Youths in Kibera slums carry crude weapons ready to fight youths from the rival side, Nairobi, Kenya January 2008. Three peopkle were killed as a result of the confrontation before police could calm the situation. Photo Irin News

Reining in on crime in Kenyan slums has proved to be a difficult task even for the authorities, so exactly how do you reduce the rates of crime in informal settlements without sending the unemployed youth from the informal settlements to jail?

The Kenyan Bankers Association (KBA) came up with an answer to this pressing question on October 22 when it revealed that it will be advancing interest fee loans of Ksh 500,000 to youth from Kenya’s informal settlements in Nairobi and Mombasa.

Statistics released by the National Crime and Research Centre (NCRC) in 2012 and the Security Information Research Centre (SRIC) in 2014 show that Mathare, Huruma, Kariobangi in Nairobi and Kisauni in Mombasa are Kenya’s criminal activity hotspots, rates which the bankers are now trying to reduce.

KBA has already wired the funds to the accounts of the young men and women who will now go ahead and start their own businesses after undergoing entrepreneurship training under a youth programme initiated by the bankers.

The youth are among a pool of more than 300 aspiring entrepreneurs in Nairobi and Mombasa that successfully pitched for small business loans under the YBIZNA programme, supported by KBA.

YBIZNA seeks to enable vulnerable youth to empower themselves and transform their communities through enterprise; the programme also aims to inculcate life skills in the youth through practical engagements.

READ: POLICE INSTALL 2,000 SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS TO FIGHT CITY CRIME

During a forum organized by KBA on October 22 to present the first batch of the fund’s beneficiaries, KBA CEO Dr. Habil Olaka commended the youth for opting to earn a living through business.

“Through this programme, the banking industry has managed to engage young entrepreneurs in mentorship activities, promoting them as community pillars especially in ensuring peace and leadership,’’ he added, thanking all partners for supporting the program.

Start-ups initiated by youth who have undergone the entrepreneurship training include: poultry farming, carpentry, phone repair, car wash, barber shops, pet dog rearing, mat weaving among others.

“The project has helped reduce crime, violence and improved the living standards of the young people in Mombasa and Nairobi, by training young men on management of Small and Micro Enterprises (SMEs), financial literacy and provision of business mentorship,’’ noted Kenya Community Development Foundation (KCDF) in a statement to newsrooms.

SEE ALSO: BIG BROTHER GETS BIGGER: POLICE ACQUIRE FACE RECOGNITION CAPABILITIES

YBIZNA which stands for Youth in Business project is a project implemented by KCDF in in partnership with DAYO (Mombasa) and YADEN (Nairobi).

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