Tap Africa

A teens-focused initiative that aims to raise a generation of young people, who are alive to the challenges affecting their communities and are eager to create sustainable solutions. Through our work, we engage teens in learning and addressing some of these social challenges, thereby planting the seed of change-making in them. We believe young people are important agents of change, whose potential must be tapped now.

Tap Africa briefing

In Gladys Muthara’s Ndaba village, there was a very brilliant girl named Nyawira. Her brilliance in school and all things life amazed many who interacted with her, including Gladys. However, abject poverty dealt a blow to her pursuit for education, forced her to drop out of school at the tender age of 10, and relocate to Nairobi, where she worked as a baby-sitter. When Gladys learnt about Nyawira’s fate, she was heartbroken, this would have been her a few years back. One night she was unable to sleep as thoughts about Nyawira flooded her young mind. Then, she got a strong desire to create a platform that would bring young people together, to discuss and address some of the very pressing social issues, which threatened to derail their own empowerment. Right there, that night, Teen Action Program was born, to empower young people, 13-19 years, to be agents of change in their own lives and communities. Gladys was 24.

Foundation

In 2015 Teen Action Program was started in Mathare’s M. C. O Mixed Secondary School. With support from World Youth Alliance, Africa, Gladys and her friends organized 200 teens in focus-group- discussions to identify and deliberate on pressing social issues affecting them and their communities, which given an opportunity they could organize themselves to address. The Teens selected five key issues; Lack of Sanitary Pads for girls at M.C.O mixed secondary school, Lack of Toilets in the slum, Career choice guidance, Higher Education opportunities awareness, and Inspiration & Motivation to overcome the tough daily challenges in the informal settlement of Mathare.

Discovery

Various meetings were held to research and discuss these issues. Then, teens brainstormed creative ways to address these challenges. It was very inspiring to see young people, teens, who are mostly ignored in decision-making in our African societies, taking charge and doing something, albeit small, to address some of these issues. Imagine, young girls and boys, working and walking together, knocking on doors of well-wishers to raise hundreds of sanitary pads and donate to their fellow sisters in school!

This was definitely a confirmation that, indeed, young people were aware of various social issues, and could coordinate and organize themselves to address them, in their own little ways. With proper capacity development, engagement, and mentorship, they could even do better. We badly wanted to give the power to young people. We wanted to plant the seed of social change-making in as many as possible, and watch it sprout. A platform to identify & dissect pressing social issues affecting young people, gain knowledge & skills to address the issues, and receive mentoring & facilitation to implement solutions, was BORN!

Transformation

By 2016, Teen Action Program had attracted a great team, who decided to transform the program into a fully-fledged initiative, with various programs: Teens in Action Program, Life-Skills Training Program, and Career Choice Guidance & Mentorship Program. And then, TAP Africa was re-born, with a goal to “tap” the potential of young people (13-19yrs) in Africa, by giving them an opportunity to lead positive change in their communities.