Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Egerton University to boost rural youth empowerment and decent employment opportunities in Kenya through the Jobs Open to the Youth (JOY) Project
Mr. Fred Iga Luganda from Uganda and a Consultant-PROCASUR Corporation making a presentation to the physical and online audience during the Official Launch of the JOY Project
Egerton University to boost rural youth empowerment and decent employment opportunities in Kenya through the Jobs Open to the Youth (JOY) Project

Egerton University to boost rural youth empowerment and decent employment opportunities in Kenya through the Jobs Open to the Youth (JOY) Project

On 14th-15th September 2021, the Jobs Open to the Youth (JOY) Project was launched at Egerton University’s CoELIB Centre attracting over 200 participants both physically and on online streaming platforms. The Project will boost rural youth empowerment and decent employment opportunities in Kenya and Cameroon. 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 participants included representatives from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), PROCASUR, International Labour Organization, USTADI (Kenya), AGRO-PME Foundation (Cameroon), Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), Ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Co-operatives, County Governments of Nakuru, Kilifi and Kakamega, proposed satellite hubs, Kenya Bureau of Standards, Kenya Dairy Board, Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), Micro Entreprises Support Programme Trust (MESPT), Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), Technical and Vocational Training Institutions, Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Project (KCSAP), National Agricultural and Rural Inclusive Growth Project (NARIGP), Agricultural Sector Development Support Programme (ASDSP), youth groups and non-governmental organisations and entrepreneurial youths from Nakuru, Kilifi and Kakamega Counties. A similar launch was held in Cameroon on 16th and 17th September 2021.

The 3-year Project is a USD ($) 2.5M IFAD Grant with USD ($) 0.205M in co-funding. It is implemented by PROCASUR in alliance with the International Labour Organization, USTADI (Kenya) and AGRO-PME Foundation (Cameroon). In Kenya, Egerton University’s CoELIB Centre is the Principal Hub 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 agri-business. CoELIB will also serve as the Satellite Hub for Nakuru County.  CoELIB is a multi-purpose Centre with a focus on empowering youth through social and economic opportunities. The centre has a long history of global practical training, content development, dissemination, consultancy, and support to businesses.  CoELIB harnesses the capabilities of youth into a sustainable form that can contribute to the well-being of the youth and the society for inclusive socio-economic development. CoELIB fosters youth prospects through designing and implementing activities that are co-led, co-owned, and co-managed with youth.

The three hubs at Egerton University, Pwani University and Shamberere Technical Training Institute 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

This 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. This Project anticipates creating 2000 additional jobs through enterprise development opportunities, connecting 875 youth to wage employment opportunities and onboarding 375 youths to enterprise development opportunities.

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

“Historically, the economy of this country has been predominantly agriculture. And, if we must turn around the economy of the country, then we must 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”.

On the institutional capacity of CoELIB to carry out its mandate as the Principal and Satellite Hub of the JOY Project, Prof. Alexander K. Kahi Director, CoELIB and who will lead the implementation of the Project at Egerton University said:

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 linking them with financial institutions. Using that model, we have several 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

 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.

This Project, will 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.

Participants following a presentation during the Official Launch of the JOY Project

Copyright © 2022 Egerton University
"Transforming Lives through Quality Education"