Emerging Leaders Conference 2015 to be held in Nairobi County

The World Youth Alliance- (WYA) Africa regional office will host the 6th Annual Africa Emerging leaders Conference – AELC in Partnership with the Strathmore Law School in Nairobi Kenya. The Emerging Leaders Conference – ELC is an annual event of World Youth Alliance that brings together young people, members and youth leaders to interact with leaders and policy makers on current global issues. 200 youth from different African countries will be in attendance

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Brief on World Youth Alliance: The World Youth Alliance is a global coalition of young people committed to promoting the dignity of the person and building solidarity among youth from developed and developing nations. WYA trains young people to work at the regional and international level to influence policy and culture.

Objective of the Conference:

-to educate and empower the participants on their role in shaping the continent. The conference will engage the youth and delegates in attendance to learn and gain skills and knowledge necessary to shape our continent’s future.
-The conference will also ensure that participants are assigned to mentors who they will interact with on scheduled dates and times per month over Skype or email in order to gain guidance, support and encouragement in their particular fields of expertise.

Venue: Strathmore University Auditorium

Date: 11th-13th November 2015

Entrance: Ksh 3,000

Website: http://www.wya.net/aelc

Theme: Empowering Youth to Shape Africa’s Future

Topics

The topics will be based on the themes

 Health and Education: Keys to Development
 Youth participation in Entrepreneurship and the Africa Rising Narrative
 Youth Unemployment in Africa
 Mentorship and voluntarism
 Peace and equality, Corruption and its effects, constitutional rights and The Africa Youth Charter
 Government representative: Youth Opportunities/ Youth Funds
 A motivational talk: “African Youth: Harness Your Full Potential”

Expected Outcomes:

• All participants present will learn and build their skills in the different topic areas that will be covered.
• Participants will learn from and interact with the delegates present and share ideas on ways to shape Africa’s Development Agenda.
• All the participants will be connected to mentors with whom they will interact with to ensure continued support and encouragement that will enable them reach their full potential.

Do you have a question? Send it to youthprojectskenya@gmail.com

About County Youth Projects Kenya
Do you know of any youth project being implemented in other counties in Kenya apart from your own? If the answer is No, we at County Youth Projects Kenya are focused on bridging the gap regarding lack of knowledge and awareness of youth projects being implemented by Non-Governmental Organizations, Civil Society Organizations, Private Sector, National Government, County Governments, donors and individuals. This platform also seeks to motivate youth to initiate projects in their respective communities to achieve Vision 2030.

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2015 ENTREPRENEURSHIP CONFERENCE ON VALUE BASED ENTERPRISES TO BE HELD IN EASTLANDS NAIROBI COUNTY

Obat John Paul is the Founder of Chanuka Association which is affiliated to Kenya Assemblies of God (KAG) Church Buruburu. The association aims at empowering its members through simple and practical programs, projects and initiatives. Through the Chanuka Youth Club which targets youths aged 18-35,youths are empowered with entrepreneurship skills and linked with partner financial institutions where they can access funds to develop their businesses.

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The Chanuka Youth Empowerment program targets young people who have recently completed their secondary school education and are waiting to join Universities, colleges or pursue their set careers.
The program seeks to provide:
• Career Counseling.
• Training on Communication Skills.
• Training on Leadership and Management.
• Training on Economic empowerment to sharpen the skill of this young people even as they transition to centers of higher learning.

Focus Areas: The association programs reach out to youths from Buruburu, Umoja,Jericho,Kariobangi South,Uhuru,Jerusalem,Bahati and Kiambio.

2015 Conference: This year’s conference is a follow up of last year’s event which encouraged youth to set up enterprises.For more information visit this link: https://youthcountyprojectskenya.wordpress.com/2015/10/25/2014-conference-on-entrepreneurship-held-in-in-eastlands-nairobi-county/

On 7th November 2015, Chanuka Association will host a conference whose theme is “Towards Value based enterprise” which will encourage the youth to incorporate values as they run their day to day businesses.

Objective of the 2015 Conference: To enroll young people to utilize the Personal Advancement Curriculum for Entrepreneurs (PACE).

Entrance:Free

Need: Chanuka Association carried out a study as to why small enterprises collapse. It was done in conjunction with Uwezo Fund and Youth Enterprise Development Fund. Results reveal that youths do not have entrepreneurship skills and they do not have values to start and sustain their enterprises.

value based
Product: Launch of the Personal Advancement Curriculum for Entrepreneurs (PACE).

