Having failed to get formal employment, a group of young men decided to turn around their lives by engaging in income generating activities with little help from their parents.
But just like many other youth, their effort was curtailed by lack of funds and crucial advice on which best practices to invest in. Having been formed in 2006 and getting registered a year later, Bidii Artisan Youth Group from Nyaribari Chache has been having it rough to get their business started.
With 13 members, all in their youth stage, the group tried their hands on brick making, poultry farming and vegetable farming, but with the erratic weather pattern, hurdles and middle men in market access and lack of coordination, theirs was meant to be a still birth endeavor.
That however, changed when in 2014, they were introduced to the Youth Fund, where they were advised on the best practices and business ventures to engage in.
They benefited on group loan from the Youth Fund and now they and are in their third cycle of loan application. The first loan they received was Sh50, 000 in 2015 which they cleared after six months. The second loan they received Sh50, 000 which they same cleared in a period of six months.
Group chairman Mr Kefah Ondieki says members are targeting to secure another loan to enable them buy a posh mill.
“We need to expand the business and allow each of our members get an opportunity to make a living. This is an opportunity that every member wishes to achieve,” says Mr Ondieki.
The group has been appraised for the third loan, which amounts to Sh100, 000 and are waiting for disbursement.
Youth Fund Chairman Ronald Osumba says the decision by these young boys and girls to forgo leisure and focus on hard labour to change their way of life, is what is propelling this country forward and deliberating their minds from salaried jobs to creating jobs and business ventures that benefit even their peers.
“They are making positive impact in a small way. They are our heroes and they show others how they can benefit from these funds and turn their lives. They need not depend on other people; they can form groups and seek loans to start small businesses. With time, the youth will know that the ability to gain from the fund is basically within their reach. They have potential and all they need is for them to come forward and exploit these opportunities,” said Osumba.
Through the loans they have been able to lease two acres of land which they grow and sell Napier grass. The group plans to buy a motorbike from the third loan which they are waiting to assist them in transporting of Napier grass to their clients instead of hiring.so far they have created employment amongst themselves.
He says, a number of youth still don’t believe in borrowing. “The Youth lack patience and advice on how to borrow or end,” he says.
He explains that Youth Fund has played a critical role in empowering people and particular the youth, to realize that they still can succeed in life without going through the route of formal employment.
“We made a decision that we cannot sit and wait for the government to offer employment opportunities. Let us open up business ventures and employ ourselves. We can start small but at the end be able to create more opportunities for each of our members,” says Ondieki.
He adds: “The funds have greatly improved the living standards of many youth and women, a majority who were previously living in abject poverty.