A small number of Kenyan youth participate in the agricultural sector, and they struggle to find viable opportunities outside of production. Other value-chain actors do not promote off-farm activities that would drive greater youth engagement in the agricultural value chain.
Making Cents International improved the engagement of Kenyan youth in the agriculture sector by strengthening the ability of business development service providers, agronomists, and farmer group organizers to reach out to youth and provide youth-centric services. Our activities were informed by our analysis of three value chains—sweet potatoes, passion fruit, and market vegetables—and our identification of constraints and opportunities within each for youth engagement. We identified entry points in off-farm, post-harvest activities that are of greatest interest to youth, such as grading, sorting, packaging, and transportation.
We also conducted a needs assessment of local firms, associations, and other key players in the targeted value chains, identifying in-demand skills that enhance youth employability and their startup of successful enterprises. Concurrently, we investigated the capacity of local training institutions to provide market-driven education and training.
Findings guided our adaptation of our entrepreneurship and business management curriculum, titled Chanuka, Jiinue na Biashara—Wise Up, Lift Yourself with Business™. We trained 35 staff from 19 local organizations to deliver this adaptation, which centers on financial literacy, entrepreneurship, business skills, and life skills for rural youth.