We are the organization that accompany youth all the way to a brighter future!

Our work

Zelmerlöw & Björkman Foundation empowers youth in parts of Africa from one of isolation and poverty to employment and independence. This happens through education and entrepreneurship. Our vision is a world where all children and youth feel a sense of hope and have the opportunity to develop their talents and self-motivations with the purpose to determine their own future. 

Since 2013 we have financed education projects in various regions of Africa thanks to our generous donors and partners. These projects include:
– Educational projects in South Africa, together with Star for Life.
– A day center for street boys in Uganda, together with Children of Ssuubi.
– Project for a school in Ethiopia.

However, and above all, after several years of close collaboration with Global Relations and Isaach Macharia, we can proudly present the Kenswed model in Ngong Hills, Kenya.


The Kenswed-model is based on the fact that to ensure vulnerable youth transition out of poverty it is not enough to only provide an academic education to support them discovering their personal drive – it also requires other elements such as a creative environment, good health and access to basic personal needs. It is important for ZBF to reach the most vulnerable youth in areas where we operate. We therefore focus in particular on girls and young women who frequently are not only the most vulnerable but are also those with the most potential for a positive change that will also affect their families and communities. The Kenswed-model is led by local partners, which is a prerequisite to achieving long-term results, and consists of the Kenswed Academy high school, a boarding school for girls to ensure their participation in school, a dining hall, a well for water to provide students and their nearby families with fresh water, sports, creative activities, scholarships for higher education and the health- and maternity clinic Kenswed Hospital. The next step in the Kenswed-model is to build a vocational school in order to offer more students a post-secondary education. A vocational school provides practical learning that easier leads to employment. ZBF has initiated the construction of the school with the goal of opening by 2021.

Our activities as part of the Kenswed-model

Kenswed Academy

Kenswed Academy in Ngong, outside Nairobi, Kenya, is the high school and education system for the most vulnerable youth in the area that we finance and manage together with local partners.

Kenswed higher education

It is often not enough to only offer students at Kenswed Academy an upper secondary education in order for them to transition out of poverty. This is one of the reasons ZBF also finances a scholarship program providing students the financial standing to study at the university.

Kenswed boarding school

When we created the Kenswed-model we realized that many youth, especially girls, had problems getting to school since they either lived far away or had difficult situations at home. As a result, in 2017 we built a boarding school that then provided room and board to 135 girls.

Kenswed Hospital

Our health and maternity clinic, Kenswed Hospital, was completed in June 2019. The clinic is financed by ZBF, together with our partner organizations Lööf Foundation and Rejlers AB, and is an asset to the Kenswed Community.

Kenswed Vocational Education Center

The next step for Zelmerlöw & Björkman Foundation is to build The Kenswed Vocational Education Center during 2020 in order to offer more students a post-secondary education in the form of various practical education programs that lead to more job opportunities directly after graduation.

Kenswed in numbers

  • Kenswed currently has 376 students, of which 229 are girls. 
  • Kenswed boarding school provides room and board to 185 girls.
  • Kenswed provides housing to about 92 boys in a residence near the school in order for them to attend school. 
  • 61 students with a degree from Kenswed Academy receive a full scholarship from ZBF for university, college or vocational education.
  • All Kenswed students have graduated with passing grades.
  • 79 students are enrolled at Kenswed vocational school, of which 59 are girls.
  • Kenswed Hospital, our maternity, confinement and healthcare centre, has seen over 100 child births and a total of 13 079 patients since it opened in 2019.
  • In total, Kenswed has 56 local employees, of which 3 are volunteers.

” The impact already realized in the few years of Kenswed existence has been phenomenal, many children have changed their lives and that of their families. Education has a trickling effect; you educate one and the whole community benefits.”

Isaac Macharia, Operations manager, Kenswed

Costs Kenswed*

300 SEK = monthly cost for a female student at the boarding school, including breakfast, dinner, accommodations, hygiene items and safety measures.

700 SEK = monthly cost for one student to attend Kenswed Academy, including teachers, instructions, classrooms, equipment, electricity, sports, safety measures, creative activities and water. 

950 SEK = daily cost of breakfast and lunch for all 300 students.

1000 SEK = monthly cost for one female student to attend Kenswed Academy, including room and board.

14 000 SEK
= annual cost for a university scholarship for one student, including social support.

70 000 SEK = monthly operating cost for Kenswed Hospital, including staff salaries, medicines, water and sanitary material.

300 000 SEK = annual operating cost for one class at Kenswed Academy, including teachers, classrooms, equipment and materials and water.

*All costs are exclusive of fund raising expenses and administrative costs.

Other activities financed by ZBF


For several years we have collaborated with Kenenisa Bekele, the Ethiopian world champion runner, and our partner Global Relations to open a school in Ethiopia. All the necessary permits have been secured in order for us to start a school according to the Kenswed-model.


Our partner in Uganda is Children of Ssuubi, founded in 2015 by Shadi Shafiee, a social worker from Sweden who manages the organization together with a team in Uganda and Sweden.

ZBF, the UN’s Global Goals and Sustainability

ZBF works to apply a sustainable perspective in all of our activities, which is achieved by following the UN’s global goals, most importantly goal #4: Quality Education. A sustainable mindset is important to us when we invest in new community services. For example, we have built our own water well and we use biogas-powered stoves as well as solar panels. We have also started our own apiculture to replace sugar in tea. Further, we join forces with local partners, for example by hiring local builders, which in turn generates jobs in the school and in our surrounding operations.

Click here to read more about how ZBF works with the UN’S global goals and sustainability.