The objective of the Integrated Agribusiness Hubs Project – Job Open to the Youth, JOY – is boosting rural youth empowerment and decent employment opportunities in Kenya and Cameroon through the provision of innovative financial and non-financial services. Organized into main hubs and satellites will accompany 2500 youth (50% female, 50% male) in the start-up of their enterprises and placement into agribusiness and companies. These are youths in relevant agriculture territories and match IFAD supported projects.
The JOY project effective start date is August 5, 2021, and completion date is June 30, 2024. It is implemented by PROCASUR in alliance with the International Labour Office (ILO), USTADI Kenya and AGRO-PME Cameroon, bringing on board practical and demonstrated experience on matters pertaining to rural youth and agribusiness. It presents a mix of national and international private, and intergovernmental organizations with cross-cultural attributes that provide an excellent platform of sharing and cross learning.
The theory of change addresses through two components four critical reasons for sub-optimal integration of integration of youth in agriculture value chains. These are:
- Non conducive enabling environment for youth employment
- Limited access to assets by the youth, such as land, technologies, finance and services
- Lack of knowledge and technical skills of youth and service providers
- Negative perception of agriculture as unattractive to young people.
The Hubs and satellites will:
Potential JOY partners from IFAD and ILO
- Programme de Promotion de L’Entreprenariat Agropastoral des jeunes (PEA-Jeunes)
- Commodity Value Chain Development Support
- YouthTools Grant
- Measures to improve the conditions of domestic workers
- Aquaculture Business Development Programme
- Programme Climate Resilient Agricultural Livelihoods Window
- Upper Tana Catchment Natural Resource Management Project
- Kenya Livestock Commercialization Project
- Rural Kenya Financial Inclusion Facility
- PROSPECTS – Inclusive jobs and education for refugees and host communities in Kenya
- Better Utilization of Skills for Youth through Quality Apprenticeship (BUSY)
JOY Contact Person
Summary of the first year workplan – August 2021 to August 2022
Being JOY a three-year project, expectation for the first year of operations are high. All in all, year one must set conditions for the hub model to become operational in the two countries while taking on-board the first youth generation. By the end of year one, JOY will have burned the start-up and pre-hub phases of the integrated agribusiness hubs. Moreover, a first group of over 400 rural young men and women (50:50) will be trained, coached, mentored, and connected in their path to waged or self-employment.
The IFAD Youth Team provides close technical support throughout the pre-hub and start up phases. A Project Steering Committee (PSC) chaired by PROCASUR as lead agency and integrated by USTADI and AGRO-PME and ILO as partners, will oversight the Project. Cameroon and Kenya governments and IFAD are invited to participate as observers. The PSC will link with the existing platforms for advisory objectives.
At a different level, JOY will pursuit to exchange knowledge with the integrated agribusiness hubs supported by IFAD in Rwanda, Nigeria and Mozambique and more recently, Madagascar, Malawi, Ivory Coast and Algeria.
First year milestones:
The start-up, operations and sustainability of the integrated agribusiness hubs will much depend on the internal consolidation of the role and relation between the two hubs (CIMARTECH in Cameroon and CoELIB in Kenya) and six satellites (TVET, CMPJs, Incubators) with the respective support and oversight of USTADI, AGRO-PME, ILO and PROCASUR. An advisory board formed by directors or representative of JOY partners will operate at key moments and on demand of the annual plan, a handbook will guide typical procedures and collaboration agreements will be signed between PROCASUR and JOY partners.
Two hubs and six satellites existing capacities will be assessed, and priority gaps addressed to match markets expectations. Moreover, hubs and satellites ownership over a non-traditional business model, integrated by diversified financial and non-financial services, is mission key for JOY. Additional upgrades to the hub consider embracing new but promissory value chains, and the most promising job creating nodes inside them, such as those derived from new information and communication technologies and the renewable energies.
Youth is extremely diverse in terms of personal story, educational level, age, gender, and assets accumulation. It has become evident that their aspirations in becoming economically active surpass by far the existing approaches, information, and structures available to support them in the rural areas. As part of the start-up phase, JOY will, on one hand, study and understand the youth living in the territories of intervention and those that considers recovering a link with the rural through agribusiness. On the other hand, will identify through value chain analysis and a labor market assessment, the effective business and employment opportunities today and that can be anticipated.
Following the targeting strategy, capitalizing on existing partnership and revised learning tools, the hubs and satellites will bring on board approximately 200 young women and 200 young men during JOY first year of operations. As a result, it is expected that approximately 220 young agripreneurs establish individual or collective enterprises with the potential of creating 600 to 1000 additional jobs. The delivery of services will use hybrid means as to maximize benefits of digitalization during training, incubation, mentoring and coaching, access to information, among others.
The sustainability of the agribusiness hubs depends greatly on its meaningful integration into the ecosystem. JOY’s first year will address this challenge strategically by raising awareness and sensitization of around 4000 local actors in the ecosystem, supporting at least 60 youth participation in advocacy initiatives, promoting 4Ps, monitoring progress, managing and disseminating the knowledge produced. JOY will also identify over 100 financial service providers and 50 input suppliers and agricultural products buyers of relevance to the youth.