Our mission is to provide slum communities with access to life-improving products through a sales network of trained youth and women.


We are a not-for-profit social enterprise founded in 2011 that creates jobs for youth and women in Kenyan slums through the distribution of life-improving products.

Though we began with a line of solar lamps, our product basket has expanded to include affordable, high quality, and eco-friendly products not otherwise readily available in slums, including, but not limited to, clean-burning cookstoves, solar products, reading glasses, and household appliances.

We have grown from two staff and seven trainees in one slum community, to a team of over 20 full-time staff, managing a national network of more than 120 sales agents in over a dozen branches covering the major towns and cities in Kenya. 

LivelyHoods is registered as a 501(c)3 non-profit in the U.S., and we operate in Kenya as LivelyHoods Kenya. From 2011 to 2016, we operated under the name iSmart Kenya.

Check out our dynamic branch map to see where we are and how we’re growing.






Branch Managers

Each local branch has a branch manager, responsible for coordinating training and sales in their branch, and providing daily support to to the sales agents in their community. The majority of our branch managers started as sales agent, and live in the area they manage, giving them a personal link to the people they work with, and an intimate knowledge of the area.


Our group of experienced trainers implements the LivelyHoods curriculum across each of our branches, regularly onboarding new cohorts of trainees across the country. They travel between branches, providing theory-based training and field support to aspiring sales agents, and guiding them through their first sales.



All our sales agents are unemployed young people and women from slums who have not had the resources or academic success to pursue further education, start a business, or access the formal job market. We hire for talent and train for skills, meaning that we do not reject trainees based on academic success or experience.  

We not only train them to improve their sales skills and provide jobs, but we also provide the tools and support to fulfill newly discovered ambitions in youth who have never before had an opportunity to learn and grow.


Maureen Adhiambo

Former LivelyHoods Sales Agent, Nairobi, Kenya

“I was with LivelyHoods for two years, from the very beginning, to around two years ago. At the time I had no job, I wasn’t earning, and LivelyHoods gave me the opportunity to work. The change it brought about in me was tremendous. I gained life skills and business skills, and it really impacted my life. I was able to earn my own money and support myself by selling solar lamps and cookstoves. I also got to help in the office, and apply my skills to different tasks. I now run my own business, not too far from where I first learned how to sell with LivelyHoods. I really gained the confidence and the communications skills to convince customers and market products to the public. I’m now earning the money I need to take care of myself. I have my independence.”


Emily Munialo

Sales Agent of the Year 2015

"I really love sales. I wouldn’t want to do anything different, as I enjoy it so much, and I love setting myself targets and then surpassing them. I can sell anything, as a good sales agent you must be flexible, no product is difficult to sell. I want to help others to be the best agents they can be and make as many sales as possible. I advise them to be friendly with their customers, to create a network of people around them who will refer people who need cookstoves or solar lamps, and that way they will reach many people. With LivelyHoods I feel comfortable to be myself and I am really part of a family. I see my future with LivelyHoods, and I hope one day to start my own business, selling jiko (cookstoves). People would call me Mama Jiko! Some already call me that, as they know I’m always around, with jikos, and they know where to come and find me if they want one."

Lilian Mungai

Branch Manager Kawangware, Nairobi

“When I discovered LivelyHoods I was doing part-time classes in sales and marketing, and came across the training advert in the newspaper. I passed the interview, and became a sales agent, which I did for six months before working as a branch manager. I have now also trained other branch managers who have been promoted, like me. I first thought I couldn’t sell, but after going through the training I made the decision to at least try it out, though I had to work on my confidence. When I was able to overcome this, I was able to motivate people, help other agents in facing some of their challenges, and change people’s lives on a daily basis. I truly love working in the community, and I now have the confidence to do it. Being a part of the change at LivelyHoods and contributing to the organization’s goals, whilst also achieving my own goals, is something I’m very proud of."

Brian Gathogo

LivelyHoods Sales Agent, Kikuyu, Kiambu County

“I live in Kikuyu, Kenya, with my parents and one sister. In March 2016 I came for the LivelyHoods sales training at my local branch. Before, I would just hang around, watch movies, and not really do much. This training has made me busy, and has allowed me to get active. I’m even saving money, and I get to take part in marketing events with other sales agents, and take part in other events that LivelyHoods allows us to do.. It turns out that one of the things I really like about LivelyHoods is that I get to meet all sorts of new people, old and young, but we all work together to make sales. What else? Honestly, it helps me to stay away from bad influences in my area, like drugs or crime. I’ve learned to interact with the different types of people I meet when I’m out selling, and I’ve really built up my confidence.”








EEP Project of the Year

LivelyHoods was selected out of more than 200 projects across the region as project of the year by the Energy and Environment Partnership of Southern and East Africa, a partnership between the governments of the United Kingdom, Finland and Austria.


Pan african award for entrepreneurship in education

The Pan-African Awards for Entrepreneurship in Education celebrates organisations with an entrepreneurial, sustainable and innovative approach to education.


C3E Awards

The U.S. C3E (Clean Energy Education and Empowerment) Awards recognize mid-career women who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and accomplishments in clean energy. The awards are underwritten by MITEI, the Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy, and Texas A&M Energy Institute

Cordes Fellowships

The Cordes Fellowships gives exceptional social entrepreneurs focused on economic justice the opportunity to participate in Opportunity Collaboration in Mexico, and creates links between people and organizations to help them grow in the social entrepreneurship sector.

The Global Catalyst Award

The Global Catalyst Award is awarded to the world’s most promising early stage, market-driven ventures tackling global poverty.

Global Social Benefit InStitute Fellowship

GSBI™ empowers socially-minded entrepreneurs to build sustainable, scalable organizations that solve problems for people living in poverty around the world, having worked with over 150 entrepreneurs who have impacted the lives of more than 70 million individuals.

Mara Foundation’s Entrepreneur Fellowship

A member of the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs, the Mara Foundation’s Entrepreneur Launchpad aims to support  young businesses and entrepreneurs in Kenya and Uganda to find sustainable and replicable solutions that solve some of the biggest challenges in the Sub-Saharan African region.

StartingBloc Social Innovation Fellowship

StartingBloc selects the brightest young leaders and provides them with access to the resources they need to address the most pressing global challenges of our time. The most critical resource StartingBloc Fellows gain access to is a tight-knit community of social innovators based across the United States and the world.

Unreasonable Institute Fellowship

Annually, The Unreasonable Institute accelerates and unites 25 high-impact entrepreneurs from around the world in Boulder, CO for 6-weeks to provide world-class mentorship, access to seed capital, intensive skill training, a global network of support and international exposure. The Unreasonable Institute’s game-changing work has been featured in the New York Times, Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal, among others.

AnNual reports and publications



in the media