Empower – Challenge to design a skill development center for youth

Submission: January 18, 2022
Registration: January 17, 2022
Language: English
Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Prizes: $24000
Type: Open Competition


This challenge aims to create a skill development center for the youth of Kenya. Space will be focused on creating a community space that will provide the youth with a common platform to gather, work and learn together. The challenge is to create a space that will aid the process of skill learning and also function as a multifunctional space that will also act as a gathering space for social engagement of the youth under one roof.

Youth unemployment

There are almost 7,50,000 young adults in Kenya getting into the job market annually, and they form one of the highest numbers getting into the job market worldwide. But the amount of youth that secures a job is only 15 per cen%, which is creating a situation where the amount of potential is higher than the jobs available, which is resulting in social and economical imbalance.

Overall, Kenya’s youth unemployment is higher than the national unemployment average: 17.7 % of youth are unemployed, where the national rate is 7.4 %.

Further, 21 % of female youth are unemployed compared to 17 % of their male counterparts. Thus, making Kenya’s most powerful resource a weakness. During 2013, the NEET rate for youth aged 15-34 years was estimated at 29 %, meaning close to 5 million youth was not in education, employment, or training in 2015.

While this issue springs from a much deeper problem of illiteracy, education systems, overpopulation, and resources provided by the region/country, how can we tackle it through the lens of a problem solver and architect?

Empowerment, education and reform

There are a variety of reasons that are accounting for unemployment, which includes the majority being the lack of education or awareness or both in the youth. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) points out that youngsters who are not in education, employment or training, are especially at risk since they are neither improving their future employability through investments in vital skills nor gaining work experience through employment.

This problem is expected to increase and estimates that the unemployment number will reach 7 million by 2030. Various different solutions have been carried out by authorities in order to withstand this changing trend by introducing various schemes/scholarships and educational programs/activities that would help in the reformation and employment of the youth. These being temporary solutions aid in few sectors of a region. Can we provide a long-term and growing solution to this issue? How can architecture aid as a solution to this issue? What architectural interventions will aid in the betterment of this solution?

Design Objectives

Multi-functional: Design a centre that only teaches but also empowers in form of spaces and accessibility.

Context: Design to suit the contexts and help the area around the centre to make it an all-around and lively space for youth learning and development.

Collaborative: Create fluid spaces that collaborate with learning and practical experiences.

Evolve and adapt: Spaces for future needs should be considered and the centre should evolve with time.

The above objectives can be a point of beginning to conceive this design. Participants can assume their contexts and user group on the basis of their concepts and designs.

>>> Go to the competition’s website <<<