Creating Sustainable Rural Livelihoods for Kenyan Youth, by DR. MELVIN D'LIMA

All Kenyan counties have a burgeoning youthful population segment. Approximately 60% of our population are below 35 years of age. Our education system creates a dependency in these young people, on formal employment, yet we are in a post industrial dispensation.

Agriculture, much of it slash and burn, forms the backbone of the economy. The question that begs an answer is how do we create sustainable livelihoods for all these individuals without consigning them to being minor players in the supply chain of second hand goods, cars and substandard prescription drugs, among other, fast moving consumer goods.

In order to stem the rural - urban migration of youth, it becomes necessary to create sustainable livelihoods for them, at the grassroots. Agribusiness will sort out the issue of food scarcity; water and sanitation businesses will address water scarcity and prevent disease; healthcare businesses will prevent disease and make people more economically productive; information technology related businesses will enable our youth to do business outside their geographical location.

A business oriented approach targeting bottom of the pyramid players into monetizing sustainable, African grassroots solutions to African problems, is urgently needed. This is a multidisciplinary task involving communities, development economists, business development models, sector specialists and ultimately changing mindsets at all tiers of the policy to operations continuum.

We must water the roots to get the fruits of economic and social development. For us to progress we must harness the talents of our youth and give them a sense of fulfillment. To be honest, life in the urban and peri-urban areas of Kenya is too stressful and is spawning a growing number of social deviants and criminals. We can do something about it. Wylde International has solutions for creating sustainable rural livelihoods. Talk to our consultants, trainers and coaches for help.

Melvin D'lima is a Business Coach in the Enterprise Development Department of Wylde International a people centred source of Consultancy, Training and Coaching for Small and Medium Enterprises.