Engaging Kenyan Youth in Agriculture and Nutrition (EKYAN)
The programme will develop a sustainable and replicable model to skill and connect young people with employment and entrepreneurship opportunities in the agriculture sector
The current global food supply chain not only emits a third of the world’s greenhouse gases but is also increasingly placing yields at risk due to the effects of climate change. The Global South has 88% of the world’s 1.2 billion youth, and agrifood systems are their largest employer with high potential for employment and entrepreneurship. This calls for a radical transformation of agrifood systems, with youth engagement and employment as a goal and means.
Engaging Kenyan Youth in Agriculture and Nutrition (EKYAN) programme is designed to provide young people, especially women, with the necessary market-driven skills and on-the-job learning for employment and entrepreneurship opportunities in agribusiness, while building regenerative agriculture models that promote circular economies in predominantly rural areas.
Supported by FMC Corporation and the Government of the Netherlands, EKYAN will enable young agripreneurs in Kenya to incubate businesses and earn a decent livelihood, support farmers to improve their economic livelihoods in a climate-smart manner, and train young people in Kenya on food systems. With Programme partners the World Bank, the Government of Kenya and its county governments, KUZA Biashara Ltd, and Educate!, EKYAN will work to improve engagement of young people in agriculture and contribute towards better economic livelihoods, food systems and nutrition.
It will strengthen private sector linkages in rural communities, emphasizing skill development and business opportunities in climate-smart technologies and regenerative agriculture.
Specifically, EKYAN will:
- Support young agripreneurs in income generation and improved economic livelihoods;
- Build young people’s employability skills and expose youth entrepreneurs to agribusinesses;
- Provide young people with skills and linkages to decent livelihood opportunities in agriculture;
- Enhance agri-nutrition for improved nutrition results;
- Establish agribusiness School Centres of Excellence (COE) across Kenya to provide community training hubs.
EKYAN will operate through a network of country-level public-private-youth partnerships that align with government priorities. By using schools and digital infrastructure as catalysts for change, EKYAN will put youth at the center of food systems innovation, creating an ecosystem that promotes agriculture and agribusiness to the next generation.
One of the main aims for EKYAN is for it to be a sustainable and scalable model embedded in market needs. Insights during the first year of implementation will guide the expansion of EKYAN in Kenya and inform its replication across Africa and beyond as a proven model. These findings will add to the knowledge on education, skills, and employment for young people, potentially feeding into policy recommendations at a wider organizational level and for UNICEF initiatives and work by UNICEF partners in other countries and regions.
Agrifood systems must be transformed for the good of both planet and people. EKYAN will scale skilling, employment and entrepreneurship in agribusiness – where more value can be created by youth and for youth.
EKYAN is global in scope and set to be initially piloted in Kenya. The targets include the establishment of 64 School Centers of Excellence to inspire, skill, and connect young generations to job and business opportunities while training 10,000 young people within school clubs on sustainable food systems.
EKYAN will provide at least 4,800 young entrepreneurs (50% women) the opportunity to earn a decent livelihood as agripreneurs, particularly those from out-of-school settings. Finally, it aims to improve economic livelihoods for over 51,200 farmers in a sustainable and climate-smart manner.
Agribusiness Centres of Excellence will be set up across Kenya to serve as community training hubs. Each centre will be located in a school and equipped with digital infrastructure and a demo plot of various crops.
Aspiring digital agripreneurs will be invited to use the hubs and shown how to use the infrastructure to provide climate-smart extension services and showcase sustainable agriculture practices, products and services. Young people in school agriculture clubs will be trained to support the agripreneurs and to train younger students.
For young people, the aims are to inspire young people about working in agrifood systems, skill them to take advantage of the multiple opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship and connect them to the job market – through mentorship, internship, and on-the-job training.
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