Kenya Community Development Foundation (KCDF) – a public foundation that supports Kenyan communities to initiate and drive their development agenda recently collaborated with ZEP-RE, a leading African reinsurer, to deliver an eight-month mentorship program to a group of 291 teenage boys at Highway Secondary School in Nairobi. The program was dubbed MENTENDA (Men Taking Action). MENTENDA focused on mentoring the “now forgotten” boychild in the community in topical issues such as career development, financial literacy, confidence, conflict resolution, avoiding and battling addiction and peer pressure amongst other things.

On Graduation Day (1 April 2023) an assembly was held at the school hall to address all participating students. Certificates and memorabilia (t-shirts, notebooks, and pens) were handed out to everyone involved as appreciation for their contribution to the project and for having seen the program through.

There-after the days program proceeded with the participants cleaning the school’s environment in the spirit of community service, helping the boys nurture the spirit of care and love for their surroundings. The students cleared the bushes, cleared litter, moped the floors, unblocked drainage channels and tidied up the school grounds. The cleaning exercise aimed to foster a clean and healthy environment for the students to learn in.

ZEP-RE then presented the teaching staff of the school with 40 new chairs to address the shortage concern. The KCDF and ZEP-RE teams then collaborated with the school’s administration and students to plant trees around the school compound, aiming to promote environmental conservation and once again encourage students to take responsibility for their surroundings.

The above notwithstanding, the most significant aspect of the program was the mentorship itself. The men from ZEP-RE and KCDF, led the mentoring sessions over an 8-month period using spare time after work every Thursday. The sessions aimed to prepare the students for life outside of school and inspire them to make a positive impact on their communities as they graduate to enter Form 4. The younger students of Form 1 to Form 2 will now be looking to them as their role models.

The success of this project was highly influenced by the partnership between KCDF and ZEP-RE. The team demonstrated a shared passion for developing and empowering young men, and this collaboration served as a critical component in the success of the project. The initiative helped to improve the school environment and equipped the young men with essential life skills that will shape their futures.

KCDF and ZEP-RE are dedicated to continuing their partnership and will work together to plan more programs in the future.

We would also finally like to sincerely thank all who took on the challenge and generously volunteered their valuable time and resources towards the cause. Their unwavering commitment and dedication have not gone unnoticed, and their selfless actions have made a significant impact in the community. We thank them for their contributions and for setting a positive example for others to follow. Indeed, Men Tenda (Men Take Action).