Makueni County Governor Prof Kivutha Kibwana flanked by KCB Foundation and GIZ officials flags off buses carrying 150 Makueni youth who have been sponsored by KCB Foundation and GIZ for a three-month training on hydroponics farming technology at the Miramar International College, Kikuyu.
By Jerry Abuga
Beneficiaries will undergo vocational training in hydroponics farming technology for a period of three months at Miramar International College, Kikuyu.
KCB Foundation’s support to Kenyan youth has gone a notch higher with the flagging off of 150 members of the Makueni Youth Empowerment Service (M-YES) for a three-month training in agribusiness.
The youth aged 18 to 35 years will be trained on the innovative hydroponics farming technology at the Miramar International College, Kikuyu. This follows the launch of a partnership between KCB Foundation, the German Development Cooperation implemented by GIZ and the County Government of Makueni early this month to support youth engagement in food and nutrition security projects.
The partnership was launched at the commencement of the 2018 United Nations International Youth Week on 6th August 2018 by the Deputy President His Excellency William Ruto in Wote, Makueni County. The young people are being sponsored under the Skills and Enterprise Development Project, an initiative between KCB Foundation’s 2jiajiri programme and GIZ’s E4D/SOGA (Employment and Skills for Eastern Africa) programme that offers scholarships in technical and vocational courses in agribusiness and building and construction for vulnerable youth.
The beneficiaries will be equipped with hydroponics techniques of producing leafy vegetables, tomatoes, strawberries and livestock fodder among other food crops. Upon completion of the training, KCB Foundation will offer enterprise support to the young entrepreneurs through the extension of business incubation services that assist them to form agricultural and labour collectives. They will be supported to develop business plans and access discounted financing from KCB to construct greenhouses on land sub-leased from the Government of Makueni County.
KCB Foundation Managing Director Jane Mwangi reaffirmed the Foundation’s support towards providing technical and vocational courses to the youth in a bid to address unemployment challenges in Kenya.
“We recognise the importance of youth involvement in enterprise development through agriculture, given its crucial place in the Kenyan economy. As a Bank we are working closely with development partners, national and county governments to address the reality of youth unemployment in Kenya,” she said in a speech read on her behalf by KCB Foundation Senior Manager, Partnerships John Waimiri during the flagging off at Kwa Kathoka Agricultural Training Centre in Wote, Makueni County on 29th August.
Speaking on behalf of the Programme Director, Youth Employment and TVET Programme E4D/SOGA, Aregash Asfaw GIZ Technical Advisor Dr Henrik Schmidtke affirmed the organisation’s commitment to support initiatives addressing food security and unemployment.
“We are not tired of emphasising, that this partnership is a great example of how development partners, the private sector and County Governments can work successfully together to combat youth unemployment,” said Dr Schmidtke.
Makueni County Governor Prof Kivutha Kibwana commended KCB Foundation and GIZ in empowering Kenyan youth and contributing to the creation of self-employment opportunities.
“My Government has initiated youth-centric initiatives such as the Makueni Youth Empowerment Service out of our understanding that it is the youth who can take charge of their own destinies if they are empowered,” said the Governor.
The programme is part of KCB Foundation’s enterprise development and wealth creation programme for the youth, 2jiajiri, launched in March 2016. Apart from agriculture, the programme beneficiaries are domiciled in four sub-sectors that form the backbone of the informal economy namely; Automotive engineering, beauty and personal care, building and construction and domestic services. Since its launch over 23,000 youth beneficiaries on technical skills and financial literacy across the country, with over 5,499 individuals accessing business incubation support. KCB Foundation is currently collaborating with a number of counties and development partners in supporting the above sub-sectors.