On Friday morning, I visited Kito International here in Nairobi. I met with Wiclif Otieno, the co-founder of Kito International, and visited their office in the Kawangware community of Nairobi. Over the course of several hours, we talked at length about microfranchising, marketing ideas, Kito International, and life for youths in Kenya. Kito International is a relatively young organization focused on providing guidance and education to today’s street youth in Nairobi, who will be tomorrow’s up and coming entrepreneurs. Their focus is not on microfinance like many organizations we cover here on myKRO.org, but rather on microfranchising (more on microfranchising at Wikipedia). The 7 youths in their program spend half of every day working fulfilling orders for paper bags (photo below) and the other half of their day receiving training on topics such as banking and entrepreneurship. The average order size is 1,000 bags and it takes Kito 7 days to fulfill an order that size. At the end of each month, the teenagers receive a stipend that is enough to cover housing and food for the month, which keeps them off the streets and increasing their knowledge base as they grow. Microfranchising provides Kito a means to help the teenagers earn money without the personal risks and stress that would be inflicted on the youths if they took out their own loans from a microfinance institution.

I found both Wiclif and Joshua, another Kito employee who arrived later during my visit from a meeting with Accendo (their partner on the new lights they are about to start selling), extremely passionate about Kito’s mission — which is exactly what I like to see from those tackling today’s problems. The more passionate someone is, the more likely they are to succeed in my mind.

Below are a few photos from my visit:

WiClif and me outside Kito’s office

Here’s a photo with me and the 7 youths in Kito’s pilot program.

Here is a photo of the bags they currently sell, along with the new Accendo lights they are just about to begin to offer to residents of their community.

For those that want to learn more about Kito International, check out their website and their Tumblr Blog.

Also, before I wrap this up, I have to thank Maria Springer (Kito’s other co-founder based in Los Angeles) for connecting me with Wiclif and Joshua.

For those with experience with microfranchising, please leave your comments below regarding how you’ve seen it used — either successfully or unsuccessfully.

About Drew Meyers

Drew Meyers is a travel addict and founder of Horizon. Social entrepreneurship & microfinance advocate.