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Empowering Young Farmers Initiative (EYFI): Making Agriculture more attractive for the millennial in Africa

The EYFI aims to revitalize the Ugandan agricultural sector by engaging the much needed human capital to effect change.

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EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA

The Uganda Bureau of Statistics revealed that the share of unemployed youth (national definition, 18-30 years) among the total unemployed persons in the country was 64 percent. Given the rapid growth of the Ugandan population—three-quarters of the population are below the age of 30 years—coupled with the fact that the youth are getting better educated through higher access to primary and secondary education, a stronger focus on job creation for this cohort of people cannot be overemphasized. EYFI is an initiative that will maximize the success quotient of agric start-up enterprises by offering them best opportunities with minimum risk. EYFI will help new and existing agribusinesses take their company to the next level through our varied business experience, proven methodologies, and access to resources that address the needs of agribusinesses. Our Approach We will help agribusinesses form a solid foundation for their growth plans, by: Providing analysis of financial and operational performance, processes and procedures Assisting with the development of a Strategic Plan Assisting with the development and execution of a Business Plan Providing other planning and project management services to define and achieve client goals Building an ongoing relationship that fosters continual improvement of operations

WHO BENEFITS?

Our idea will benefit the 5 million youth unemployed and young farmers in Uganda who lack access to actionable route out of poverty. Millions of Ugandan youths are stuck in urban centers trapped in the cycle of unemployment rendering their villages to remain in subsistence farming practices, a scenario that should be altered by literate graduates to reduce household poverty.

TELL US MORE ABOUT YOU

RGFN is an award winning youth-led organization which seeks to revolutionize the way African youths engage with agriculture. One of its programs, the RGFN-EYFI trains young people, equipping them with the skills they need to grow and sustain viable agricultural businesses upon graduation.

WHERE WILL YOUR IDEA BE IMPLEMENTED?

  • Uganda

EXPERIENCE IN IMPLEMENTATION COUNTRY(IES)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

EXPERTISE IN SECTOR

  • I’ve worked in a sector related to my idea for over a year

HOW HAS YOUR IDEA CHANGED BECAUSE OF BENEFICIARY FEEDBACK?

During the initial pilot for EYFI, one major issue we discovered is that of language barriers. Not too many youth speak fluent English or understand certain terminology. In strategizing EYFI further, we included a community translator who inturn help break things down in the local language for easy assimilation. This strategy has really helped to reshape EYFI . We now ensured that 70% of our team are from the local community.

HOW IS YOUR IDEA UNIQUE?

The agricultural sector represents so much potential but is so severely neglected that it is often hard for young people to get past the image of poverty and drudgery. However, in an economy that is highly under-diversified and is unable to support the majority of its people, we must take a closer look at the agricultural sector as a source of employment and development, in short as a "Weapon of mass construction." There quite a few micro-funding or seed-funding projects “out there”, however, few focus on agripreneurs, our niche market. But beyond purely providing 6 weeks incubation program and “flexible loan”, we offer the selected candidates an additional full one year’s long mentoring and training program: These youth will be trained on how to use online media to network and connect to others, and advocate for their project. They will also be integrated into the EYFI mentoring program. We don’t want to just “fund” the ideas of these youth; we want to equip them with the right tools to turn their ideas to a success and by connecting them to experienced people (senior entrepreneurs or scientists) working in their field.

WHY DO YOU THINK THAT THE PROBLEM YOUR IDEA SOLVES FOR HAS NOT BEEN SOLVED?

Youth Unemployment is fatal: 60% of Ugandan are unemployed, 90% are youths; 48% in rural areas migrate to cities for better opportunities, which are unavailable and thus end up in drugs, crime and slums. The agricultural sector has a lot of potential for employment, however many youth are not interested because there is no proper motivation, and the right incentives. This is where EYFI comes in.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR UNANSWERED QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS IDEA?

As an organization with focus on scalability, we are always researching new strategy to make agriculture attractive to young people, and would like to try some new methodologies to encourage more youth to embrace agriculture as the new normal. We have ideas about training, mentorship, ICT support, community co-working space and funding supports that we bring to the table, but we would like to discover even more new innovative methodologies to adopt in order to make farming much more attractive for the youth across Africa.

IS THIS IDEA NEW FOR YOU OR YOUR ORGANIZATION?

Rainbow Gate Foundation is an organization working to build a prosperous rural Africa. We initiate EYFI to help farmers to increase their harvests, build their incomes and sustain natural resources, partnering with governments and the private sector to find effective ways to fight poverty. We work closely with local communities, who actively participate in all the decisions about our work. Typically, our staffs are from the local area, can speak the local language and have a deep understanding of the local context.

WHO WILL IMPLEMENT THIS IDEA?

