The Zawadi EcoVillages act as a transition between life at the CYEC and independent living, providing support and training to youth who have recently graduated from the CYEC’s programs. Eventually, the EcoVillages will act as community training centres.
The transition from residential care and training to independent living has been a significant challenge for former street-dwelling youth in Kenya. By definition, these former street children do not have a good home to return to after completing their education. With unemployment rates approaching 40%, it is also difficult for them to find work. These conditions place them at high risk of returning to the streets.
In response to this challenge, the CYEC is establishing a system of EcoVillages in Kenya to facilitate the successful exit of vulnerable youth from the CYEC (and other Centres). When immediate employment is not available, youth who have graduated from the CYEC’s programs will move to an EcoVillage to live semi-independently.
The Zawadi Eco-Villages will be ecologically and economically sustainable communities where the youth can live and further their skills, building on the Zawadi Youth Enterprises. To aid in the transition from residential care to independent living, EcoVillage youth are provided with appropriate entrepreneurial and technical training.
The facilities of the EcoVillages (which are not yet completed) will be innovative, environmentally friendly and sustainable. The design will include:
- Low-cost earth-based building technology
- Water harvesting and management methods
- Clean and renewable energy production techniques
- Sustainable waste handling approaches
Such facilities will enable the EcoVillages to provide education and outreach training for the community regarding appropriate technologies, agricultural systems and entrepreneurship. Eventually, the EcoVillages will include agro- and eco- tourism facilities for both local and international visitors.