Jobs Open to the Youth (JOY) Project: Boosting rural youth empowerment and decent employment opportunities in Kenya and Cameroon

On 14th-15th September 2021, the Jobs Open to the Youth (JOY) Project was launched at CoLEIB Centre attracting over 200 participants both physically and on online streaming platforms.

The Project, which is implemented by PROCASUR in alliance with the International Labour Organization (ILO), USTADI (Kenya) and AGRO-PME (Cameroon), will boost rural youth empowerment through decent employment opportunities in Kenya and Cameroon. In Kenya, this will be attained through the provision of innovative financial and non-financial services through Integrated Agribusiness Hubs in Nakuru, Kakamega, and Kilifi Counties.

The 3-year Project appreciates the challenges that inhibit access to innovative financial and non-financial services by youth in Kenya and Cameroon. These challenges include youth unemployment, limited access to resources, lack of knowledge and technical skills by youth and service providers, and the negative perception of agriculture as an unattractive venture by the youth.

CoELIB is the Principal Hub in Kenya and will empower and strengthen the capacity of Satellite Hubs in Kilifi County at Pwani University and Kakamega County at Shamberere Technical Training Institute on areas of business modelling, research, and development to empower 3,000 youth in the area of agri-business. CoELIB also serves as the Satellite Hub for Nakuru County.

Targets in numbers:

  • 2000 - additional jobs created through enterprise development opportunities
  • 875 - youth connected to wage employment opportunities
  • 375 - youth onboarded to enterprise development opportunities

Together, the three hubs will channel the knowledge to the youth through i) following an integrated approach in mentorship and coaching, ii) enlarging knowledge and talent to create and groom agribusinesses, iii) improving access to improved and innovative agricultural technologies, iv) engaging in youth-to-youth technology transfer, v) strengthening young agri-entrepreneurs nutrition awareness, vi) providing shared facilities and equipment for co-working, vii) contributing to rural enterprise diversification and job creation, viii) investing in shaping an enhanced rural institutions environment, and ix) championing the shift to Non-Conventional Renewable Energies.

During his interview with Mr. Caleb Koyo – Presenter at CoELIB Radio, the CEO of USTADI, George Mazuri had this to say:

“Historically, the economy of this country has been predominantly agriculture. And, if we have to turn around the economy of the country, then we have to go agriculture. The population of youth in Kenya is high and most of the youth have not been involved in agriculture and we believe that if we have to make meaningful progress, then we have to look at ways and means of integrating the youth in the agricultural value-chains.

There has been a lot of negative perception regarding agriculture by the youth to an extent that it has not been attractive. The environment where agriculture is done is not conducive for the youth. And the youth, of course, have a lot of challenges from lack of assets, collateral for loans, land, and lack of knowledge and skills to engage in agricultural businesses.

In this project, we are trying to see how we can bring back the youth to mainstream agriculture using innovative means that can be attractive to the youth, especially given the fact that youth are techno-savvy. We believe that if technology is embraced in agriculture, it can also bring back the youth to participate”.

On the institutional capacity of CoELIB to carry out its mandate as the Principal Hub of the JOY Project:

“At CoELIB, we believe that training is very important based on the experiences we have had. As we speak, we have incubated over 60 start-ups. Our model involves spending money to train them and link them with financial institutions. Using that model, we have a number of start-ups that are now graduating to become very big companies. We believe that we have a lot of knowledge. We simply build on the existing knowledge and capacity with innovation and business-oriented actions in mind. We are doing this not only for the livestock and agricultural sectors. We are doing this for the different sectors, ranging from the health sector to design and fashion. Our aim here is simply to empower the youth. At CoELIB, the core of activity and design implementation are co-led, co-owned, and co-managed with youth” ¬- Prof. Alexander K. Kahi Director, CoELIB

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