Community Enterprise Development Conference 2011 – Call for Applications

The Africa Women and Youth Organization (Berlin, Germany Office) in partnership with SALMET, Christine Berger Germany and the German Institute of Human Nutrition proudly presents the Community Enterprise Development (CED) 2011 conference,

The CED 2011 Conference in Potsdam Germany is a 7-day study tour to three mechanized farms – sea food, crop and poultry farms in Berlin, Germany from Sunday, November 27th – Friday, December 2nd 2011.

The training is specifically designed to build the capacity of the communities and help organizations, business owners and agro-allied professionals (mainly farmers) to generate durable economic and social benefits.

Find out how to participate by visiting http://www.yipekenya.org/Community Enterprise Development Conference 2011 – Call for Applications.htm

Kenyan Youth Strategy Meeting 2011 – Nairobi Declaration

13th and 14th October 2011

Preamble

We, the delegates to the Kenyan Youth Strategy Meeting for Rio +20 at the United Nations Complex at Gigiri, Nairobi:

Acknowledge the African indigenous knowledge of the sacred value of the environment to biodiversity wellbeing.

Commit to promote innovations that will develop a green economy and promote the eradication of poverty.

Take note of the past declarations towards environmental sustainability both at the African and Global level, there is an urgent need for structural and infrastructural interventions in policy formulation, implementation and evaluation.

Recognize the current global environmental challenges, particularly climate change, which impact our common future and wellbeing, we commit ourselves to support of the following mechanisms:

  • Good governance and transformative leadership.
  • Promote Education, information exchange, communication and awareness
  • Achieve sustainable agricultural practices to reduce hunger, starvation and enhance food security.
  • Advocate for the development and implementation of sustainable development policies towards a Green Economy.
  • Invest in and promote eco-friendly entrepreneurship and job creation.
  • Attain sustainable green cities and villages.
  • Promote public engagement and participation through culture and volunteerism.
  • Promote Youth Development and capacity building
  • Good Governance and Transformative Leadership

We recognize the role of good governance and transformative sustainable development leadership that is

  • Participatory
  • accountable,
  • transparent and
  • implementable

at national and county levels. We reject governance that is weak on transitioning to a green economy and embrace that which promotes a green economy which engenders human well-being and social equity and respect for the natural environment, and the value of biodiversity and eco-systems, guided by, and accountable to, a new World Environment Organisation with universal membership by all UN Member States.  We also call for mechanisms in such new institutions that allow for youth participation in decision-making.

Youth delegations have to be engaged at all levels of governance in discussing benchmarks for the green economy. The Youth need to be involved in efforts towards policy formulation and development of institutional frameworks. Additionally, youth participation should be integrated at local, national and international assessments towards the development of an index for measuring the progress towards a green economy.

Promote Education, information exchange, communication and awareness

We recommend the adoption of green economy and sustainable development education material at all levels of education and public training initiatives by 2014. We intend to achieve this through the creation of various information sharing methods to various segments of the society.

We acknowledge that education underpins awareness; and awareness is critical to the spread of sustainable development principles through multiple levels in society.

Education serves as a hub for understanding the types of information to be considered when thinking about the green economy; how monitoring will be shaped in the context of the information identified as relevant; and the role of education on the environment to serve as a communication/public awareness tool on sustainable development.

Build an understanding toward the intersection of business, environment and society, in educating all people about the tenets critical to achieve sustainable development, especially the Youth.

Action: Build a national curriculum standard that promotes business in a green society. 2015

Action: Educate students in primary and secondary schools on the green economy by creating incentives that allow NGOs, student groups or CBOs to serve as ambassadors for education of the green economy. 2015

Action:  Build a monitoring service from the information-discovered. Discovery of information should be an integrated process involving key stakeholders with a special emphasis on Youth. Progress towards sustainable development goals should be identified as key thematic working groups, using poverty alleviation and institutional reform as output goals, and involvement of youth and CBOs as an inherent part of the process. 2018

Achieve sustainable agricultural practices to reduce hunger, starvation and enhance food security.

