Kenya: Food Security Thanks to Young Entrepreneurs
Berlin / Nairobi, 19 June 2020
Young people between the age of 15 and 24 make up one fifth of the Kenya's population. Despite great potential, only 22 percent of them have a job. In addition, there is very little support in the search for employment. Together with the local partner organisation I Choose Life - Africa (ICL), Johanniter supports young entrepreneurs in Turkana County.
Turkana County is considered the poorest region of Kenya. More than 90 percent of the population live below the poverty line. Due to the predominantly dry climate and the poor soils, it is difficult for the people to get sufficient and well balanced nutrition. The number of people suffering from malnutrition is high, every third child is malnourished. Together with our partner ICL we support 100 young people in Lokichoggio ward to start their own small enterprise to produce food and thus contribute to the food security in a sustainable way. Due to the traditional distribution of tasks, women and girls suffer from malnutrition more often than men, which is why 60 percent of the project participants are women.
Enterprises as Career Paths
Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises are an important pillar of economic growth in Kenya and many young people see them as the ideal career path. However, most of them lack the knowledge and support to start their own business. This is exactly where our project in the field of agricultural production comes in. At the beginning, the young people are introduced to the basics of business management in a three-day boot camp. Afterwards, they receive intensive support and guidance during the first three months. During this time, they receive further information on a wide range of topics like legal registration or financial obligations, and learn important skills to be able to grow food sustainably. They are also supported in selling their products and have the opportunity to present their ideas at various trade fairs to get to know potential customers.
Higher Output Thanks to Hydroponics Method
In addition to the economic aspects, the focus lies on sustainable cultivation methods. In the Turkana region, the lack of fertile land, the many seasonal and unpredictable heavy rainfalls, droughts and high water consumption are resulting in problems that make it difficult to grow sufficient food. To counteract this, we work with the so-called hydroponics method. It allows young people to produce less vulnerable crops and thus to have a more secure source of income for the future.
The project is financially supported by Aktion Deutschland Hilft.
The Hydroponics Method
With the hydroponic method, crops are not planted in soil, but kept in water. Artificial nutrients are added to the water in order to allow the plants to grow. Since the plants develop in water, the water does not seep into the soil and only little water is needed. The lack of nutrient-rich soil is overcome by the nutrients directly in the water. Plant growth is independent of weather conditions and extreme climatic conditions. This makes a sustainable contribution to improving the nutrition of the population and enables young people to earn their own income and strengthen their resilience.