Developing a centralized platform dedicated to outreach and dissemination of information regarding agribusiness and agripreneurship opportunities to youth in Kenya.
MIT D-Lab Class
MIT student unless otherwise noted.
Stephanie Khaguli '23, Department of Mechanical Engineering
As of 2023, 44% of Kenya’s population (24,428,416 out of 55,100,587) is under the age of 18. The large population moving into the job market as well as a historical overemphasis on education as a path to white-collar jobs have led to a saturation of this job market. Meanwhile, other sectors such as agriculture are often forgotten or downplayed despite agriculture being responsible for 35% of Kenya's GDP and having a 54% share in employment. Despite many initiatives and organizations taking note of this and establishing platforms to engage with youth in the agri-business and agri-preneurship sector, the youth unemployment rate as of 2021 still stood at 13.5%. Moreover, the reach of these initiatives is often limited to those plugged into the ecosystem through educational background, access to the internet, or existing interest in the field.
Theory of change
The main problem areas are interest and accessibility. In order to challenge the stigma surrounding agribusiness, particularly along class or gender lines, background research on Kenya's agricultural landscape and prospects is conducted to build a case for pursuing agribusiness. What are the needs? Where are the opportunities for sustainable income? Community surveys will aslo need to be conducted among members of the target group from different socioeconomic contexts. The surveys gauge interest in and existing knowledge of the field of agribusiness, barriers or stigma/biases towards the field, knowledge of the existing opportunities and establish the reason for any gap in this knowledge(eg language barrier, lack of internet access). Surveys conducted within schools, families, and other formative environments for youth and gauge the presence or priority level of agricultural pursuits/education. This information will inform the strategies employed in addressing the accessibility issue. Existing educational outreach programs such as Digital Green, which specialize in a participatory approach to community education will also be studied. Local agriculture-focused learning institutions, education initiatives, and funding initiatives will also be consulted to help build a model for the outreach initiative, that is tailored to the needs of the youth.
Design of an outreach program with multifaceted modes of implementation, that is, a centralized online platform/directory with contacts and information on agripreneurship opportunities and supporting organizations, incubation hubs/workshops/training sessions to increase reach outside of the digital realm, USSD/SMS-based knowledge disbursal, school visits and radio segments/ advertising campaigns. Structure and content is informed through aforementioned background research and continuous review with community partners and participants.
Manish Bhardwaj, Entrepreneurship for the Idealist Instructor