For young adults who we’ve helped through high school, our education support staff provide career counseling that helps them understand the (self-)employment landscape and choose the best path for their skills and passions.
Even for young people holding Bachelor’s degrees, the employment landscape in Kenya is very challenging. In many sectors, jobs go to those who are connected to managers and owners or to those who bribe their way into positions. We help young people understand that certificates and papers do not necessarily lead to jobs and that understanding the true contours of the (self-)employment market is a crucial step before enrolling in post-secondary education. Our career and guidance staff assist youth to match their skills with genuine economic opportunities. Career guidance and competence in grasping the true nature of the job market is therefore an essential first step for young people to complete before we assist them with business training or scholarships to pursue vocational courses or college degrees.
Our agriculture programming helps youth and families become exposed to new crops, markets, and techniques. Land to farm is the most valuable common economic asset amongst the families we support, and farm income is therefore a great opportunity for all.
In the area of livelihoods we put our greatest focus on farm business training because it is a realistic, attainable, and potentially profitable opportunity for nearly all the people we support. Our training emphasises exposure to new crops and markets because the most common cash crops in western Kenya, like sugarcane and peanuts, are rarely profitable as a business on small plots of land. By helping our beneficiaries see and learn about higher-value crops and more profitable animal agriculture, and then by helping them understand business planning and best practices in production for the crops or animals they’ve chosen, we support them in doing something that can bring more meaningful income. The most common farm ventures among those we train are rearing chickens and growing vegetables, but we also have families that now have things like fish ponds, piggeries, tree seedling nurseries, and banana plantations. See also: .ROTARY GRANT FOR AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION.
We offer business training to youth and adults to help them dream bigger, plan better, and launch or scale small business ventures. We have a dedicated training program in agricultural entrepreneurship, and we also offer support to those who engage in other sectors like food vending, brick making, and shop keeping.
Jobs in western Kenya are few and far between, especially decently-paying jobs for people who lack advanced education. The informal business sector, however, is thriving and offers good opportunities to sustainably earn income. We support parents and other family guardians so they can aspire, plan, and launch income ventures to provide for their families. Our staff help beneficiaries to understand the importance of planning, market scanning, and engaging in savings and reinvestment to maintain or scale their businesses. We sometimes offer start-up capital to help new ventures start, and we connect our “micropreneurs” to lenders who can support them with loans in the future. Whether raising chickens for eggs and meat, or walking around town selling ice cream from a cooler, we have helped support a myriad of income ventures that help youth and family guardians provide for themselves.