The Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A. (AKF USA) has partnered with the U.S. Agency for International Development on a $6 million, four-year program called the Yetu Initiative (Yetu). This program empowers Kenyan civil society organizations (CSOs) to help communities tackle challenges that they deem most pressing. “Yetu” means “Ours” in Kiswahili, and this project aims to empower Kenyans through local CSOs to give voice to their concerns, and support solutions with their contributions. By supporting local partners to contribute to community-driven priorities, the initiative builds local ownership and support for CSOs, enabling them to become sustainable.

The Yetu Initiative is the first country-level project of AKF USA’s community philanthropy initiative, which supports the Global Alliance for Community Philanthropy (GACP). The Alliance helps funders, practitioners and advocates better understand community philanthropy by providing a platform to exchange best practices and different approaches. Yetu contributes lessons to this platform, providing an opportunity to learn about how to build assets, capacity, and trust from the Kenyan context, where the Foundation has invested in local organizations for decades.

Creating Sustainable Community Philanthropy in Kenya

Yetu works with Kenyan CSOs to strengthen these critical inputs. It creates community engagement efforts, such as fundraising or awareness-raising campaigns, connects CSOs with an online capacity building platform and mentoring opportunities, and develops online and mobile philanthropy platforms for Kenyans to donate to Kenyan CSOs. Additionally, $1 million dollars of support to the initiative will be sourced from private donations, strengthening the Initiative’s focus on local solutions.

Sustainability is a core aspect of Yetu and it is integrated throughout the program. To further enhance sustainability, AKF USA helps connect Kenyan CSOs with Kenya’s private sector. By providing in-kind support, organizational capacity mentoring, and even hosting of philanthropy platforms, the private sector will be fully integrated into the Initiative, providing a foundation for development that can be harnessed and expanded by Kenyan communities and CSOs.

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