The culture of entrepreneurship must be promoted among the youth in Kirinyaga County.
Doreen Nyambura, Kirinyaga County’s Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF) loan officer, attributes the rise in poverty among young people to reluctance to accept government efforts to improve their living standards.
Nyambura said in Kerugoya that a concerted effort should be made to ensure these young entrepreneurs are adequately trained in business management.
“The youth should also be trained in financial management, planning and information technology to improve the YEDF’s core mandate and services,” she said.
The official said the majority of youth in Kirinyaga County had consumed alcohol and substance abuse, a situation that had negatively impacted the area’s development agenda.
Nyambura wondered how the country could thrive economically if the youth, who make up most of the country’s workforce, remain unproductive and indulge in antisocial grievances.
She said it is important that various stakeholders in the county are brought on board to develop programs that improve youth attitudes and behaviors towards entrepreneurship.
“The high level of financial literacy of young people, particularly in relation to records and banking services, which is an important requirement for access to credit, needs to be addressed,” said Nyambura.
She said that the cumulative loan disbursement in Kirinyaga County since 2013 to date is Sh336.5 million for 20,200 beneficiaries.
Gitari shows some bamboo seedlings from a kindergarten run by the group in Difathas in Kirinyaga. Photo by Irungu Mwangi
The direct disbursement is Sh98.5 million to 14,273 beneficiaries and Sh 238 million to 5,927 beneficiaries are loans that are disbursed through financial institutions.
According to Nyambura, Kirinyaga Central Sub-County ranks first with 5,051 beneficiaries, followed by Gichugu (3,321), Ndia (2,541) and Mwea (2,360).
Successful groups in the county include the Kiangombe Multipurpose Group in Gichugu, which operates a gas station in Kianyaga City.
Others are the Kavote Youth Group from Gichugu, which is involved in the tree planting, Baricho Riders from Ndia, the Kaguyu Group from Kirinyaga Central, which is involved in the bull fattening, and the Nyakanda Youth Group from Mwea, which grows arrows and bananas.
One of the loan products available to groups and individual youth is the Constituency Youth Enterprise Scheme, which is aimed at youth organized in groups and is intended for business start-ups.
The Easy Youth Enterprise Scheme is aimed at young people who are organized in groups and who can access the loans as individuals. The other loan, known as the Vuka loan, is aimed at people who are already in business and who need a capital injection to expand their business.
For young people interested in agriculture, the fund offers Agri Biz Loan, Talanta Loan for young people in the creative and entertainment industries, and LPO loans for young people that have received offers from national and regional governments.
Youngsters can access up to Sh5 million for the last category of the loan, the official said
The Youth Enterprise Fund was set up in June 2006 as one of the government’s strategies to combat youth unemployment.
With the fund, the government is trying to encourage young people to use entrepreneurship as a means of creating jobs.
By Irungu Mwangi