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Youth Development in Kenya: The Children and Youth Empowerment Centre and Zawadi Ecovillage

Project Investigator: Mr. Brad Olson

A mere two generations ago the very idea of a class of homeless children – children without stable and supportive social connections – would, to most African communities, have been difficult to comprehend. Yet today such children are accepted as a normal, if undesirable, feature of African society.  Through an interdisciplinary collaboration between the Kenyan Children and Youth Empowerment Centre, the UNESCO Chair, and Penn State faculty and students are addressing some of the most challenging issues in youth development.  In response to these challenges, the partners are establishing a system of Zawadi EcoVillages in Kenya to facilitate the successful exit of vulnerable youth from rehabilitation centers.  This phase of the program assists young people graduating from the CYEC to become independent and self-reliant even when immediate employment is not available.