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Strengthening Evidence in Enhancing Food security Last-miles Communities through Outreach Youth Champions (SE-EFSOYC).

Enhance food security in rural & urban last-mile communities through outreach youth champions' climate smart agricultural social enterprises

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Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

Kenyatta University

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Other

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.

Empower and Serve Kenya (EMPSERVE- Kenya)

Website of Legally Registered Entity

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • 1-3 years

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?


Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?


Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Nairobi County Kajiado County Makueni County

What country is your selected Place located in?


Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

We are familiar with the selected counties. We also have had a previous interaction with the communities in the selected place and have implemented a pilot project on enhancement of food security in these counties. Kenyatta University is in the phase-out stage of a pilot project - Enhancing Food Security in Rural and Urban Informal Settlement through Outreach Youth Champions (EFSOYC). The project deployed 16 outreach youth champions (youth in transition from college to work) in these 3 counties in Kenya to start a food security social enterprise training in their local communities after a 2-weeks food security social enterprise training.These counties are important to us since the communities face food insecurity due to them being urban poor residents or residents of semi-arid areas.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

Nairobi County is a cosmopolitan urban area which is prone to food insecurity especially among the informal settlements populace. The spaces for agricultural food production are limited or non-existent. This leads to over-reliance on purchasing of food and this exacerbates the economic vulnerability of the urban residents.

Kajiado and Makueni Counties are semi-arid areas which face food insecurity due to extreme climatic conditions, prone to droughts and famine as well as acute water shortage. Specifically, Kajiado is a predominantly a pastoralist community which depends heavily on livestock for food.  Makueni has extreme weather patterns that do not support agricultural production. Thus it's residents heavily rely of food from other neighbouring areas(counties). The weather conditions in these semi arid areas do not support rain-fed agriculture and tend to accelerate the spoilage of perishable foods.

The aforementioned characteristics of these 3 counties severely compromise the availability, access and utilization of food by community members.

What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)


Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

The agricultural sector is the backbone of the Kenya’s economy. Consequently, the achievement of national food security is a key objective of the agricultural sector The agricultural sector in Kenya contributes to 24% and 27% directly and indirectly to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) respectively. Despite this, the country's food system still faces major challenges resulting in food insecurity among majority of Kenyans. Over 10 million people are food insecure, a majority relying on food relief. Several factors emanating from environmental, economic, socio-cultural factors exacerbate these challenges. Specifically climate change resulting in drought, famine and floods, high cost of farm inputs, high food prices, ineffective farming methods and displacement of people from arable lands. In urban and rural areas in particular, poor infrastructure, inaccessibility to markets, limited access to financial resources and farm inputs, lack of diversification, limited recognition of agricultural activities in such areas, lack of access to land, and inadequate knowledge and uptake of smart agricultural practices, as well as pollution contribute to food insecurity. Additionally, food consumption in Kenya continues to outperform the food production. This threatens the achievement of SDG 2 ,Kenya’s Vision 2030 and the Big Four agenda in Kenya. In the 2019 Global Hunger Index, Kenya ranks 86th out of 117 qualifying countries. Further, Kenya has a high number of youth comprising approximately 70% of the population. The agricultural sector if often deemed as an unattractive livelihood option by many youth. This has led to underutilization of youth as influencers and vision carriers of food security in Kenya. Yet young people can be involved as leaders, innovators and problem – solvers for attainment of food security.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

In an effort to stimulate this shift (under utilization of youth in driving the food security agenda in Kenya) and offer the youth opportunities to contribute to food security Kenyatta University (KU) proposes to implement the “Strengthening Evidence in Enhancing Food security Last-miles Communities through Outreach Youth Champions (SE-EFSOYC)” project. According to FAO (2014), the first principal challenge to involvement of youth in food security efforts is insufficient access to knowledge, information and education. In Kenya close to 78% of the population is below the age 30. However, despite the burgeoning youth population, evidence reveals that youth engagement in food security and nutrition is declining, perhaps due to knowledge gap and huge interest on white color jobs (Maina and Maina, 2015)[i][1] .This proposed project will therefore address the knowledge gap in involving university youth in implementing sustainable food security and nutrition initiatives. The proposed project is an expansion of a pilot project by KU which is currently in its phase-out stage. The pilot project is titled Enhancing Community Food Security in Urban and Rural Areas through Outreach Youth Champions (EFSOYC). It is against this backdrop that Kenyatta University proposes this project to expand the knowledge, experience and practices through EFSOYC project improvement and build a larger cohort of Outreach youth champions of Food security in Kenya. The successful implementation of the project will contribute towards realization of  SGD 2, Kenya's vision 2030, the Big Four Agenda and Kenyatta University’s Vision and mission. Specifically this proposed project is in line with the University’s philosophy of sensitivity and responsiveness to societal needs.

