A Visit by Our Grassroots Champions

In a concerted effort to drive youth employment, the DTC 4 Youth Jobs Creation initiative has been rolled out across ten counties in Kenya: Busia, Siaya, Taita Taveta, Elgeyo Marakwet, Meru, Homabay, Machakos, Makueni, Tharaka Nithi, and Kitui. To ensure the seamless implementation of this transformative project, Africa Harvest Biotech Foundation International (Africa Harvest) appointed County Implementing Officers (CIOs) to oversee operations at the County level. These dedicated individuals are tasked with a range of responsibilities, including training Trainers of Trainers (ToTs), data collection, target achievement, and logistical coordination.

From January 29th to February 2nd, 2024, Africa Harvest convened a gathering of the ten CIOs in Nairobi for a comprehensive review and training session. Among those present were Charles Onalo, Monica Zighe, Nicholas Muendo, Frederick Mutie, Patrick N. Mutuku, Winnie Ogutu, Emmanuel Kipsang, Hillary Odhiambo, Simon Mbae, and Mercy Inyingi, representing their respective counties.

The event commenced with a warm welcome from Africa Harvest’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Florence Wambugu, who reiterated the organization’s commitment to eradicating poverty, hunger, and malnutrition in Africa. Dr. Wambugu emphasized the importance of supporting youth employment along the agricultural value chain and encouraged the CIOs to reach out with any concerns they may encounter.

Damaris Kagwiria, the project coordinator for DTC 4 Youth Jobs Creation, provided an overview of the project’s targets for the upcoming years and highlighted its achievements thus far, including the successful onboarding of farmers onto cohorts one and two.

The CIOs then shared updates on the project’s progress in their respective counties, addressing challenges and showcasing innovative solutions. “It has been an exciting journey working with Africa Harvest in the DTC 4 Youth Jobs Creation project, which has catalyzed my desire to empower the young people and women in the community through the commercialization of farming. The Siaya Grain Youth Group has adopted innovative value-addition techniques by extracting sorghum brown color to produce food color.” Hillary Odhiambo, County Implementing Officer for Siaya County said in his introductory remarks.

Winnie Ogutu from Homa Bay County stated that her community recognizes her as the ‘lady of hope’ because of her work. She further explained that many of the young people she works with had lost hope in life as a result of Kenya’s soaring unemployment rate, but after they joined the project, they found countless job opportunities in agriculture where they could make money and live good lives.

Discussions also centered around shifting mindsets among young individuals Nicholas Muendo from Makueni County and Fredrick Mutie from Kitui County highlighted that the training sessions had effectively instigated a shift in the mindset and behavior of young individuals, encouraging them to embrace enterprise-related farming that involves drought-tolerant technologies.

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