Submitted by Amy Coughenour, COO for International Development
(NAIROBI, Kenya)—On Tuesday, August 20, we visited a youth group (called a “bunge,” meaning parliament) in Nairobi called the Kreative Generation, made up of 15 young people who formed their group through the support of Yes Youth Can!, a youth initiative created by USAID and implemented by NCBA CLUSA to empower youth and help them develop livelihood opportunities.
This group (pictured) is cultivating their first harvest of tomato, kale, spinach, onions, and lettuce for sale in local markets, using greenhouse technology and a community garden supported by Israel for Africa. In addition to farming, they make and sell jewelry and beaded mats, and are also theatrical performers. Their performance troupe appears weekly on a national television show showcasing their dances, songs, skits, and comedy. Their performances include positive messages for children and youth: preventing HIV/AIDS, staying in school, avoiding drugs, eating a healthy diet, and many other important themes for today’s Kenyan youth.
Salome, 24, Peter, 22, Faith, 18, and Vincent, 24, who is the bunge president, are enjoying their newfound voices and livelihoods. “We love doing agriculture!,” they shared. One young woman said, “Other youth ask us why we are not out on the town getting some chicken and chips. But we would rather be here; they are surprised we can farm in Nairobi.” But the neighbors don’t mind—they have already shown up asking when they can buy the vegetables.