Empowering Dreams: Nordic Capital & Mansah Africa’s Collaborative Journey in Kakuma Refugee Camp

In a world where digital skills open doors to opportunities, the reality for youth in Kakuma Refugee camp is a unique challenge. With the rising cost of living and fierce competition, Kenyan youth are carving paths beyond traditional offices, turning to online jobs and entrepreneurship.

However, for refugee youth in Kakuma, options are limited by context. There aren’t many chances or modern skills and livelihood training opportunities to prepare them for remote work or freelancing.

It’s like trying to grow in a desert without water. They’re missing out on opportunities that youth in many parts of the world take for granted.

Where is Kakuma anyway?

Nestled between Kakuma Town and Kalobeyei Town lies a unique area known as Kakuma-Kalobeyei. It’s a place that has grappled with significant challenges, particularly in terms of infrastructure and economic prospects.

Consider the Kakuma Refugee Camp and Kalobeyei Settlement, which collectively house a population of over 300,000 refugees originating from diverse countries. These individuals have been residing here for an extended period, some even surpassing 25 years; that’s a quarter-century!

In the backdrop of this, conflicts are erupting in several parts of Africa, including neighboring South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. This unfortunate reality is leading to a growing number of refugees seeking shelter, and the resources to accommodate them are becoming increasingly stretched thin.

Amidst this complex scenario, the youth bear the brunt of these challenges the most. They constitute the majority of the population within the camp.

Imagine a landscape where hope and opportunities are sparse commodities. With the region’s limited resources, the few existing opportunities are fiercely competitive. As a result, many of these young individuals, brimming with untapped talent and creativity, are facing an uphill battle to secure even the most basic prospects.

The prevailing circumstances have led to a disheartening situation, where the potential of these young minds is stifled by circumstances beyond their control.

Enter Mansah Africa

Enter Mansah Africa, a visionary force founded in 2020 by a group of driven students supported by professionals. Its aim is to 1) improve entrepreneurial skills among youth 2) increase awareness of issues related to sustainability both in Nordics and Africa 3) connect sustainability initiatives between Nordics and Africa and 4) innovate new transformative, lean and effective methods for development.

Over 1,500 volunteers have contributed over 3 years for this movement to shape, and today Mansah Africa has shifted its focus on creating even more qualitative and collaborative projects that can be scaled to new heights and create even more (and well documented) positive impact. Mansah Africa breaks barriers in having methodologies in projects that embraces collaboration with for-profit companies in a mutually beneficial ways; which shapes examples that other development agencies can benchmark.

The organization brings young people together, empowers them, and fosters collaboration to address local and global challenges and does it by surpassing best benchmarks in the domains of entrepreneurship, education, and entertainment.

Mansah Africa’s approach is founded on the principles of mindset, connection, action, and transformation. By uniting young individuals from two continents, the organization creates an unstoppable stream of actions aimed at the change and transformation they wish to see in the world.

youth in Kakuma refugee camp gathered in a group learning 3d modelling in a classroom

The Creative Gateway program is a testament to this commitment.

Last year, Mansah Africa embarked on a groundbreaking mission to revolutionize entrepreneurship for young people in Kakuma, which led to the inception of the Creative Gateway initiative.

This first-of-its-kind livelihood program equips the youth in Kakuma Refugee Camp with crucial digital skills, opening doors to a world of opportunities they’ve longed for.

But that’s not all.

The uniqueness of the Creative Gateway lies in its comprehensive approach. It’s not just about equipping the youth with vital digital skills like 3D modeling, it’s about opening doors they never knew existed.

This program bridges the gap between learning and real-world opportunity, connecting the learners to a world of employment possibilities in the Nordics. Through the Creative Gateway, the goal is clear: empower 80-90% of graduating youth with lasting professions, lifting them from the confines of the camp. This is groundbreaking, since past ‘livelihood’ projects never tracked how it affected employment at all. Since they didn’t.

It’s not just skill-building; it’s the lifeline that Kakuma’s youth have been desperately seeking.

a young man in Kakuma refugee camp learning 3d modelling in the creative Gateway  Program by Ambitious Africa

Mansah Africa’s Kakuma Container Hub Initiative is in the works too!

Mansah Africa is also in the process of constructing a transformative hub for learners. Utilizing unused resources like shipping containers, Mansah is creating a space where the trained youth can unleash their potential, access remote work opportunities, and thrive in the future of work!

concrete, sand and construction supplies for the Creative Gateway Program's container hub in Kakuma refugee camp

This hub will be more than just a physical space; it will be a lifeline for Kakuma’s talented youth who’ve longed for access to resources that can turn their dreams into reality. 

Imagine comfortable seating, reliable WiFi, good laptops-and even air conditioning to shield them from Kakuma’s heat – a true oasis for learning and growth.

This heartwarming interview showcases Rahma Napeyok, whose journey mirrors the dreams of countless youth in Kakuma. Rahma’s quest for 3D skills, for a chance at empowerment, led her to the Creative Gateway program.


Her words echo the challenges of limited resources—particularly the scarcity of laptops for practice—shedding light on the critical need for support. And now, with help from Nordic Capital, things are changing. She is already embracing the fact that she will be a freelancer soon.

Investing in Impact: Nordic Capital Boosts Ambitious Africa’s Impact

Partnering with purpose, Nordic Capital has joined hands with AMansah Africa to amplify the impact of the Creative Gateway program. As a leader in investment, Nordic Capital not only understands the power of collaboration but also champions it.

By providing laptops to the Creative Gateway program, Nordic Capital is bridging the digital divide and enabling these ambitious minds to truly flourish.

As the journey unfolds, the impact of Nordic Capital’s contribution is already tangible, reshaping the prospects of Kakuma’s youth.

In the midst of the Kakuma Refugee Camp’s challenges lies a unique truth: the reality that many who arrive at this haven do not leave. This fact underscores the immense importance of initiatives like Mansah Africa’s Creative Gateway program.

With limited opportunities beyond the camp’s confines, the youth here face a daunting prospect of stagnation. The partnership between Mansah Africa and Nordic Capital takes on even greater significance as it offers a lifeline of hope and transformation, crafting pathways for these young individuals to break free from the cycle of limited prospects and build a future brimming with potential.

And this is just the beginning. While the program is still in its early stages, the path ahead is filled with promise and potential.

Mansah Africa is determined to make this program a resounding success, not just for Kakuma, but as a beacon of hope for refugee youth everywhere. The potential to replicate this impactful initiative in other regions, extending reach to help even more refugees, is a vision Nordic Capital eagerly embraces.

Together, we’re crafting a narrative of resilience, innovation, and boundless opportunity in a world where digital skills unlock doors to greatness!

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