The LivelyHoods Mission & Vision

Our mission is to create livelihood opportunities for youth and women in urban slums so they can work their way out of poverty and actualize their potential. To achieve this, we train and hire unemployed  youth and women to sell environmentally friendly and socially transformative products in their communities.

Our vision is a world in which everyone is able to provide for themselves and their families through dignified employment. By 2018, LivelyHoods will create thousands of jobs and reach every household in every slum as Kenya’s most reliable delivery channel of clean energy products.


Overview & History

LivelyHoods is a not-for-profit social enterprise that creates jobs for youth in Kenyan slums through the distribution of life-changing products. After interviewing 278 youth about how they survive, we learned they all had sales experience with everything from mangoes to drugs. LivelyHoods employs youth at what they are good at – sales. Our sales network leverages young people’s ambition and knowledge of their community, and requires minimal education. We prepare youth for a life of financial independence and personal success.

LivelyHoods grew out of lessons learned from a 2010 microfinance project created to give youth entrepreneurial training and loans to start their own businesses. Fearing failure and debt, the pilot group expressed disinterest in taking a loan to start their own business when they had no experience or confidence in their abilities to do so. Changing course, LivelyHoods engaged the pilot group to design a solution and survey their community and find out what kind of products they needed. As a result of this cooperation, we launched the iSmart brand, under which our sales agents distribute life-changing products, starting with solar lamps. The product line has expanded to include affordable, high quality and eco-friendly products including clean-burning cookstoves and other household goods not available in slums. Today we have grown from an initial group of two staff and seven trainees to a team of fourteen managing six branches operating in the Kawangware, Kibera, Makadara, Githurai, and Mathare slums of Nairobi and the town of Limuru.