PCSE Seed Grants in Action: Report #3 from YAF Kenya

Each year, the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship awards $5,000 seed grants to fund the launch or early-stage growth of a project, program, or venture. YAF Kenya (formerly Accessible and Affordable Sanitation for Women) run by Sydney Ochieng ’22 and Ziyaan Virji (Aga Khan Academy Mombasa), was one of this year’s winners. This is their third report since receiving funding from the PCSE in March 2019.Read their other reports here and here.


With the launching our the YAF Kenya pilot program at the beginning of summer, we have gone through a lot of model transformations. Having drawn inspiration from the YAF Ghana model we have borrowed a lot from their successful ideas such as talent identification for the program that we did during the summer. During this fall, we were focused on rethinking and coming up with not only a financially sustainable plan but also looking at making the program run smoothly given the fact that as coordinators we will not be always on the ground working.

One major challenge we experienced was a lot of collaborators such as tutors would end up taking other roles and putting aside the project at hand. This was mainly because a lot of them despite having good intentions for the community still needed to make a living and earn some money. With this, we realized that we could not run solely on well-wishers and needed to have some sort of compensation to keep our partners involved. After much deliberation we decided to hire services of professional college prep tutors that will help mainly with the subject test preparation. It is also important to note that by us partnering with this college prep organization they were able to offer us their services for a much lower price than usual.

Another challenge we came across was trying to build a scholarship center that we would use for our program. Earlier on in the fall, we purchased laptops and books and was looking to rent a place to use as our center where students came to work from. However, we realized that trying to house and provide utilities such as electricity as water would have us spending more money on this than the actual college readiness preparation. Thus, we settled on having the selected students have 2 monthly, 4 hour-long sessions at the college prep center. With this, they have access to the internet and guidance of the tutors meaning all our resources are devoted to college readiness.

With all these changes we have made, we are now very confident that moving into the new year we will be able to start working with the first YAF Kenya cohort. The program will officially begin running at the beginning of February as the students just cleared their national exams and now are devoted to furthering their education. YAF Kenya also was selected to participate in this year’s Clinton Global Initiative, where we will further look to receive more guidance, develop relationships, and partnerships to help YAF Kenya. We are excited for our first cohort coming in and to effect the new changes.