Diversification and 'Hustling': Youth Livelihood Strategies in the Rangelands of Southern Kenya
The separations between formal and informal sector jobs, and between social and economic spheres of life are not clear-cut for youth in southern Kenya. In Kajiado County, the trend of diversifying income sources beyond livestock husbandry has been well documented. However, the strategies of young people, and rural youths’ lives in general, remain understudied. Notably, youth livelihood strategies mix securing social position through the maintenance of reciprocity networks with having multiple income generating activities and investments. Savings and investment groups, micro-lending groups, and church associations are examples of oft-cited youth activities that bolster both social and economic security. Many youth describe their current employment status as 'hustling': combining many insecure and small-scale income-generating activities into a living. In this talk, which presents preliminary findings from doctoral research carried out from 2014-2015, I ask what we can learn about social and institutional change in southern Kenya by looking at the ways in which youth seek to secure their futures. Livelihoods are compared between regions, genders and youth with different education levels, with the aim of identifying patterns of diversification in contemporary ‘Maasailand’. In Kajiado County, as elsewhere, youth aspirations and strategies reveal larger societal changes at work.
Date: Friday, April 7th, 2017
Time: 12:30 pm
Location: Peterson Hall, 3460 McTavish Street, Room 116
Refreshments will be served.