NCBA CLUSA is celebrating The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Consumption and Production during this year’s International Youth Day. NCBA CLUSA integrates youth development across our projects, helping to support the training and education of young people, improve their access to finance and promote sustainable agriculture, business and civic engagement. NCBA CLUSA’s recent Yes Youth Can program empowered Kenyan young people to engage with their communities. Today, Yes Youth Can participants are entrepreneurs and leaders, having developed local “bunges,” or youth parliaments, that empower young people to participate in the political processes and develop entrepreneurial skills. These groups developed credit unions, encouraged ID card registration for over 1.7 million youth and developed small businesses to improve their livelihoods.
Out of that program, in 2011 a group of 19 young people in Mugumoine Village in the coast region of Kenya got together to improve the critical infrastructure and economic status of their village. Based on that first meeting, they came up with a name inspired by their goals: Mega Vision Youth Bunge. In Kiswahili, “bunge” is a “parliament,” reflecting the need for good governance, especially of financial services, if they were to accomplish their vision.
To fund their projects, which included a poultry business and farms, they began with member contributions. With financial literacy training through NCBA CLUSA’s Yes Youth Can! project, they began a table banking system where members could borrow and repay loans for individual projects. The bunge became the local SACCO, like a credit union, for the membership.
As their practical management skills and financial know-how increased, and with support from NCBA CLUSA, they began to write funding proposals and link with formal banks like Kenya’s Equity Bank, which facilitated financial trainings, continuing the sustainable financing of their businesses. After five years, in 2016, the bunge offers financial literacy and business skills trainings to others in the village, has helped 5 people be admitted to university and continues to sustainably grow their poultry business with a total of 350 chickens, which last year provided employment for 10 people. These youth are also becoming leaders in their communities. More than 43,000 youth—40 percent of whom are women—have been elected to leadership roles in village councils, churches, local health committees, women’s groups, farmers groups and cooperatives. This is a huge increase in youth participation across Kenya. In fact, there are 87 percent more youth involved in the coast provinces and 67 percent more in Nairobi since the beginning of the program.
We implemented similar youth group programs in Mozambique through 2015. In partnership with Pathfinder, NCBA CLUSA supported over 28,000 youth who wanted to develop 830 farmers clubs across the country, where they could gather as peers to brainstorm ways to overcome health, nutrition and economic challenges in their communities. A new program in Uganda implemented by NCBA CLUSA, in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation, brings job training in agriculture to youth to provide economic opportunity, especially for those who came out of conflict areas and do not have a traditional education. The Youth Empowered Through Agriculture (YETA) integrates feedback loops into the curriculum to help make the program flexible and based on the needs of individual youth.
NCBA CLUSA is proud to work with youth and celebrate the United Nation’s International Youth Day, falling on Friday, August 12 this year.