 February, 2023

Nairobi County

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