No of Participants expected: 2,000

Topics to be discussed: Values that have sustained multinational enterprises

In attendance: Senior Deputy Secretary Ministry of Education,County Commissioner Nairobi, Embakasi West Member of Parliament

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THE WORLD YOUTH ALLIANCE (WYA) 2015 AFRICA ARTS FORUM TO BE HELD IN NAIROBI COUNTY

The World Youth Alliance (WYA) is a global coalition of young people working to promote the dignity of the person at the international and regional/ grassroots level through Education, Culture and Advocacy.

World Youth Alliance works in six regions; Africa, North America, Middle East, Asia Pacific, Europe and Latin America. The Africa Regional office is located in Karen, Nairobi.

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The Africa Arts Forum: The 2015 Africa Arts Forum will bring together African youth aged between 14 – 30, working in the field of art and youth interested in art to learn, share ideas and work together with WYA in the promotion of human dignity through art. This forum will showcase different types of art including fashion, music, spoken word, poetry, drawing arts, paintings and sculptures.

Venue: Safaricom Michael Joseph Centre, Nairobi

Date: 7th November 2015

Entrance: Free

Website: http://www.wya.net

Purpose:
World Youth Alliance believes art provides a window into the complexity, integrity, and beauty of human nature and the natural world. We believe that art is an act of love that provides a voice for what would otherwise remain hidden.

Participants: This forum will include artists, spoken word, expert speakers, art exhibitions, musical performances and presentations by the participating artists and students.

Objective: This forum will influence the youth that are talented in arts and art professionals to promote dignity in our society through art.

Theme: ‘Art and Dignity’.

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Activities:
Besides the performances and exhibitions, we will discuss about Art, Dignity and the understanding of the human life in the modern Africa which will help us to achieve the objectives of the forum. We will discuss the following;
• What is art in modern Africa?
• The understanding of human life in modern Africa
• Am I an Artist or an Art? Am I the agent of art?
• What is the relationship between art and the human person?
• What is the relationship between Art and Dignity?
• How can art be a gift of self and how is art transcendent and free?
• What vital aspect of being human does art communicate to us?

Expected Outcomes:

• We expect all participants to learn and take the role in promoting dignity of a human person through art.
• We expect our participants will have the understanding of human life and be able to use the powerful voiceless tool of expression.
• We expect our participants/artists will create the awareness for what really matters to the dignity of a human person through art.

2014 CONFERENCE ON ENTREPRENEURSHIP HELD IN IN EASTLANDS NAIROBI COUNTY

Obat John Paul is the Founder of Chanuka Association which is affiliated to Kenya Assemblies of God (KAG) Church Buruburu. The association aims at empowering its members through simple and practical programs,projects and initiatives.Through the Chanuka Youth Club which targets youths aged 18-35,youths are empowered with entrepreneurship skills and linked with partner financial institutions where they can access funds to develop their businesses.

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The Chanuka Youth Empowerment program targets young people who have recently completed their secondary school education and are waiting to join Universities, colleges or pursue their set careers.
The program seeks to provide:
• Career Counseling.
• Training on Communication Skills.
• Training on Leadership and Management.
• Training on Economic empowerment to sharpen the skill of this young people even as they transition to centers of higher learning.
Focus Areas: The association programs reach out to youths from Buruburu, Umoja,Jericho,Kariobangi South,Uhuru,Jerusalem,Bahati and Kiambio.

2014 Conference: Eastlands Youth Conference is one platform that youth from the area and beyond can effectively utilize to transform their ideas to achievable goals. This is done through interactive sessions with industry leaders who share their wealth of expertise and experience in various fields.In the year 2014,Chanuka Association hosted a conference whose theme was “Innovation youth na miradi”.
Objective of the 2014 Conference: To empower young people to venture into entrepreneurship and access business opportunities
No of Participants: 300
Topics Discussed: How to start an enterprise
Speakers:
Mr Buyema, Chief Executive Officer Uwezo Fund,Catherine Namuye,Chief Executive Officer Youth Enterprise Development Fund, Daniel Wambua,Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO) officer,Kariuki Kamau,Chief Executive Officer Eagles Management Consultants and Masai Africa,Heshan De Silver, Chief Executive Officer De Silva Group of Companies

CHANUKA ASSOCIATION 2013 CONFERENCE ON EMPOWERING YOUTHS IN EASTLANDS NAIROBI COUNTY

Obat John Paul is the Founder of Chanuka Association which is affiliated to Kenya Assemblies of God (KAG) Church Buruburu. The association aims at empowering its members through simple and practical programs,projects and initiatives.Through the Chanuka Youth Club which targets youths aged 18-35,youths are empowered with entrepreneurship skills and linked with partner financial institutions where they can access funds to develop their businesses.

