New Green Entrepreneur and Agriculture Initiatives Launched to Augment Livelihoods for Youth

12 August 2023
#BeGreen Launch
UNICEF Kenya/2023/Victor
Young Kenyan entrepreneurs at the #BeGreen Launch

11 August 2023, Nairobi - UNICEF, the Government of Kenya and Generation Unlimited partners are launching two flagship pilot programmes, BeGreen Africa and Engaging Kenyan Youth in Agriculture and Nutrition (EKYAN). These initiatives are aimed at fostering green entrepreneurship and empowering Kenyan youth the opportunity to learn new entrepreneurial skills relevant to the current market reality.

With a staggering 75 percent of Kenya’s population below the age of 35 years, as per the 2019 Kenya Population and Housing Census, the pressing issue of youth unemployment is at 14 percent. Hence the call for innovative solutions that equip young individuals with practical skills for a sustainable future.

BeGreen Africa focuses on nurturing youth-led businesses in solid waste management through comprehensive training, mentorship, and seed funding. The program not only empowers young entrepreneurs but also tackles critical environmental issues such as waste accumulation and resource depletion. Partners including the IKEA Foundation, Tony Elumelu Foundation, and GenU are dedicated to amplifying support for youth-led green enterprises across Kenya. Selected participants will benefit from training, seed funding of up to $5,000 USD each, mentorship, and access to invaluable networks and financial resources and thus help catalyze the transition to a more sustainable economy in Kenya. 

Recognizing agriculture's pivotal role in Kenya's economy, the EKYAN programme concentrates on supporting young smallholder farmers, in partnership with Educate! and KUZA Biashara. With the agriculture sector accounting for 65 percent of export earnings and providing livelihoods for over 80 percent of the population, EKYAN seeks to empower youth, particularly girls, with essential skills in climate-smart and regenerative farming practices. The program introduces digital learning platforms, centers of excellence, and innovative financial packages in collaboration with the Government of Kenya and microfinance institutions.

“The EKYAN programme will provide training, access to employment opportunities and digital literacy as well as knowledge of climate smart and regenerative agriculture with the objective of training young agripreneurs to become more resilient farmers,” said UN Resident Coordinator to Kenya Stephen Jackson. “It will help equip youth with the specialised knowledge and skills needed to address the challenges of modern food systems.” 

Learning from the experiences of both BeGreen Africa and EKYAN will provide substantial insights into the realm of youth entrepreneurship in high-impact green sectors. This collective knowledge will empower young entrepreneurs to play a pivotal role in fostering a lasting green revolution throughout Kenya.

“Young Kenyan entrepreneurs often possess unique and untapped potential for sustainable economic growth,” UNICEF Representative to Kenya Shaheen Nilofer said: “If empowered, green entrepreneurs can help accelerate environmentally friendly growth and build a more equitable and prosperous society.” 

 

Media contacts

Joy Wanja Muraya
Communication Specialist
UNICEF Kenya
Tel: 0721 466 267
Augustine Karani
UN Resident Coordinator’s Office
UN KENYA
Tel: +254 724 169 487

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