The 2016 National Youth Stakeholders Forum for Technoserve in partnership with MasterCard and SRYDE Program Meeting was held this June at Safari Park Hotel.
Advantech Business Development Assistant Ritah Mwangi attended the meeting, joining other national stakeholders from around the country. The meeting was themed, ‘ICT A TOOL FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP’
The objectives of this forum were;
- Understanding ICT utilization by youth
- Identify gaps and or opportunities in ICT for youths
- Lessons learnt and way forward in regards to ICT utilization by youths
TechnoServe is a nonprofit organization which crafts business solution to poverty and has for the past 44 years been working as a catalyst for youth, men and women entrepreneurship through various programmes in at least 33 developing countries across the globe. Its activities are majorly concentrated in Asia, Latin America and Sub Saharan Africa. Although it has been actively engaged in economic transformation of both rural and urban households in East Africa for more than a decade, it is the STRYDE program which started in 2011 targeting young people in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda that has cemented its social economic footprints in the region.
Strengthening Rural Youth Development through Enterprise (STRYDE) programme aims at empowering youths in Sub Saharan Africa considering that they make up to 60 percent of unemployment in the region. The programme made its way into the region after undertaking a study in Kenya to identify needs for youths’ entrepreneurship. With funding from the MasterCard Foundation, TechnoServe in 2011 rolled out STRYDE programme in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. The STRYDE programme is divided in three stages which include three months training. Sessions for the first stage are organized twice a week for approximately 3-4 hours and are led by Business Counsellors who local youths are given specialized training by trainers. This is succeeded by another three months of intensive care training and the final eight months follow up-training which is mostly activity oriented.
Based on successes and lessons learnt in phase one of the programs, STRYDE 2.0 has already commenced, roping in new geographies in Northern Uganda and Tanzania. The five-year programme which started in August 2014 and is expected to end in July 2019 is targeting 48,015 youths and is funded by the MasterCard Foundation.
In a brief summary of the forum which revolved around the theme ‘ICT as a tool for entrepreneurship, it was observed that indeed ICT has the potential to propel young people to economic independence as it can help them prepare for future jobs and help grow other business through marketing. He welcomed more stakeholders to support rural youths through novel initiatives like TechnoServe’s STRYDE programme. Nonetheless he noted that ICT infiltration in rural area is still faced with a host of challenges including poor access and infrastructure, making it very expensive for the low income rural population.