The Chanuka Youth Empowerment program targets young people who have recently completed their secondary school education and are waiting to join Universities, colleges or pursue their set careers.
The program seeks to provide:
• Career Counseling.
• Training on Communication Skills.
• Training on Leadership and Management.
• Training on Economic empowerment to sharpen the skill of this young people even as they transition to centers of higher learning.

Focus Areas: The association programs reach out to youths from Buruburu, Umoja,Jericho,Kariobangi South,Uhuru,Jerusalem,Bahati and Kiambio.

2013 Conference: Eastlands Youth Conference is one platform that youth from the area and beyond can effectively utilize to transform their ideas to achievable goals. This is done through interactive sessions with industry leaders who share their wealth of expertise and experience in various fields.

In the year 2013,Chanuka Association hosted a conference whose theme was “One youth one voice brighter future”.
Objective of the 2013 Conference: Create Awareness of youth workers, youth initiatives and youth products.

No of Participants: 1,000

Topics Discussed: Drug and Alcohol abuse, Insecurity, Access to Finance

Speakers: Deputy County Commissioner Nairobi, Chair of the National Youth Council, Regional Manager of National Authority Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA), Chief Executive Officer of Edge Consult

ZUSHA+ INITIATIVE IS EMPOWERING THE YOUTH TO PARTICIPATE IN THE POLITICAL PROCESS IN MURANGA COUNTY

Source: ZUSHA+ INITIATIVE IS EMPOWERING THE YOUTH TO PARTICIPATE IN THE POLITICAL PROCESS IN MURANGA COUNTY

ZUSHA+ INITIATIVE IS EMPOWERING THE YOUTH TO PARTICIPATE IN THE POLITICAL PROCESS IN MURANGA COUNTY

Irene Mwangi is a young leader from Murang’a County. She serves as the Junior Senator representing Murang’a County at the Youth Senate of Kenya, actively involved in promoting an informed, involved and empowered youth in Murang’a County. She has academic background in field of Economics and Statistics from the University of Nairobi.
irene 2
She started an initiative in Murang’a County called Zusha+ against the back drop of absence of visionary leaders amongst existing elders and disinterest of rural youth in political processes particularly young women and young disabled people. Zusha+ is geared towards encouraging young people especially young women and young disabled people to participate in political process and raise a generation of transformative and value driven leaders in the society. The initiative engages the community in transformative political leadership and democratic governance, gender issues, constitutionalism and human rights. Zusha+ which is a Swahili word means ‘raise your voice’ has brought together more than 10,000 rural youths to understand their rights and roles they can play in governance as well as engage in creating awareness to bring about a new political culture in Murang’a County and the entire country.

In 2013 national election, Zusha+ organized “Vijana na kura” program which empowered young people to vote wisely and raise their voice in civic as well as electoral participation across Murang’a County despite facing unrelenting struggles as well as intimidation by the elders. That year, youth participation in the electoral process across Murang’a County increased significantly hence gaining popularity.

Through Zusha+ local youth led discussions on democratic processes and good leadership have taken root in different villages across Murang’a involving young women and young disabled people, who were often left out of the discussions. More importantly, through social media and sms platforms, Zusha+ is able to build solidarity, mobilize youths, share best practice and encourage youths to take their rightful part in the development and political processes of the county. This has stimulated youth interests in governance and challenged the actions of government leaders over development programs.

In addition, the initiative offers weekly mentorship sessions and training to over 2000 boys and girls from the age of 10 to 18 year-olds in rural schools across Murang’a County. The training aims to inspire the rural boys and girls to build their self confidence as well as prepares them to lead later in life so as to raise a generation of visionary and value driven leaders in the society.
Irene 1
Zusha+ acts as catalyst of change in the society. It has contributed to the youth experience in Murang’a County by motivating the rural youth to actively engage in leadership with a difference.