 [1] Maina, W. N., & Maina, F. M. P. (2012). Youth Engagement in Agriculture in Kenya: Challenges and Prospects. Update, 2.





High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

The goal of the project is to enhance food security and nutrition in rural and urban informal settlements through outreach youth champions innovative social enterprises targeting the most food insecure farming households by leveraging on new and existing knowledge and best practices for youth involvement in food security and nutrition. 

The proposed project focuses on achieving food and nutrition security amongst last mile communities. We are targeting the most vulnerable communities in rural and urban informal settlements, as well as semi arid areas by building their livelihoods resilience through community engagement in co-creating initiatives that enhance food security and putting the youth at the core of implementation. Through the food security and nutrition social enterprises owned and operated by graduating youth (OYCs), we hope to improve the productivity and efficiency of food and agricultural systems in the last-miles communities. The highly trained OYCs will build the capacity of the vulnerable households in target communities to adopt better practices in production, harvesting, storage and marketing of agronomic yields. Additionally, through self-help groups, community based organizations and private sector linkages, we hope to strengthen the participation of the vulnerable household in the value chain and promote entrepreneurship among target community beneficiaries.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

We propose to enroll 12 pairs of Outreach youth champions (youth in transition from college to work) to design food security social enterprise initiatives through design thinking training, co-creation with the target communities and eventually deployment of the initiative in their local communities targeting rural and urban informal settlements. In the deployment phase, each OYC pair will cascade the food security social enterprise to at least 20 households through adaptive training and knowledge transfer, selling of food security solutions and reinvesting to reach more households, organizing the households into self-help groups (SHG), and incentivized farming to the farming households. Through the OYC food security initiatives, the project intends to reach 300 households with food security solutions in the last-miles communities to improve their food systems.

In addition to deploying more OYCs, there will be a knowledge and experience sharing Phase among OYCs, communities and food security practitioners. SE-EFSOYC project will use the already designed food security social enterprise manual to train the OYCs in preparation for deployment. We will actualize the use of the mobile app (Smart Food Security Solutions) to share knowledge, experience and lessons among the OYCs, food security practitioners and the targeted communities. This will allow discussion on food security topics, sharing of food security resources including photos, videos and writeups, ‘meet a mentor’, a community of practice meetups, and opportunities and events sharing. The proposed project will use the resources panel to customize the food security social enterprise manual fit for online learning.

In addition, the SE-EFSOYC project will hold one National Food Security Summit themed around the role of youths in enhancing food security. We will complement this knowledge sharing with exchange visits amongst the OYCs, and eventually produce a publication collating lessons on youth in food security social enterprises, best practices in knowledge sharing on food security and lessons on household-centered solutions co-creating, which will be disseminated in different forums. To be able to authoritatively share the lessons, we will adopt an evidence-based case management system on CommCare to track the progress of OYC solutions, household food security, and activities in the App.  Additionally, we will work with Empower and Serve Kenya, a local NGO as a community liaison partner as well as have the current OYCs(participants in the pilot project) take the roles of community agents and mentors of the new OYCs.

The food security and nutrition social enterprise model that SE-EFSOYC project will adopt is part of our sustainability plan. OYCs will be supported to register their initiatives into social enterprises and we will solicit their membership in Social Enterprise Society of Kenya (SESOK). The enterprises owned by the OYCs will continue running to serve more households independently after our exit. The community of practice enabled by the App, will continue offering mentorship and serve as a platform to share knowledge, experience and best practice on promotion of community food security and nutrition long after we exit. Additionally, we will link the OYCs and the households to capitalization and mentorship opportunities and form Self-Help Groups (SHG) that will sustain the network and catalyze growth and uptake of food security and nutritional initiatives.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Referred to link by a colleague through social media

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Thank you very much