NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 29 – Close to 2,500 youths in Bungoma have received funding from the KCB Foundation to set up farming businesses, effectively giving them a lifeline to generate incomes.
On Thursday, the KCB Foundation, the social investment arm of KCB Group issued cheques worth Sh10.1million to the 2,438 beneficiaries under the lender’s 2jiajiri job creation flagship project.
The program seeks to empower 10,000 youth every year to start small businesses that will employ at least 5 people each. This translates to 50,000 jobs for young people directly created through this programme by the end of the 5 years.
The funding, an interest free loan comes after the youths successfully completed training that is expected to enable them venture into Soya Beans farming. The youths will not need any collateral and no prior experience in the business is needed. However, everyone must undergo the training.
The agribusiness training by the KCB Foundation, in partnership with the Railway Training Institute (RTI) International has a broad goal of improving income and employment opportunities for the youth aged 18-35 years who have not completed secondary school education.
Speaking during the event, KCB Foundation Executive Director Jane Mwangi said: “We are catalyzing economic empowerment by skilling and funding the youths while linking them with market opportunities.”
KCB Foundation has already signed an agreement with edible oils maker Bidco to buy Soya beans from the young farmers hence assuring them on the market of their produce.
“These youths under the programme had never had an experience in getting an agribusiness bank loan hence the reason why KCB Foundation takes them through the training in business planning and access to finance. The youth are then helped to package the application for financing which results to loan approval,” said Ms Mwangi.
The loans are only given for one cycle where during the period, they are supported to keep financial and productivity records which later prepares them for commercial financing during the next cycle.
“Kenya has the largest generation of young people and I place great hope in their power to shape our future. We have been talking about creating jobs for the youth; let us be the ones creating those jobs, one at a time,” Ms. Mwangi added.
The total out of school beneficiaries in agribusiness under this KCB Foundation/ RTI partnership are 3,968 who include 1530 in Kericho and 2,438 Bungoma.
KCB Foundation’s 2jiajiri flagship programme is among other keys initiatives which includes ‘Mifugo ni Mali’ which supports livestock farmers and Scholarship which has so far supported 120 disabled students for their secondary school education.
KCB is seeking more partnerships with the Government, Development Agencies and the Private Sector players to help reach the potential of the 2jiajiri programme to train 100,000 young people every year.