COUNTERING VIOLENT EXTREMISM YOUTH BLAST PRE-CONFERENCE TO BE HELD IN NAIROBI COUNTY

Michael Opondo is the Founder and President of The International Youth Action Against Terrorism (IYAAT) organization. The organization is holding a pre-conference titled “The Countering Terrorism Extremism (CVE) Youth Blast.The pre-conference is a follow-up to the ‘Regional Conference on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE)’ which was held in Nairobi (Kenya) from 25th to 27th June 2015.

Time: 8 am to 1 pm

Date: 24th October 2015

Entrance:Free

Venue: Technical University of Kenya (TUK) formerly Kenya Polytechnic.

Color Code:The Color code for the day’s event is Blue and/or White

Website:http://www.iyaat.org/

Aim of CVE Youth Blast: to build capacity of youths to effectively participate in CVE through:
-engagement in policy making and negotiation
-awareness outreach to reduce extremist appeal.

Extremist Groups: draws its members mainly from disaffected youth, unemployed high school and university graduates, and destitute children.

Need: With extremist groups seemingly gaining in strength, questions arise as to why young men join them in the first place and what the government and other actors can do to prevent it. Surveys, interviews, and focus groups conducted suggest that poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, and weak family structures make or contribute to making young men vulnerable to radicalization. Itinerant preachers capitalize on the situation by preaching an extreme version of religious teachings and conveying a narrative of the government as weak and corrupt.

Approach: The thematic buildup of the International Youth Action Against Terrorism CVE Youth Blast aims at furthering the recommendations and conclusions of the Regional CVE conference. IYAAT is working on bringing the issue of youth action in counterterrorism efforts amongst the masses. We work to Support and coordinate efforts of existing CVE related organizations and Institutions to better understand the complexity of violent extremism, including assessing the threat it poses to the globe as a whole and within specific communities. This initiative coincides with the United Nation’s Post-2015 Sustainable Development agenda aimed at Global social development, and launches the youth’s efforts into the focal project of CVE.

Confirmed Speakers:

 Mr. Lanre Dahunsi (Opportunity for Africans – Nigeria)
 Dr. Melissa Finn (Balsillie School of International Affairs – Canada)
 Mr. Lone Felix (ADDO Africa – Kenya)
 Ms. Fatma Ahmed (Albany Associates – United Kingdom);
 Mr. Emmanuel Wakana (YELI – Burundi)
 Dr. Damaris Manyange (National Counter-Terrorism Centre – Kenya).
 Hon. Ronnie Osumba of Onward (Kenya)
 Mr. Brian Mudumi of Zimbabwe Global Youth Forum (Zimbabwe)

Number of participants expected: 300

Product to be launched: The IYAAT Online Radio will be launched during the pre-conference

Support Partners:
• National Counter-Terrorism Centre – Kenya
• Kenyatta University
• Dada Power
• Albany Associates
• Onward
• Action/2015 Kenya
• Youth Edition – Kenya
• Fortitude Kenya
• Siasa Place
• Ministry of interior and Co-ordination of National Government
• 911 Grouphttp://www.iyaat.org/

ARTICLE:Together we can fight corruption

http://www.monitor.co.ke/2015/09/08/together-we-can-fight-corruption/

By Violet Mbiti

Corruption can be likened to a virus that devours its citizens to the core rendering them helpless with no hope in sight. To combat this virus an antidote is required that will restore human dignity and propel the nation to greater heights. President Obama while making his maiden speech stated that it is rather unfortunate that 250,000 jobs are lost per year due to corruption and this vice has also crept into government operations and consumes 10 per cent of the country’s annual budget.

According to a recent audit report by the Auditor-General office, sh67 billion has been spent on unauthorised commitments by various government ministries in the last financial year. Corruption not only occurs in the national government but also in the devolved government as stated by office of the Auditor-General.

Various initiatives have been rolled out including educating the citizenry about corruption as well as availing data showcasing its growth but this has not stopped this virus from spreading. It is highly unfortunate that Kenyans have adopted corruption as a culture and as a way of life.

The government through President Uhuru Kenyatta has also voiced its concern and shamed publicly government officials mentioned in the graft report by the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission. This war cannot be won if we leave President Uhuru Kenyatta, The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the International Community led by President Barrack Obama to fight the vice.