Whereas recognizing the interrelation between our national forest cover and agricultural productivity we recommend the following measures;

  • Increasing our national forest cover to 10% from the current 2% by the year 2015 through creation of green parks, promoting agroforestry and sustainable agribusiness.
  • Phasing out of hazardous chemical fertilizers in arable farming by the year 2015.
  • Promoting the utilization of the green energy technologies to enhance affordable agricultural production.

Advocate for the development and implementation of sustainable development policies towards a Green Economy.

Develop sustainability measures and indicators against which government programmes can be measured and assessed.

Advocate for the legislation of policies on sustainable development that regulate the corporations’ adherence to green economy modules.

Ensure that approximately 25% of the annual government development budget goes towards program initiatives on sustainable development, with clear indication on targets towards green growth in community development and individual technological entrepreneurship.  15% of the 5% funding should be geared towards mobilizing and benchmarking activities to demarcate marginal change of youth involvement in the green economy.  35% of that “Sustainable Development funding” should be geared towards supporting renewable energy and zero-carbon activities that are both sustainable and demonstrably financially viable, in a local and youth-oriented level. 2013

Ensure the programmatic and structural archetype of an environmental body that can hold nations and member-states accountable for reporting and making transparent their pathways and transitions towards a green economy. 2015

Ensure that the youth are fully represented at the National Land Commission.

Invest in and promote eco-friendly entrepreneurship and job creation.

Establish independent institutional mechanisms for promoting green entrepreneurship and growth among youth.

Set up an independent fund to provide start-up financing for green enterprises by youth

Promote technological, business and social innovation through creating enabling policy environment and platforms

Invest in business models that promote community development

Promote alternative and innovative funding and investment in youth green enterprises such as crowd-funding

Sensitize youth at all levels on green entrepreneurship through different channels such as new media

Create enabling business and policy environment for green entrepreneurship, for example, tax waivers for youth green enterprises

Promote public engagement and participation through culture and volunteerism.

We recognize the aspect of culture and indigenous knowledge that embraced green economy through agroforestry, organic fertilizers for sustainable development.

For sustainable development towards green economy, we recommend the need for selfless/political willingness from all levels of governance, private sector and individuals in promoting the green economy.

We recommend that; at all levels of policy formulation and participation, there is need for public engagement and concurrence which will enhance easy implementation and sustainability.

We stand for investment, documentation, promotion and development of best practices in cultural beliefs and practices that further conservation and renewable energy founded on indigenous knowledge.

Promotion of community and youth-led exchanges is key in this regard for effective sharing and transfer of green growth skills through access and exchange of information.

We appreciate that volunteerism will act as a means of inculcating community ownership of sustainable development initiatives.

Harness public engagement and Youth volunteerism to benchmark progress on the role of corporations in sustainable development through Corporate Socially Responsible initiatives.

Attain sustainable green cities and villages

Develop an independent institution to assess business models for micro-enterprises to assess their suitability for tax benefits and other incentives. And to regulate and ensure that micro-enterprises do not compromise environmental sustainability.

Develop comprehensive waste management systems by:

  • Placing increased emphasis on waste separation and recycling systems;
  • Establishing dug-in decomposition landfills where decomposable materials are put to decompose; once decomposed the material can be used as organic manure.

Establish awards to recognize and celebrate the effort of cities and villages that take significant steps in transforming into green cities and villages.

Regulate transportation to reduce congestion by:

  • Establishing dedicated lanes for public transport vehicles and
  • Implement mass transport systems such as rail transport.

Promote Youth Development and capacity building

In order to facilitate and further build capacity in youth to fully engage in and drive development processes to address the above priority areas, we call upon our governments to:

Adopt a Youth Development Index as an indicator of the welfare of the youth in the countries; and as a measure of the youth development.

