A breakthrough agreement signed this week by NCBA CLUSA and the Government of Kenya solidifies the trade association and international development organization’s leadership in Kenya’s cooperative sphere and is expected to better position it for future work in the country.
At a June 4 ceremony in Nairobi, NCBA CLUSA CEO and president Mike Beall and Wilson Songa, executive secretary of Kenya’s Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise Development, signed the agreement, surrounded by government officials, NCBA CLUSA field staff and national press.
A year in the making, the MOU secures collaborative exploration of community empowerment opportunities in Kenya.
“The agreement is a natural fit,” said Amy Coughenour, NCBA CLUSA COO for International Development. “Both NCBA CLUSA and the Kenyan government are committed to the development of rural communities through cooperative development, capacity-building, enhanced food security and livelihood improvement, especially among women and young people.”
An estimated 70 percent of the population of the continent of Africa is under the age of 30, making young people a key demographic to engage in development, Beall—who is currently in Nairobi for a landmark training event—said in a recent Facebook post.
According to the MOU, NCBA CLUSA will “mobilize farmers and support community structures and groups to produce, process and market products.” Meanwhile, the Government of Kenya will “offer these groups technical assistance in capacity-building, including training and consultancy services.” All actions are “pending available resources” and “do not create a financial obligation,” the document states.
The MOU represents the next step in NCBA CLUSA’s ongoing work in Kenya, Coughenour said. NCBA CLUSA has been active in Kenya since 2001, creating and implementing development projects that strengthen rural enterprises and facilitate access to improved health services, food production, information and products that lead to increased profitability and competitiveness in food security and health.
Currently, NCBA CLUSA heads up Yes Youth Can!, a project that grooms thousands of disadvantaged young people for future employment, entrepreneurship and community leadership. NCBA CLUSA also implements the Cooperative Development Program in Kenya, which enlists cooperatives to advance food security and nutrition for mothers and children under the age of five.
Cooperatives in Kenya are at the forefront of enhancing productivity in agriculture, fighting poverty and promoting economic and social equity.
Kenya’s Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise Development has the mandate to formulate cooperative development policies, facilitate cooperative legislation and oversee its enforcement. The ministry provides cooperative extension services, education and training, marketing promotion and research, audit services, credit and banking services and the promotion of cooperative ventures.