It is commendable that a taskforce has been formed at the Attorney General’s office with support from the United States Government to review the anti-corruption legislations and policies and also to offer ethics training to all public officials both in national and county governments.

It is also commendable that Kenya is planning to join the Egmont Group to track money laundering. Despite the government’s effort to fight this vice, the war cannot be won if it cannot gain support from the grassroots.

To succeed in this fight every Kenyan needs to campaign against corruption. The voice of Wanjiku is powerful and is a tool that can be used to end corruption. Do you know as a citizen that The Constitution of Kenya 2010 gives you the power to fight against this vice?

According to Article One of the Constitution all sovereign power belongs to the people of Kenya and they may exercise their sovereign power either directly or through their democratically elected representatives. As a citizen, the Constitution also gives you the power to know how public money is accounted for.

Article 35 of the Constitution states that every citizen has the right of access to information held by the state and that the state shall publish and publicise any important information affecting the nation.

This fight can only be won if Kenyans change their mindset about corruption and say NO. The government through the Executive, Parliament and Judiciary can also join in to end this disease.

This is what Singapore as a country did several years ago. The founding Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew fired corrupt officials and ensured there is transparency and accountability in every sphere of government. Singapore now has been transformed from a developing nation to a developed nation and is surpassing other developed nations with regard to providing quality care for its citizens.

The start to ending the culture of corruption in Kenya can only begin when you and I decide to be change makers who are going to voice our concerns about it whenever it occurs and when the arms of government namely executive, judiciary and parliament decide to join us in this fight.

I believe that change only starts with renewal of our attitude and when people join hands together for this noble cause.

The writer is Head of the Program Management Office at World Youth Parliament – violet.mbiti@gmail.com

ARTICLE:Together we can fight alcohol abuse for a bright future

http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/together-we-can-fight-alcohol-abuse-bright-future

BY VIOLET MBITI

Alcohol and drug abuse is the greatest threat facing the youth and the community at large in Kenya today. It has crept into our homes and affected the family unit where men and women can no longer provide for their families. Children bear the brunt of substance abuse and miss out on growing up in a family set up.

Alcohol abuse has led to closure of early childhood centres, divorce, falling enrolment in primary schools and maternity inactivity at health facilities. The situation has been compounded by the high unemployment rate, with the youth falling victim.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics states that the unemployment rate is 40 per cent, or 16 million Kenyans, with 64 per cent of them being youth.

Alcohol and drug abuse continues to cripple young people’s talents and drive and should be designated a national disaster affecting the youth. Thanks to President Uhuru Kenyatta, a crackdown on illicit brew is being carried out countrywide, but more needs to be done.

The National Campaign Against Drug Abuse is losing the fight due to graft and boardroom fights.

Gone are the days when a neighbour could discipline a wayward child because society expected them to be their brother’s and sister’s keeper.

Nacada needs to revise its programmes and target the population if long-lasting solutions are to be realised. It can start the Nyumba Kumi drug and alcohol abuse initiative by channelling more resources into it to make it active and operational.

According to a survey by the Kenya Alcohol Policy and Control Alliance, half of all alcohol and drug abusers in Kenya are aged 10-19, with 31 per cent of them aged 14-17. This calls for a radical change in which the Nyumba Kumi drug and alcohol abuse initiative starts to impact children aged 7 and above.

Nacada can structure the Nyumba Kumi drug and alcohol abuse initiative to be implemented nationwide with the support of representatives of Nyumba Kumi, chiefs, community elders, county and national governments and the private sector.

The national and county governments as well as the private sector can spearhead this fight by providing resources. Incentives and rewards will be awarded by the President annually to the county governments leading in the fight against alcohol and drug abuse.

For the Nyumba Kumi drug and alcohol abuse initiative to be effective, the members can allow officials from Nacada, local chiefs and community elders to visit them to offer prevention and awareness information. Family members in need of counselling can receive the services and addicts receive rehabilitation care offered by the government and private sector.

Not only will this intervention bring sanity to homes affected by drug and alcohol abuse, it will enable everyone to be productive members of society.

For there to be lasting change, stakeholders need to work together in harmony. For example, Nacada should first resolve the differences within its board and ensure there is transparency and efficiency in its operations. Parliament should make laws to strengthen and enforce its oversight over manufacturers of alcohol and spirits.

