UN-Habitat and the Youth Enterprise Development Fund have partnered to support the economic empowerment of youth for sustainable urbanisation, in a collaborative effort that is expected to create around 100,000 jobs annually for young people in Kenya
UN-Habitat and the Youth Enterprise Development Fund have partnered to support the economic empowerment of youth for sustainable urbanisation, in a collaborative effort that is expected to create around 100,000 jobs annually for young people in Kenya.
The partnership will work to provide entrepreneurial training, build and coordinate youth centre activities, equip youth with employable and relevant skills, and support them in accessing job opportunities information.
UN-Habitat and the Youth Enterprise Development Fund will mobilise these resources as part of the `Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Urbanisation in Kenya 2016-8’ Programme, which will be followed by the establishment of entrepreneurship hubs around the country.
These e-Hubs will use communication technologies to connect innovative youth to public and private investors in sustainable enterprise initiatives.
The Chairman of the Youth Enterprise Development Fund Board, Ronald Osumba, addressed a conference on empowerment of urban youth for sustainable urbanisation at the UN Complex in Gigiri on February 28, 2018.
He observed that migration from rural to urban areas was often influenced by economic betterment.
With 80% of the African population represented by the youth, their skills development, coaching, mentorship and an enabling environment are vital for Kenya’s social and economic development, he added.
UN-Habitat Executive Director, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, promised the UN’s technical support for the Fund to achieve socio-economic transformation in Kenya through youth empowerment.
She said: “Sustainable urbanization cannot be achieved without addressing the challenges faced by youth in our cities and other human settlements and youth empowerment is one of the four cross-cutting issues in the UN-Habitat Strategic Plan for 2014-2019.”
Furthermore, UN Women has also implemented an initiative in rural Kenya to provide new technology to mango farmers in order to counter post-harvest losses.
The group is providing a three-day training course on post-harvest handling and fruit processing techniques, including by using a multi-food processing machine.
This new technology can process almost 8 tons of mangoes every 6 hours and can process a variety of fruits harvested.
So far, 100 farmers have been trained in fruit processing, packaging and branding through the project, which is a collaboration between Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and the Stockholm Environment Institute and Techno Serve, and is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation.
Participants gained new skills, including how to make jams and juices, and learned about combining fruit produce with other farm products such as yoghurt, and are now working with local governments to acquire the processing machines in farmers’ groups.
Whilst the demand for mangoes has exploded in Kenya’s regional markets, farmers can lose 40-45% of their crop to poor harvesting and handling techniques, alongside pests and diseases, according to the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute.
The fruit often rots on the trees due to an overabundance of one type of produce and lack of harvesting technology and knowledge.
Women make up 59% of the agricultural labour force in sub-Saharan Africa, but own less than 13% of its agricultural land.
Gender differences in access to resources such as credit, land and skills training, affects the ability of women to invest, operate and benefit from new economic opportunities, compared to male entrepreneurs.
UN Women Regional Policy Advisor on Climate Smart Agriculture, Fatmata Sessay, said: “Kenya has a significant proportion of women engaged in agriculture.
“While they work as hard as any male farmer, they often lack access to financial and technological resources that can improve their livelihoods.
“This is why UN Women has partnered with the universities to make technology accessible for women farmers.”
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