Challenge Fund for Youth Employment (CFYE) Call for Solutions in Kenya.


Application Deadline: March 7th 2021

CFYE wants to co-invest in innovative private sector-led initiatives that provide businesses with access to suitably skilled personnel and help them to increase their employment of youth between the ages of 16-35. 

The Challenge

For sustainable economic development that has the potential to transform the lives of Kenyan households, there is a need for higher productivity jobs with higher levels of value addition – therefore resulting in higher GDP per capita. This requires a three-dimensional shift:

  • A shift to more productive sectors that create more value for the economy, for example from primary agriculture to the use of technology in farming: investing more in value chains, food processing, manufacturing, and construction.
  • Developing more productive sub-sectors with specific services and products that help other (sub)sectors perform better, for example, business development services and technological innovations.
  • A shift from lower productivity self-employment to (semi-)formal employment in productive firms.

Call for Solutions

Our research has shown us that despite a wide range of challenges to youth employment, there is clear potential for young women and men to find decent employment. We have formulated two specific windows that focus on two sub-sectors: Digital Business Development Services and Green Jobs. CFYE wants to co-invest in innovative private sector-led initiatives that provide businesses with access to suitably skilled personnel and help them to increase their employment of youth between the ages of 16-35.

We have selected the two thematic focus-areas based on our labour demand assessment, which in turn considered 1) observed unmet labour demand, 2) match to youth’s need and interests, 3) opportunity for cross-sectoral flexibility with one skillset, and 4) potential for high productivity jobs with negative environmental or social impact.

Eligibility Criteria

The following general criteria for eligible proposals apply:

  • Employment type: Initiatives in both the informal and formal sectors are eligible. However, they should focus on wage employment or semi-employment (working with agents or other semi- self-employed positions as part of a company’s business model). Fully independent self-employment without a matching mechanism with confirmed off-takers of products or services is not eligible.
  • Business Development stage: We are looking for readily tested concepts ready for scaling up or scaling out (meaning already scaled up but ready to diversify). Idea stage ideas are not eligible. Lead applicants need to have been in active business for at least 2 years.
  • Lead applicant: Both companies and NGOs are eligible as lead applicants, but there should be a business in the consortium (with confirmed labour demand) if an NGO is the lead applicant.
  • Minimum number of jobs: The minimum number of jobs that need to be created, improved, or matched is 500, although we hope to receive proposals with higher numbers due to the focus on agency style business models.
  • Decency of work: Basic requirements include an average monthly income at living wage level (at least Sh 23,400 depending on location), no more than 48 hours/week of work and jobs are maintained for at least 6 months.
  • Thematic focus: Eligible projects need to focus on one of two windows: Digital Business Development Services or Scaling up Green Jobs.

CFYE’s Call for Solutions in Kenya has officially opened! You can access our call-document here.

  1. Please fill in our eligibility check to download the Concept Note template that will allow you to submit your project idea.
  2. We will share a link to the digital submission option in the coming weeks.
  3. We request all interested applicants to prepare their idea in the Word-document in preparation of the digital submission. We use this method because the digital application form cannot be saved and has to be submitted in one go.

The deadline for the submission of your project idea will be March 7, 18.00 Kenyan time. We subsequently need up to 6 weeks for evaluation. We will then select approximately 15 project ideas to develop a more in-depth Business Case.

Please read the requirements and guidance in the template thoroughly and do consult our Frequently Asked Questions-section on the website if you have a question. If you cannot find the answer to your question there, please contact us at [email protected]. More background to this Call for Solutions can be found on the CFYE Kenya page on our website.

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the Challenge Fund for Youth Employment


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