students in their graduation gowns at the ceremony

Celebrating youth and women in construction


Habitat for Humanity Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter (TCIS) had the honour of attending a graduation ceremony hosted by our valued partner, The Toolkit Skills and Innovation Hub (TTI) on June 5th, 2024 in Nairobi.

It was a day filled with excitement and promise as youth from diverse backgrounds gathered to receive internationally recognized certifications in various technical skills.

Graduation ceremony in progress

With support from our donor Challenge Fund for Youth Employment (CFYE), Habitat for Humanity’s TCIS, has partnered with The Toolkit Skills and Innovation Hub, along with young innovators, TVET institutions, government agencies, and the public sector to equip youth with skills necessary for providing quality housing construction services and materials, and to offer them decent employment opportunities.

Through this partnership, we aim to impact about 650 youth by providing training and upskilling in renewable energy, plumbing, wiring, landscape architecture, and advanced welding using virtual reality technology.

Deputy Ambassador of Germany to Kenya trying out the VR welding simulator

Deputy Ambassador of Germany to Kenya trying out the VR welding simulator 

The colourful event was attended by various partners, notably the Kenya National Qualification Authority, the Deputy Speaker of the Kenya National Assembly, Gladys Shollei, the Deputy Ambassador of Germany, and our funding partner CFYE represented by Kenya country lead Beatrice Gichohi, among other market players.

Guests at the graduation

From left to right: Jane Kamphuis, Director, TTI; Dr. Alice Kande, Director, Kenya National Qualification Authority; Beatrice Gichohi, CFYE Kenya country lead; Hon. Gladys Shollei, Deputy Speaker of the Kenya National Assembly and Masua Mutua, Regional Manager, TCIS.

What was truly remarkable about this lineup of guests was that it demonstrated the importance of bringing diverse actors together in co-creating solutions to the industry’s challenges.

Beatrice Gichohi, CFYE’s Kenya Country Lead, highlighted this collaborative spirit, emphasizing that addressing youth unemployment and scaling participation for both women and youth in the construction sector requires diverse voices working together.

Beatrice gichohi speaking at the event

Beatrice Gichohi, CFYE Kenya country lead 

This sentiment was echoed by the various industry players who have partnered with TTI to open pathways to internships and job opportunities for trainees. Financial partners like CFYE have supported Habitat for Humanity in our partnership with TTI, while technology experts like Dig In Vision have introduced revolutionary tools like the Virtual Reality Welding Simulator, which has reduced training costs and time from two to three years to a remarkable three months at the institution

Government partners, such as the Kenya National Qualification Authority, ensure that both trainees and instructors receive internationally recognized certification, which opens them up to opportunities both locally and abroad.

This significant need for technical skills in Kenya and Africa was highlighted by Hon. Shollei who encouraged youth, particularly women, to take up space in the sector.

Her words were emphasized by Masua Mutua, Regional Manager HFH TCIS, who underscored the acute need for housing among these groups, especially as youth form the largest demographic in Africa. In this regard, he emphasized the importance of youth and women being active participants in championing solutions and affirmed our continued commitment to support their meaningful participation in this sector.

Masua also noted that TTI’s passion for youth and women resonates deeply with Habitat for Humanity. Their dedication to training and securing employment for the trainees was evident, as several of them graduated in absentia, having already secured jobs in the EU and locally.

Masua Mutua speaking at the ceremony

Masua Mutua, Regional Manager, TCIS

In his keynote address, H.E. the Deputy Ambassador of Germany encouraged the trainees to explore international career paths, noting Germany’s annual shortage of approximately 200,000 skilled workers. He urged them to continue upskilling and highlighted the German government’s commitment to supporting local TVET institutions to meet the evolving demands of the labor market.

The ceremony concluded with the guests reaffirming their commitments to partnering with the Institution to further opportunities in the construction sector.

As Habitat for Humanity, we were proud to witness the next generation of youth and women construction professionals take their first steps in their careers. We look forward to empowering more Kenyan youth and women, driving positive change in the construction industry, and building a brighter future for Africa.