Review existing and develop new policies and legislation to:

Promote youth innovation and entrepreneurship through structures such as:

  • Talent Academies
  • Technology and Business incubation centres

Protect these innovations through structures and measures such as:

  • Strong and easily accessible Intellectual Property protection
  • Moderate and accommodative tax regimes

Promoting youth participation in international forums through

  • Incorporating youth delegations as part of national delegations to international conferences
  • Providing funding for youth to participate at international
  • Incorporating youth in National policy formulation and implementation

Develop and strengthen national and local structures to provide support and training for youth organizations with emphasis in the areas of:

  • Establishment of community and youth led organizations
  • Leadership and organizational management
  • Strategic Planning
  • Project Management

Require that all government ministries establish youth offices and develop and implement youth engagement strategies to streamline youth participation in the work of the ministries.

Convene national and local youth forums to discuss matters relevant to youth development and make recommendations for action in support of youth development by state and non-state actors.

Improve youth access to information especially with regard to rural communities and informal urban settlements, through Establishment of community ICT Digital Villages

Conclusion

We, as young people, this is what we declare and recommend our government, individuals, businesses, development organizations and all stakeholders to undertake ahead of Rio+20 and beyond. Any action to be taken affects us and our future generation to a greater extent. We care about our planet and we will all work together in creating a more sustainable era. Green Economy is Achievable.

Doing Business in the East African Community 2011

The East African Community is deepening and widening cooperation among its 5 member states. Spurred by the need to expand markets, boost competitiveness and attract investment, East African countries have continued to take steps to make it easier for local firms to start up and operate.

The main findings of the report are:

  • Doing business has become easier in East Africa since 2005.
  • Sharing good practices could bring East Africa closer to global top performers.
  • If each East African country were to adopt the region’s best practice in each of the Doing Business indicators, the region’s average ranking on the ease of doing business would be 18 rather than 117.
  • If the best of East African regulations and procedures were implemented across the board, the business regulatory environment in East Africa, as measured by Doing Business, would be comparable to that in Japan.
  • EAC members are already seeking to learn from one another’s good reform practices through the World Bank Group-sponsored Network of Reformers initiative.

Read the  Doing Business in the East African Community 2011 Report here

New interactive Business Finance Tool launched for Kenyan small business owners

Financing is the lifeblood of a business. Whether one is starting an enterprise or if they are seeking to expand their business – the lack of money can be detrimental.
After having polled its users, the Youth Interactive Portal for Enterprise – YIPE (www.yipekenya.org) found that the reason for the low uptake of formal business financing opportunities among Kenyan small business owners was not due to perceived barriers such as tedious application processes as previously thought.
The main reason amongst the sampled business owners was simply that they did not know of the availability of business financial products on offer.
This finding spurred YIPE to develop and launch its Business Finance Interactive Search Tool (www.yipekenya.org/Business finance.htm) which enables business entrepreneurs in four easy steps to access information of business financial products that suit their stage of business.
This product easily reduces the time and expense required in searching for appropriate financial products. As a value add-on, users can also access information from a database of over 1,000 entries (and rising) of financial sources in the county their business operates in.
Having the available financial product information in one place makes it possible for users to find banks and micro-finance institutions near them as well as compare the various financial products from multiple providers.
Users are given the options to select their business stage, the type of financing required and the county they reside in. YIPE’s business finance tool then presents them with a list of financial institutions (commercial banks, micro-finance institutions etc) whose products match their criteria, along with the providers’ contact information.
The Business Finance Interactive Search Tool is available on www.yipekenya.org/Business finance.htm and is free for all users.
For the time being, YIPEs Business Finance Interactive Search is available for Kenyan based businesses only.
About the Youth Interactive Portal for Enterprise – YIPE

Since its founding in 2008, the Youth Interactive Portal for Enterprise has emerged as a highly valued source of quality content for both aspiring and operating entrepreneurs. The Portal was one of the winning case studies for the Society for New Communications Research 2009 Excellence in New Communications Awards in the Online Publishing – Technology Innovation category. In 2010, YIPE was named the Kenyan partner for the Global Cleantech Ideas competition which is the search for the world’s best social enterprises that proactively address environmental degradation.For more information, visit www.yipekenya.org and follow @yipeorg on Twitter.

On land grab …

Friends of the Earth, an international grassroot environmental network recently published a 36 page report that warns of the developed countries drive for biofuels. The report titled “Africa: up for grabssays that arable land that would provide food is now being turned into biofuel plantations, leading to hunger and increased food insecurity.

