Replicating F2F Interventions Throughout Kenya
Kenya’s Council of Governors adopts the CAP YEI and F2F youth access to finance and workforce development interventions in all 47 counties
In March 2023, the Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Kenya program and Community and Progress Youth Empowerment Institute (CAP YEI) achieved a significant milestone: the Government of Kenya signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with CAP YEI to replicate the youth agriculture and agri-enterprise technical interventions in all 47 counties across the country. Under this MOU, CAP YEI will support the counties in developing a youth skills development and employment generation demonstration center. This will rapidly scale the adoption of F2F volunteer recommendations on leveraging dairy and horticulture sectors for improved access to finance (A2F) for youth and women in Kenya. Over the last two years, IESC’s F2F program in Kenya worked with CAP YEI to enhance the A2F component of their youth workforce development interventions through strategic volunteer assignments in agriculture.
In mid-2021, the F2F program signed an MOU with CAP YEI, kicking off a series of collaborations that have now culminated in the national adoption of the F2F/CAP YEI model. A total of eight volunteers have since been deployed to CAP YEI’s pilot youth demonstration farm and training center in Ol Joro Orok, Kenya, which serves 250 youth farmers. Through a multi-faceted intervention, F2F volunteers in Kenya supported CAP YEI members in several areas, including mapping financial services, linking CAP YEI youth to financing opportunities and new markets, providing training for improved on-farm production, and focusing on climate-smart technologies to promote resilience. Through the new MOU between CAP YEI and the Government of Kenya, this structure will be directly replicated on the demonstration centers in each county. The financial literacy curriculum developed by two F2F volunteers through this collaboration has since been accredited by the National Industrial Training Authority for use across the 2,301 Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) institutions in Kenya that reach 452,000 youth trainees annually.
A mapping of the financial access ecosystem for the youth farmers at the demonstration farm has resulted in the opening of over 150 new bank accounts with various financial institutions, $1,210,000 in loans and grants to the center and youth farmers, and new market linkage opportunities worth $10,000,000 over the next three years. It also identified opportunities for value addition and supply of horticulture produce to leading local supermarket brands.
The Ol Joro Orok youth at CAP YEI, through key F2F technical recommendations, identified and secured contracts worth $10,000 annually for the supply of strawberries to a leading supermarket chain. After previously being unemployed, each youth involved in strawberry farming now earns at least $150 a week. The employment and income opportunities in farming high-value crops was a key A2F finding by F2F volunteers Chris Wang’ombe and Shivani Gupta in April 2022. In January 2023, the youth, through F2F market linkage initiatives, also secured market export opportunities to the Middle East and Europe for strawberries and French beans. They have created an additional 500 jobs in the community through these export contracts, including job opportunities for the farmers’ previously unemployed family members. In addition to undertaking the production of high-value crops, CAP YEI youth are also involved in dairy startups. They received technical support from F2F volunteers on how to run the entities profitably, adapt to climate change effects, and mitigate key risks.
The successes of the F2F and CAP YEI partnership attracted the attention of the county government units leading up to the signing of the MOU between CAP YEI and the Government of Kenya. F2F looks forward to expanding and deepening its impact by supporting CAP YEI and TVET institutions working to launch new demonstration centers throughout the country.
During the MOU signing, CAP YEI Director Ndungu Kahihu thanked the F2F program and other stakeholders for making agricultural employment and youth access to finance a practical and scalable reality.
The American people, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for more than 50 years. The John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer Program (F2F) provides technical assistance from U.S. volunteers to farmers, farm groups, agribusinesses, and other agriculture sector institutions in developing and transitional countries with the goal of promoting sustainable improvements in food security and agricultural processing, production and marketing.