Partner since 2011


Investment to date: $334,000


Students in 2016: 280


Cumulative Students: 423


Global Education Fund worked with local leaders to develop a new program in Kenya in 2007.  Based on local inputs, it was decided to focus on a leadership and scholarship program for urban youth living in Nairobi, in the slum communities of Embakasi.  In 2012, GEF institutionalized this work by creating an independent entity – Global Education Fund Kenya (GEF Kenya) – with its own local board and governance structure. Since then, GEF Kenya has continued to operate a competitive scholarship, leadership, and mentoring initiative, called the Young Leaders program, for girls and boys who otherwise would be unable to enroll in and finish secondary school.  IN 2013, GEF Kenya created a database of past and present Young Leaders to enable ongoing monitoring and tracking of the youth as part of its broader monitoring and evaluation system.

GEF Kenya is overseen by a local Board of Trustees of well-respected Kenyan women and men and is led by a local Kenyan Executive Director.  In 2014, GEF Kenya took stock of its experiences, including seeking feedback and ideas from parents, young leader alumni, teachers and other local stakeholders. The result is a new strategy for GEF Kenya that builds on the lessons from the past. GEF Kenya continues to provide scholarship support for a smaller group of promising youth and engage them in leadership and entrepreneurship training. It is also now piloting a new young leaders program to reach many more youth through after school clubs. Alumni from the program have been trained to serve as peer mentors and co-facilitators of the clubs, and collaboration with other local youth focused experts and organizations such as Ashoka are being strengthened.

Over the long term, GEF Kenya intends to help create a youth system that will in turn identify leadership potential, develop, and deploy a cohort of next generation leaders of character and competence, who are able to innovate around effecting positive change in their respective communities and contribute towards promoting social transformation and economic growth in Kenya.


  1. Provide secondary scholarships and social emotional support to increase access, perseverance, and achievement in secondary education among vulnerable youth from the Embakasi district of Nairobi.
  2. Provide a coherent and relevant skills-building program to develop and nurture character and enhanced capacity for leadership and enterprise for selected vulnerable youth from Embakasi
  3. Provide service learning opportunities, enterprise education, career and job readiness training's to aid in the transition post secondary for youth in Embakasi.


  1. Increased access, retention and achievement for secondary education for 20+ Young Leaders Scholars in the original program.
  2. Increased access to revised young leaders curriculum with after school clubs in 7 secondary schools reaching over 240 students (55% girls)
  3. Provide transitional support for at least 20 young leader program alumni, through job readiness training, enterprise education and development, and through volunteer service and learning opportunities, including serving as peer mentors for secondary students in young leaders after school clubs


 GEF established GEF-Kenya and has continued to invest in GEF Kenya because of our interest in identifying solutions for ensuring disadvantaged youth can stay in school and have access to needed learning opportunities.  The Young Leaders program, which operates outside school hours and/or through residential camps, assists them in their academic success but importantly enables them to gain other critical skills and competencies in areas such as social-emotional development, communication, entrepreneurship and personal care and development (including reproductive health and HIV/AIDS awareness).  More recently, we have been working with the GEF Kenya Board and staff on their own future development and sustainability. 


GEF Kenya has supported 140 high school students, all participating in leadership training offered during school holidays and weekends. In 2016, there are 22 young leaders in the original program (50% girls) and over 240 students in the young leaders' after school clubs (55% girls).

Despite significant barriers to their success, GEF Kenya scholars continue to achieve at higher levels than their peers locally and nationally.  The original Young Leaders Program has seen a 100% graduation rate in participating scholars.



GEF funding helped to establish and support GEF Kenya and has continued to support GEF Kenya in the first years since it became an independent, registered Trust in Kenya in 2011.




GEF staff and Board members have provided advice and feedback over the years, most recently regarding the after school club pilot, their monitoring and evaluation system and planning for local fundraising.


GEF has worked with GEF Kenya board and staff to identify new local Board members, and has linked GEF Kenya to another GEF partner, PACEmaker. This has opened up opportunities for recent GEF Kenya graduates to participate in the PACE Fellows program.

“We learned a lot about leadership – to stand out, how to have something, and to stand out from others. We are very privileged to continue to be part of this program”
— Ruben, GEF-Kenya Alumni