In order for development to be sustainable, we address human, social, environmental, as well as economic factors. Youth entrepreneurship is one project area of ISU-UP. Entrepreneurship also is woven into project areas such as crops, livestock, education, and community nutrition. All projects are intended to enable the community to have a sustainable source of income from acquired knowledge and hands-on skills.
Youth Entrepreneurship Program
The Youth Entrepreneurship Program trains Ugandan youth (young adults between 15-35 years of age who are either in school or out-of-school) on the many facets of agricultural entrepreneurship. Gaining enhanced knowledge in agriculture, food, and related sciences along with learning practical skills in crop and livestock management, marketing and leadership, participants grow towards self-reliance and an enterprising adulthood.
In addition, the home gardening project ensures that in-school youth practice agriculture as a business. The income obtained from the gardens they plant at home is used to pay school fees and to purchase scholastic materials and other needs.
Community Income Generation Innovations (CIGI)
ISU-UP first introduced the concept of CIGI as an income diversification strategy for mothers at the Nutrition Education Centers to help them sustain their families’ nutritional gains after graduating from the centers. Later, youth in-school and out-of-school also were included. ISU-UP CIGI projects include crafts projects such as jewelry making, tailoring (including production or clothing, bags, face masks and re-usable sanitary pads), basket weaving, soap making, and making lesson books for school children.
Some of the approaches we utilize include:
- Facilitate agripreneurship clubs
- Facilitate craft programs that benefit students, youth and community members
- Conduct trainings in crop and livestock production and management
- Introduce beekeeping and honey production
- Provide small enterprise development training
- Facilitate youth farmer groups for mentoring and collective marketing
- Facilitate research, discussion, and networking between students and teachers from different area schools
- Organize an annual Youth Institute that promoted research and brings students from different schools together, culminating in a final event at our Mpirigiti Rural Training Centre
- Facilitate establishment of mentorships
- Facilitate formation of Village Savings and Loan Associations among group members
- Strengthen access to markets
- Promote access to microfinance services
- Promote economies of scale by producing and marketing collectively
Continuing goals include:
- Organize small and medium-scale farmers and young entrepreneurs to participate in commercially viable livestock and crop value chains that link inputs, production and markets
- Increase the number of mothers and youth entrepreneurs enrolled in community income generating innovation projects
- Build self-governance capacity of community income generating innovation groups
- Develop capacity for climate change resilience at schools, with entrepreneurs, and with other community groups
- Develop best practices publications in both English and Lusoga languages
Growing peppers for export helps to stabilize markets
Looking to diversify the vegetables grown in the Kamuli District and expand their marketing opportunities, the Youth Entrepreneurship Program (YEP) added a chili pepper crop this year.
The new pepper grower and marketing group at Nakyaka consists of 19 farmers from five villages: Nakyaka, Tibasiima, Bugeywa, Bulongo, and Busuuyi. A dozen farmers are engaged in active production, owning a total of 4 acres. Seven farmers focus on marketing the crop, which includes harvesting, sorting, and delivering the green chili peppers to the exporter.
“For the first time since 2014, the YEP participants engaged in vegetable production for export to Europe and/or Kenya. This can help them address challenges due to unstable local markets for common vegetables such as tomatoes, green peppers, eggplants, and cabbage that these YEP farmers are already growing,” said Martin Lukwata, ISU-UP youth entrepreneurship specialist in Uganda.
The chili pepper project began with three preproduction trainings and three in-production trainings conducted by the exporter with support from YEP officers. Training sessions covered several topics, including nursery bed preparation; pest and disease identification, prevention, and control using natural pesticides and cultural control methods; best practices for harvesting; and postharvest sorting, storage, and transportation. The training sessions also offered business management advice, such as guidance on budgeting. A total of 26 farmers were trained.
n Friday mornings before it gets too hot to work in their gardens, farmers harvest peppers by hand at the green immature stage and complete an initial sort. For farmers with larger fields, such as Namusobya Viola and Tibawala Rogers, the harvest begins Thursday evening. Harvested peppers are sorted a second time at the exporter-designated collecting center in Kamuli Town, where the peppers are graded and packed in plastic crates and labeled appropriately to ensure the farmer supplying the peppers will be paid correctly. The exporter provides a refrigerated vehicle to transport the produce to Kampala Friday evenings.
Export standards are monitored by field agents for the exporter, the ISU-UP youth facilitator Namwase Peninah, and YEP lead farmers Mulongo Frank and Nkwanga Zephania, who serve as peer mentors.
Farmers are paid each month, which enables them to plan better, build their savings, and improve their creditworthiness at the bank that holds their accounts. The launch of this youth entrepreneurship project for export is another way ISU-UP collaborates with young adults in the Kamuli District to establish consistent markets for their agricultural products, and ultimately help them grow into productive, self-reliant community leaders.
To make a gift to the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods, please click here to go directly to the ISU Foundation, or contact Sarah Roelfs at (515) 294-1031 or email@example.com.