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Innovate Counties Challenge: Giving a voice to marginalized Kenyan youths

United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT)

Project type Scaling 

Country Kenya 

Support £183,447

In partnership with Ericsson AB, Strathmore University, Ministry for Devolution and Planning and Akirachix
“It is evident among policy makers and practitioners that youth are a major human resource for development as well as for positive social change and technological innovation” — UN-Habitat


of Kenyan citizens rate their former local authority as performing fairly badly or very badly


of the entire Kenyan population are youth aged between 18 and 34 years old

Start date
July 2016
End date
June 2017
Period: 12 months


Kenya is home to a wide range of actors advancing different innovations, programs and ideas that encourage the use of ICT to enhance governance by and for youth. However, current efforts appear to have been limited by a lack of coordination necessary to translate them into structured, results-oriented and scalable action. In particular, there has been an absence of local government partnership in such initiatives, viewed by stakeholders as a key missing ingredient in enabling governance technology applications to have tangible impact at the community level.

Furthermore, the growing number of young urban citizens, coupled with the explosion of hand-held devices is introducing new challenges and opportunities for both local governments and youth that have not been adequately addressed. It appears that the scope of concerns crosses into new and uncharted territory as governance itself is transformed by fast-moving changes of ICT in the hands of the youth. There is a need to create bridge-building mechanisms among youth, community based organizations, county government, private sector and the local tech community in order to fulfill existing potential.


Based on the Innovation Marketplace pilot project carried out in 2015, the results showed that it is possible to link youth, local governments, the tech community and the private sector in structured activities that utilize ICT to enhance local democracy and governance for young citizens of Kenya, and create more inclusive structures for decision making and planning at the city level.

This project seeks to increase youth participation in decision-making processes at the local governance level and contribute to more transparent and accountable governance.

This will be achieved through an ICT based platform for collaboration between citizens and local authorities in selected counties and an increased capacity of local authorities and urban youth to use ICT for communication and collaboration on issues of local government and urbanization.


UN-Habitat is the United Nations programme working towards a better urban future. Its mission is to promote socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements development and the achievement of adequate shelter for all. UN-Habitat in Kenya has a long experience working in the political, social and economic sphere of the country.