Agenda Africa was founded in the year 2004 by a group of youths who used to meet in the slums of Korogocho to play cards and enjoy stories together as Mabesters (which means ‘friends’ in a local language). We met almost daily in the mornings and evenings, but some of us could even spend the whole day together. The meetings were very important to us, considering that employment was at an all time low and there were virtually no jobs for the poor majority. Illiteracy was another issue, since education was far out of reach for most of us.
The social consequences of these problems were early pregnancy, early marriage, spread of HIV/AIDS, and social ignorance that allowed the local leaders to exploit us. Poor governance, erosion of human dignity and rights, poverty and drug abuse came hand in hand with a growing crime rate and increasing violence. Thugs were roaming the streets, and even under-aged women and the elderly were in constant fear of being raped or mugged.
In April 2004, a group of youths coming from diverse socio-economic, political, and religious backgrounds decided that something had to be changed, and began to sit down to discuss the problems together. We agreed that instead of hurting each other, we had to focus on mutual empowerment. After this, the level of respect within all of the community started to raise and acts of violence dwindled drastically. Every meeting had an agenda now, and this would be the basis for our name. People started to call our first meetings ‘Agenda’, since it seemed that all of our meetings seemed to have extensive Agenda’s to address all the problems our community was facing.
When we started approaching the Kenyan authorities it was hard to found an ear willing to listen. We had no legal platform we could use to raise awareness for our problems, which resulted in our people deciding to pick our own representatives to realise ideals. We started to be resolute in addressing problems in every area. Since these problems were not merely existent in Kenya alone but appeared to be very typical in Africa as a whole, we decided to continue under the name Agenda Africa, mainly to stress the continental character of everything we were and are still standing for.
Our first project was ‘wacha noma’, which is Swahili for ‘stop violence’. We approached youths and made them interact with each other through education, dance, music, poetry writing, or discussion groups. Bonding our community, youths now stopped resolving to violence resulting in a much safer community. The positive feedback we received from everyone in the community and the noticeable changes all around us both strengthened and motivated us to reach out to other aspects of daily life and later even to other communities as well, resulting in the motivated, versatile, and efficient team that makes up the Agenda Africa of today.
The main objectives of the organization are:
- Poverty reduction;
- Human rights;
- Research, analysis and advocacy for non-violence and equitable development;
- Healthy living;
- Good governance;
- Disaster mitigation;
- Civic education.
Registration and mandate
The organisation is registered as a Civil Society Organisation under the Kenyan Societies Act, registration certificate number 26500. It is mandated to engage in not-for-profit social and community development activities in Kenya.
- Respect for diversity;
- Transparency and accountability;
“A just society in which human dignity is upheld and sustainable developed”.
“To empower children and youth to think critically and creatively, make informed choices in the changing world for self-development and become protagonists for upholding human dignity and sustainable development through awareness raising; counseling; development initiatives/support; collaboration; and, research, analysis and advocacy.”