Our Theory of Change

UNYA Kenya’s theory of change underpins our 2018-22 strategy. It explains the change we want to bring about, how we believe we can most effectively contribute to and bring about that change, and the assumptions this thinking is based on. We also believe that inclusivity while essential and acknowledged in policy, remain marginal and unrealized in existing practices.  UNYA Kenya also recognizes that change happens gradually; that it does not take place in vacuum nor is it always in one direction or positive. Our approach to the theory of change requires reflecting and addressing the following in our daily work.

Networking and leveraging our connections to elevate and influence policy

Synergy and connectivity between UNYA Kenya’s partners can help establish national movements and collaborative efforts, which bring about changes in social attitude and policies and have impact on the ground.  Through its national work, UNYA Kenya is helping to make the connections and generate collaboration in an organic and self-sustaining manner. UNYA Kenya applies the same principle to its international work with the international community, the media and of course civil society. UNYA Kenya does not want to duplicate or compete with other like-minded organizations; rather, UNYA Kenya believes it is critical to coordinate (despite the inevitable challenges) and raise a unified voice and message.  


Innovation and pushing the boundaries of Youth discourse and practice

While UNYA Kenya builds and leverages existing capacities and knowledge, it also pushes the boundaries by tackling new and emerging youth issues, and provides alternative perspectives on existing issues. In 2013, for example, UNYA Kenya’s case study on the impact of youth radicalization at the Kenya coast prompted others  – notably Muslims for Human Rights to view youth violent extremism as a human rights issue. In 2014, UNYA Kenya's work on criteria for inclusion of civil society in peace processes helped shift the debate and practice from a question of ‘why civil society’ to a more practical question of ‘which civil society and how to include them’. UNYA Kenya is leading a move from theory to practice on youth, peace, and security.  Similarly, since 2013 UNYA Kenya’s work on violent extremism through a gender lens has generated great interest and opened new opportunities to shift the conversation and collaborate.


Not being limited by the tyranny of ‘OR’; we strive towards the genius of ‘AND’

UNYA Kenya’s vision and values, its staffing, volunteers, operations and activities all have the principle of connectivity at their very core.  To be effective, UNYA Kenya needs to be realistic, pragmatic, optimistic and creative at the same time. While rooted firmly in its core values and vision, UNYA Kenya is also agile and flexible and willing to seize opportunities to further our vision.  We aim to consolidate existing gains and push forward towards genuine equality and peace.  We believe that it is essential to work all stakeholders, policy makers and activists alike, ensuring that regardless of their situation, they have trust in UNYA Kenya’s guidance and support.

“Building clocks, not just telling time.”

To achieve our goals, UNYA Kenya cannot work alone. UNYA Kenya needs others to join in the process and does not wish to be gatekeepers or ‘time tellers’ only, rather UNYA Kenya wants its counterparts nationally, regionally and internationally to have the knowledge and capacity needed to do the work themselves.  As such, UNYA Kenya produces the information and make it publically available.  UNYA Kenya is willing to tackle cutting-edge and sensitive issues to promote wider and deeper awareness and increase receptivity and action.

Using words and taking action

Change only comes through action. UNYA Kenya is dedicated to enabling the activities of our regional and national partners while also acting in the international space itself.  The Association firmly believes that words, information and analysis are integral to prompting action. UNYA Kenya is therefore committed to producing the policy briefs to the highest standards of excellence and objectivity.