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Why do Kids Join Street Gangs & What we Can Do

Support our initiative to establish a rehabilitation center addressing drug abuse, depression, and street gangs in Kenya. Your donation can transform the lives of vulnerable youths, offering rehabilitation, skill development, and job opportunities, helping them break free from destructive paths and create a safer society.

About the Author

photo of Gabriel Ngoto Mwagambili

Gabriel Ngoto Mwagambili is a skilled Kenyan graphic designer, printer, and branding expert, with a background in security management and professional butchery certification. His dedication and commitment to his goals, along with his passion for writing and volunteer work with troubled youth at Freedom Voice Reports, showcase his multifaceted and hardworking nature.

Organized crime and insecurity pose significant challenges to Kenyan society, as highlighted by research conducted by the National Crime Research Centre. The study aimed to combat crime through a comprehensive analysis of organized criminal street gangs in Kenya, investigating their activities, modus operandi, command structures, and networks. Additionally, it sought to assess the public perception of these gangs and their impact on Kenyan society, particularly regarding their infiltration into public and security sectors.

The Facts on Street Gangs

The main findings of the study were: most Kenyans (55.2%) are aware of the

existence of an organized criminal gang in the area where they live or elsewhere.

Again 38.9% know the organized criminal gangs by name. However, 59.0% are too

afraid to mention the organized criminal gang by name for fear of reprisals.

Countrywide, a total 46 organized criminal gangs were identified by the public. In

terms of government commitment to fight organized crime 58.0% are of the view that

the government is not doing enough because many members of such gangs are known

to the public but they are not arrested.

There is also alleged collusion by some government officers with members of

organized criminal gangs and that police frequently release them even when there is

overwhelming evidence.

A Personal Story About Street Gangs

Beast, someone I know personally, hails from the Soweto slums in Embakasi East, Nairobi. He's a remarkable individual who defied the odds. Despite facing financial challenges that kept him out of school for four years after completing primary education, Beast's determination led him to relocate to Mombasa, where he worked alongside his uncle in a flour mill at a very young age. He secured sponsorship for his high school studies through a Catholic church and, with enthusiasm, achieved excellent results. Beast's journey continued as he entered the University of Nairobi with government assistance, hoping for a bright future upon graduation. However, the scarcity of job opportunities and a lack of connections left him disillusioned, ultimately leading him down a challenging path.

A year of unemployment and countless job applications yielded no success, plunging Beast into a deep depression. To cope, he turned to substance abuse and a life of crime. His life took a dangerous turn, involving violent activities, drug dealing, and dangerous encounters with the police.

I know this person and felt helpless watching them go down like this. , and experiencing the trials and triumphs of his life journey has profoundly changed mine, highlighting the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity.

Organized criminal gangs have penetrated both formal and informal businesses, including public transport, car wash services, motorcycle operations, rental houses, exhibition shops, and scrap metal trading. They primarily finance their activities through public extortion (34.3%), theft (19.4%), and political connections, with additional funds sourced from illicit drug trafficking, counterfeiting, armed robbery, vehicle theft, kidnappings for ransom, extortion, livestock theft, and firearms smuggling. Factors fueling these gangs include police and judicial corruption, political influence, inadequate police cooperation, difficulties in member identification, delayed police response, and fear of reporting. These gangs employ violence against their targets (confirmed by 68.3% of respondents), as well as intra-group and inter-group conflicts, often related to control and the distribution of illicit gains and profitable enterprises.


a) Idleness occasioned by lack of employment after school was and still is a

principal factor in the ease with which recruitment of new members is done. (The

main factor).

To mitigate the case of unemployment there is need to devise ways that create

employment to the youth to lower their vulnerability to join organized criminal gangs.

Other factors;

b) Peer pressure.

c) Illiteracy (lack of Knowledge).

d) Weak families and poor structure.

e) Drug/Substance abuse.

f) Overpopulation in Structural unplanned areas.

g) High Population growth.

h) Corruption.

i) Ethnicity and Political incitements.


We urgently need your support to combat drug abuse, depression, and gang violence in Kenya. By establishing a dedicated rehabilitation center, we can provide hope and transformation for countless young lives trapped in the vicious cycle of substance abuse and crime. Your donation will empower these youths with the opportunity for rehabilitation, skill development, and job placement, ultimately breaking free from these destructive paths. Together, we can reduce the prevalence of drug abuse and crime, fostering a safer and more secure society. Join us in making a lasting impact by contributing to this critical cause today.


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