“Be Inspired, Own Your Future” Kefeta Youth Festival
Kefeta—’to elevate’ in Amharic—is creating a network of support and opportunity to empower young people in Ethiopia to build a safe, peaceful, and prosperous future.
In a two-day ‘Be Inspired, Own Your Future’ youth festival held in the Addis Ababa Millenium Hall, Amref Health Africa in Ethiopia with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and with partners including the Ministry of Women and Social Affairs and Addis Ababa City Administration brought together more than 20,000 attendees to celebrate, connect, inspire, and empower Ethiopian Youth.
Check out The Youth Festival 2023 highlights here
More than 20,000 young Ethiopians travelled to participate in the "Be Inspired, Own Your Future" youth festival. Festival activities included a job fair for youth employment opportunities, a forum for positive, intercultural understanding, and civil society support initiatives for youth development.
During the festival Amref hosted a variety of interactive sessions designed to spark change in the lives of Ethiopian youth. Activities ranged from amplifying the voices of young people who are leading powerful change initiatives in their communities; promoting youth-led businesses and connecting them with successful business leaders; providing skills-building training camps on technology, business, communications, and well-being; to engaging young people in a meaningful peace forum, arts and culture, sports, and games to inspire creativity and innovation. The festival created a platform for youth to learn innovatively, to be celebrated and to network with policymakers, entrepreneurs, and other young people working to create positive change at the grassroots.
The Youth Festival is part of the five-year USAID Integrated Youth Activity - Kefeta launched in March 2022 to ‘elevate’ two million youth in 18 cities by building their agency and capacity for advocacy, linking them to economic opportunities, and improving their access to youth friendly services. The programme is led by Amref Health Africa and a consortium of 19 leading local and international partners with funding from USAID.
Kefeta is a five-year youth development programme in Ethiopia that is positioning young Ethiopians to lead their country to a peaceful and prosperous future. Kefeta – which means ‘to elevate’ in Ethiopia’s Amharic language – is creating a nation-wide network of supportive services that empower young Ethiopians to build a new era of opportunity in their country.
There are some tough challenges facing Ethiopia’s urban youth. Over 2.5 million are out of school, 25% are unemployed and 24% of girls experience some form of physical abuse. With nearly 67% of the country’s urban population under the age of 29, and 40% of the country as a whole below the age of 15, Ethiopia is poised for a significant youth bulge. This can be a demographic dividend, if the right support and opportunities are there for young people to help them stay in school, get into work, and prepare themselves for leadership.
Through Kefeta, over the next five years, we’ll be working with two million of Ethiopia’s youth to amplify their voices and role in community development to address the growing unemployment gap that youth face. We are building and remodelling youth centres in 18 Ethiopian cities, creating safe spaces which feature everything from youth-friendly health services, along with counselling and gender-based violence support, to adult literacy classes, and incubation support for youth entrepreneurs. We will support young people to gain improved access to health, education, economic and civic opportunities.
Bethlehem signed up for life skills training given at the youth hub. “I could feel from the onset that what Kefeta brings us is hope,” she says. “It empowers us to have our voices heard. I have met many young people from all walks of life, from different fields of studies and experiences. We learn from one another. I am already excited by what I see here at the youth hub training centre.” The trainings available cover aspects of communication, entrepreneurship, career counselling, and coalition building.
The transformative power of young people
Ethiopian youth are ready for change; and we know that investing in youth development is one of the most powerful ways to restore hope and ignite change—led by this generation.
We work in partnership with young people to ensure the Kefeta programme is co-created with them, that they are implementing and making programme decisions and leading aspects of the programme. This way, they create the change that they want to see.
Young people in Ethiopia are a force for change, they want their voices to be heard, their contribution to be valued and realised, and treated equally. We’re listening!
Hear more about how Kefeta does this from the Amref Ethiopia team, in a recent discussion with supporters from the UK and US.
Give a gift today
Help Amref reach more young people with improved access to health, education, and economic opportunities:
- £80 could cover a youth centre's utility bills for one month
- £133 could provide adult literacy skills training to one young person
- £2,000 could train a Health Service Provider at a youth centre in sexual and gender-based violence
Images (c) Amref Health Africa in Ethiopia 2023