The research covering 11 African countries found that at least 5 million hectares – an area the size of Denmark- has been acquired by foreign firms for biofuel production. However in some cases, local farmers and communities are not consulted nor adequately made aware of what selling or leasing their property means.

In July 2010, a draft report by the World Bank, reported in the Financial Times controversially told that investors were targeting countries with weak land governance structures; and failing to deliver on promises of employment and further investment. The final report is yet to be published.

Activists have also claimed that farmers are pushed off their land to live in poverty. Nevertheless the pressure for more land continues to grow with policies in the west such as the European Unions Renewable Energy Directive that calls for 10% of fuels to originate from renewable sources.

Though 80% of sub-Saharan Africa’s population depends on agriculture as a source of income, farmers not only have to contend with adverse weather conditions as a result of climate change, but others either do not get paid for their harvests or receive only a fraction of what they should earn. Little wonder then that with the prospect of cash for land, farmers continue to sell or lease out their property.

A solution to rampant “land grab” has been the imposition of a certification scheme. This like fair-trade would at least ensure that the agreements for sale or lease would be beneficial to the original owners. Domestic markets for biofuels could also be promoted so the farmers can also be beneficiaries.

Has HIV/AIDS fueled donor ‘funding’ dependency in Africa?

“We cannot hope to formulate adequate development theory and policy for the majority of the world’s population who suffer from underdevelopment without first learning how their past economic and social history gave rise to their present underdevelopment” – Andre Gunder Frank, “The Development of Underdevelopment” (1966).

This week marks the convening of the 18th International AIDS Conference in Vienna that assesses the progress made in the fight against the disease. This convening’s keynote speaker was former US President Bill Clinton whose speech called for efficient spending in the face of dwindling resources to address the pandemic. Mr. Clinton while stressing that every wasted dollar put a life at risk said “In too many countries too much money goes to pay for too many people to go to too many meetings, get on too many airplanes,”. He also added that too much money is spent on studies and reports that remain on the shelves.

But how did it come to this? Not that the funding coffers are drying up, but that 28 years after AIDS was discovered, and billions of dollars being spent annually, that HIV/AIDS still looms large on our horizon.

Well, the blame rests on both sides of the so-called development game: non governmental agencies (donors) as well as the beneficiaries. Dealing with HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa has become a long term mutually beneficial relationship among the two.

With all those meetings and carbon emissions generated in attending the meetings, the overall goal for these HIV/AIDS projects (probably long forgotten in the NGOs proposal logical framework) of assisting the beneficiaries has dropped lower down the agenda.

In turn the beneficiaries due to having these agencies around for so long (for some AIDS orphans, all their lives) lack the drive to solve their own problems without external assistance (funding).

And indeed why should it be any different when the number of NGOs continue to rise. Just visit Kibera, Africa’s second largest urban slum and you can almost trip over the number of agencies working in HIV/AIDS, water and sanitation and any other baseline survey assessed need.

Last year while visiting with some young entrepreneurs in Kibera, we at YIPE heard some pretty horrific stories in how donor dependency for “funding” has impacted their lives. These youth were all born in the slum and for the most part of their lives, there were always NGOs providing whatever assistance was required.

As a result where HIV/AIDS stigmatization existed in other areas, in Kibera it was not as bad. But that is not just a reflection of the numerous Voluntary Counseling and Testing Centres (VCT) that abound. The real pay off is that if an individual tests HIV positive, they then not only receive free anti-retrovirals, but also receive assistance, be it in the form of food, clothes or maybe rent money. Thus apart from the implementing agency carrying out the HIV/AIDS project, the beneficiaries also became recipients of what they call “funding”.

One of the Kibera youth told us the story of a young man that visited a VCT centre and “sadly” tested negative. Crestfallen that he could not receive “funding”, the young man set out on a mission to reverse that diagnosis.