The judiciary can impose hefty penalties on manufacturers for every life lost through illicit brew. The Kenya Bureau of Standards should carry out frequent monitoring and evaluation of licensed firms to ensure they comply with quality standards.

The provincial administration can deal with enforcement through the county governments and residents to ensure the Nyumba Kumi drug and alcohol abuse initiative is implemented.

It is imperative that Kenya engenders a progressive culture of collectivism and a need for all stakeholders to work together to fight alcohol and drug abuse. As a result, Kenya will turn the situation around and our children will have a future to look forward to. Change starts with you and me.

The writer is head of the Programme Management Office at World Youth Parliament. violet.m.mbiti@gmail.com.

ARTICLE:Kenya should boost irrigation to create jobs

http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/kenya-should-boost-irrigation-create-jobs

BY VIOLET MBITI

Agricultural land in arid and semi-arid areas still remains underutilised yet it has the potential to improve food security, nutrition and in general Kenya’s economy. Arid and Semi-Arid Lands rely on seasonal rainfall.

ASAL remain idle for most part of the year as the crops grown by small-scale farmers are limited due to unfavourable climate. There is need to transform agriculture from small-scale and rain-fed to large-scale and irrigation-fed to ensure food production all year round.

Irrigation plays a critical role in ensuring sustainability of agribusiness projects. Irrigation can effectively help increase productivity in agriculture and enhance land use.

The Water Master Plan states that utilisation of irrigation in Kenya has been low, bearing in mind the country has an irrigation potential of 1,341,900 hectares (3,315,907 acres) but only 161,840 hectares (399,915) have been developed.

Engaging the youth in active utilisation of the land is the key ingredient to improving food security. The National Irrigation Draft Policy 2015 states that the annual growth rate of new irrigated area is less than one per cent. Drastic measures are needed to reverse this situation.

The policy states that jobs can be created through irrigation at the rate of 15 persons per acre directly and indirectly. Treasury has channelled Sh13.8 billion to ongoing irrigation projects. This is an enormous opportunity and the amount should be invested wisely.

To employ this opportunity and counter unemployment, these resources can be channelled to productive activities among the youth. The national and county governments as well as private sector can acquire Arid and Semi-Arid Lands for youth to engage in large-scale farming and maximise on economies of scale.

A programme could be structured, where the youth enter into farming agreements with the government. Land could be leased to the youth as well as supporting them with resources to encourage them to engage in agribusiness. They could get support in terms of seeds, extension services, capacity building and produce marketing.

The government could also provide the youth with training in exchange for their labour. The sales arrangement could be 50 per cent for the government and 50 per cent for those employed. This will encourage the youth to work hard. The youth could further engage in value addition of their produce namely processing, branding, quality certification and accreditation.

In this we could take an example from Egypt. Egypt has succeeded greatly in reducing the number of unemployed graduates by reclaiming desert land for them and supporting them in their agricultural ventures through irrigation. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the proportion of successfully settled graduates in Egypt rose sharply from 25 per cent to 98 per cent between 2002 and 2012.

The investment of unemployed graduates in the rehabilitated desert land led to exportation of food to Italy, United States, Germany, Switzerland and other European nations. This attracted an international food company called Heinz, which decided to partner with them by purchasing tonnes of agricultural produce. The increased income by the settled graduates led to the development of schools, health centres and improved infrastructure in the surrounding communities.

When the national and county governments as well as private sector partner with youth in irrigating Arid and Semi-Arid Lands, food security will be enhanced. Furthermore, The Agricultural Sector Development Strategy and the Second Medium Term Plan 2013-2017 will be realised. This will make Kenya a food secure and prosperous nation through diversification and commercialisation of agriculture and create jobs for unemployed youth.

The writer is the head of the Programme Management Office at World Youth Parliament. violet.m.mbiti@gmail.com.

ARTICLE:The future is certain to be bright for youth who venture into agribusiness

http://www.nation.co.ke/oped/Opinion/The-future-is-certain-to-be-bright-for-youth/-/440808/2764156/-/f8xq6a/-/index.html

By AFAF DAHIR HUSSEIN

According to the World Bank, 45 per cent of the 44.4 million Kenyan population lives below the poverty line.

