Elizabeth Were, Helping Youth Entrepreneurs
Elizabeth Were, locally known in Kenya, as “Mama Das,” began working in the field of agriculture four years ago. She offers intensive technical support to young entrepreneurs, getting them ready for entry into the agriculture market.
According to Mama Das, there is big gap between employer needs and the skills of today’s youth. This has been linked to failing education systems that are simply not up to par, and also to a general lack of faith in young people as being capable of making meaningful contributions in a global marketplace. As a result, young men and women in Kenya are more likely to make a living in the insecure informal economy, struggling to overcome a multitude of barriers to formal employment.
Seventy percent of the passion fruit and paw paw fruit being consumed in Kenya are imported, creating a high demand among Kenyans for the purchase of local fruits. Mama Das will provide 20 young, female job seekers with agricultural and business training, and give them passion seedlings and paw paw seeds to plant at home to begin their own income-generating plantation. The money they earn can then be used to help pay for their school tuition, and to purchase books and uniforms needed to continue their education. With the extra income, young women who are not in school will be able to purchase food and medicine, enabling them to stay safe and healthy.
GRANT AWARD DATE: May 16, 2015