Not an ideal marriage

This symbiotic dependency between NGOs and their beneficiaries really needs to be further interrogated. It’s a shame that this is the 18th International AIDS conference and it seems that apart from the condom and abstinence, there is no other readily available and inexpensive way to prevent HIV infections.

Why is it that after all these years Uganda which was a best practice case in how to combat the disease which almost decimated the country’s future economic development prospects now has a rising infection rate? Why is it that the majority of these new cases are not among the red zone population segments such as commercial sex workers and ling distance truck drivers but among married couples? Or is it that there are absolutely no HIV/AIDS focused non governmental organisations in that country?

Those questions are for the INGO, NGO, FBO, CSO and any other “O” professing to have made an impact all these years. Now here’s one for the beneficiaries, particularly the youth. Why do we have to suffer one more AIDS related death on top of the 71 million people Africa has lost since the disease was discovered?

A new approach – People, Planet, Project

This year when countries have to renew their commitments to the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria, in the face of the global economic crisis, activists are calling for new approaches for raising funds, including airline ticket taxes.

However this will still lead to the same scenario with communities being put on the back burner in their zeal to raise funding for projects.

The solution here is to encourage social entrepreneurs to enter into the fray. The difference between a social enterprise and an NGO is that the entrepreneur has to be ultimately concerned with having community acceptance (if not involvement as employees, distributors …). Their models are sustainable and unlike NGOs they have to be accountable to shareholders and the community (market) they operate in.

Social enterprises also by virtue of their type of entity have to be transparent in terms of finance and corporate governance. Profit also would be a useful tool to assess the uptake of socially marketed products such as female condoms. Maybe some unsuccessful NGO projects could have been abandoned sooner if there was a price tag to measure success.

In retail speak, once a consumer buys into the story behind the product, they own it. Isn’t that sustainability?

The best outcome of this 18th AIDS Conference would be a new approach in ensuring that the implementing agencies do have the “moral standing” as Bill Clinton put it to ask for funding to do their “jobs faster, better and cheaper” – something most entrepreneurs do on a daily basis.

Just how many pirated DVD shops can a city have?

Yesterday we got an interesting comment on an old post Kenya’s Youth Council Bill is merely a means to keep the old guard on top:

Yipe,

I have a suspicion you might be interested in an ongoing blogging discussion between Al Kags (alkags.com) and Sonia (http://sonia.elimisha.us). The two bloggers are having a debate on their individual blogs (each blogging their response on their own blogs).

The discussion: is national policy in Kenya actually appropriately set to support young people effectively and are the funds available in Kenya being appropriately used to make Kenyan youth successful?

It would be great to see your views (maybe on your blog) on the subject

On reading both posts (sides), here is our two cents worth:

There is absolutely no point in promoting enterprise among the youth unless they are competitive.

Last year regarding the reason why many youth-owned enterprises collapse within 12 months, we posted the following:

“Taking a walk through African cities, one notices that the enterprises being operated by the youth are generally service oriented, and fall within a narrow category of retail business types. There is hardly any manufacturing and even more disturbing is the lack of innovativeness on the part of youth entrepreneurs. Just how many pirated DVD shops can a city have? The answer to that question depends on how many young entrepreneurs there are. This may sound cynical, but if one just strolls through Africa’s business districts patterns of mobile phone accessory shops, small clothing stalls and the emerging number of cramped cyber café’s tell the story of an over-saturation of enterprise but no individual firm growth. It’s no wonder most of these outfits hardly last a year, when the young entrepreneurs venture into the next big thing in small business.”

You can get the full post here http://yipeorg.blogspot.com/2009/06/ethical-business-revolution-is-emerging.html

Therefore as well meaning and consultative as the National Youth Policy is, to us at Yipe there is no point in having a policy or National Youth Council or even a Youth Enterprise Fund, for that matter if all we do is regurgitate the same old business ideas.

So even though as Sonia says “the National Youth Policy did to help organize young people and more importantly those who support youth led development” at the end of the day the only realistic youth development policy is (to put it crudely) the one that puts enough money in their pockets. And the only way to do that in an economy where youth unemployment constitutes 78% of total unemployment is to promote growth and competitive oriented sustainable enterprises.