The Kenya Population data sheet, 2011, shows that over 70 per cent of the population lives in the rural areas, but about 67 per cent of rural farmers do not believe that their land is adequate to take care of their needs and those of their children.

The youth experience the highest unemployment rate. These statistics point to an urgent need for reform.

Agribusiness is the key to progress for many of Kenya’s youth. If it is planned properly, it can lift thousands of youth out of poverty.

There are plenty of opportunities in agribusiness as it is expected that by 2050, the world population will be 9.3 billion and these people will need at least 50 per cent more food than is currently produced.

POLICIES

To develop appropriate policies for agribusiness that engages and encourages the youth, we need to learn from countries that have successfully embraced suitable reforms, primarily in research and development, and become agricultural powerhouses.

We are taking the right steps in this direction, particularly in light of the establishment of the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Organisation (Kalro), which is composed of semi-autonomous institutes established under the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Act of 2013.

Countries such as China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina relied on substantial and effective investment in building capacity in all aspects of agriculture, specifically technology and research development. China has more than 90,000 scientists and different structures, from national science academies to provincial centres.

The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) is made up of 42 research centres spread throughout the country. Statistics from the United States Department of Agriculture show that India in 2013 exported a record $39 billion worth of agricultural produce, a nearly 700 per cent increase from 10 years before.

India was the world’s seventh-largest exporter of agricultural products in 2013. This was the result of investment in research and development, a system that oversees more than 16,000 scientists and involves more than 90 different research institutes.

EVOLVING BUSINESS MODELS 

Demand for agribusiness leadership and management has come from an industry characterised by constantly evolving business models. Non-governmental organisations that provide training are struggling to meet the new demand for skills for the growing agribusiness sector.

The need to invest in the capacity building of research and development of this sector comes at a prime time for Kenya.

Embrapa has a great deal to teach us. Among other functions, it excels at human resource management. It runs a programme that recruits high school and university graduates as assistants and analysts respectively and researchers who are primarily PhD holders.

The participants receive the latest technological training and are encouraged to become entrepreneurs in their respective fields.

Kalro could borrow a leaf from the success of Embrapa and hire more assistants and researchers from among the youth and provide them with access to training and learning by linking them with universities. The programme could engage unemployed youth, let them work and be innovative, and connect them to universities to get training and also to develop and implement advanced technology. The programme could then link them to resources to enable them to become entrepreneurs.

If such a programme could be implemented in all the 47 counties, it would have a ripple effect and many youth would be motivated to replicate the work of their peers. Moreover, it would help to reverse the disenchantment that the youth have with agribusiness.

It is simple. For our youth to be involved in agribusiness, the appropriate agricultural policies should be in place. There should be guaranteed access to the necessary technology. There must be an expanded market for agricultural produce. The youth must have access to appropriate financing, green jobs, and land. They need access to appropriate information.

The writer is the head of economic affairs at the World Youth Parliament. afaf.h.dahir @gmail.com

Improved Cookstoves Project in Machakos County

Violet Mbiti from Wamunyu on Time Community Based Organisation (CBO) initiated the project.The members of Wamunyu on Time Community Based Organisation (CBO) are clustered into 23 groups based on sub-locations and activities.The CBO works in Wamunyu Ward,Mwala Constituency,Machakos County.

Need:The idea emanated after witnessing the harmful effects firewood smoke had on women while cooking, the deforestation taking place in Wamunyu Ward and lack of economic opportunities in the area especially for youth.Violet therefore apprached German International Cooperation (GIZ) who agreed to fund the project.Wamunyu on Time partnered with GIZ –EnDev Programme and have trained 42 members
on construction of energy saving stoves. These stoves reduce the use of firewood by a
household, while also decreasing Indoor Air Pollution – a leading cause of mortality for
children under 3 years. Each installation costs Ksh 5000 inclusive of construction materials.

Number of Artisans selected for training: 42

Start of Implementation: 31st March 2014

42 youth, women and men were imparted with skills and constructed 119 cook stoves within a week in Wamunyu Ward. Currently more than 600 improved cook stoves have been constructed at various households in Wamunyu ward and all over Machakos County.

Impact:The 42 artisans now have a source of income and they are enabling women cook in a healthy environment and deforestation has drastically reduced.

Networking:The 42 artisans are also members of the Improved Stoves Association of Kenya-Machakos County