Rainbow Gate Foundation will be responsible for implementing the idea. Our team has several years of experience working across Africa and a good team of volunteers present in Uganda to help make the idea successful. EYFI`s foundation is based on the full partnership with community-based organizations, such as farmer`s associations, cooperatives, forums and non-governmental organizations, to mobilize farmers and youth and to develop social capital.
Young Farmer

PROBLEM

Youth Unemployment is fatal: 60% of Ugandans are unemployed, 90% are youths; 48% in rural areas migrate to cities for better opportunities, which are unavailable and thus end up in drugs, crime and slums. The agricultural sector has a lot of potential for employment, however many youth are not interested because there is no proper motivation, and the right incentives. This is where EYFI comes in.

SOLUTION

EYFI offer basic business training, 1-year mentor-ship & free consultation to youth in rural villages, enabling them to create, develop & grow their agric businesses. Youth will learn about efficient farming techniques, managerial tools & business & marketing planning & management. To provide credit, EYFI will launched the Rolling Fund via partnership with NGOS, Uganda Bank of Agriculture & Enterprise Bank, with two credit lines to young farmers. EYFI will provide collaborative networks & technologies(remote sensing, GIS (spatial information system), drones, mobile technologies, Internet and bio-informatics), through EYFI Community Communications & Information Centers in communities that don’t have access to Internet or even telephone. EYFI will also build a social network for young farmers, where they will connect themselves, exchange solutions, access e-learning & tutoring models.

EXAMPLE: how the solution will make a difference

The agricultural sector represents so much potential but is so severely neglected that it is often hard for young people to get past the image of poverty and drudgery. However, in an economy that is unable to support the majority of its people, we must take a closer look at the agricultural sector as a source of employment.

CASE STUDY

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young farmers at work

Olushola, 26 years old trained engineer without a job or basic income, he returned from the Urban center to his village, where he approached EYFI Consultants, and immediate fall in love with fish farming. He was then trained by EYFI following pre-defined criterias, got a US$1,000 loan, and launch is fish farming business. He was immediately enrolled into the EYFI ALUMNI NETWORK where he continues to get mentor-ship for a year. Today Olushola is now exporting dried, packed, and branded fish into neighboring countries. He now has a US$430 monthly income. He brought his family to work with him and is expanding his business to new areas, such as Bee keeping and maize farming that is been sold to big companies.

SPREAD STRATEGIES: Moving forward

EYFI will focused on adequate selection and training of 80 youths per year, with 45% increase in numbers trained in each subsequent year. Approximately 800 youths will be trained in 5 years. Raise US$1000 for each youth in the first year as start-up capital for their business, with a 50% annual increment in operating capital over the 3 years for growth and expansion of the business. Each youth setting up a business that becomes sustainable by the end of 3-year. Approximately 700 independent businesses aimed to be established in 3-5 years, with each capable of employing 5 other people.

FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY PLAN: As an NGO, we hope to get support from donors through partnership/government agencies or direct support from willing international donors, and partnerships with financial institutions. Many organizations are working towards empowering young people and investing in the agricultural sector. So we will be leveraging on that to make EYFI sustainable. Income from such partnerships will ensure our financial sustainability. We are also looking out for different grants and competitions that we can win to acquire funds that will sustain out activities.

PARTNERSHIPS: EYFI`s foundation is based on the full partnership with community-based organizations, such as farmer`s associations, cooperatives, forums and non-governmental organizations, to mobilize farmers and youth and to develop social capital. So, we will engage and partner with 5 community-based organizations and two regional organizations in Uganda.

WHAT PROJECTS AND AGRIPRENEURS QUALIFY?

 • The prospective agripreneurs have to be younger than 35, at the time of making inquiry at the center or responding to call for ideas. The project is open for unemployed youths and agripreneurs from any part of Uganda.

• EYFI will focus on wider domain of agriculture: crops, fisheries, forestry, livestock or sustainable management of natural resources in function of food security, or within the larger supply chain of these, like inputs (seeds, fertilizers,..) and value-added services and market access.

• The EYFI supported projects have to be concrete, viable and sustainable.

 • It has to be clear what the actual seed funding will be used for.

 • We will only fund projects from individuals or small entrepreneurial projects

SHARE ONE SENTENCE ABOUT THE IMPACT YOU WOULD LIKE THIS PROJECT TO HAVE FIVE YEARS FROM NOW, AND ONE QUESTION YOU NEED TO ANSWER TO GET THERE.

EYFI will focused on adequate selection and training of 80 youths per year, with 45% increase in numbers trained in each subsequent year. Approximately 800 youths will be trained in 5 years.

MY ORGANIZATION'S OPERATING BUDGET FOR 2015 WAS:

  • Under $100,000

MY INTENDED BENEFICIARIES ARE:

  • Within 50 km of where our team does most of its work

HOW LONG HAVE YOU AND YOUR COLLEAGUES BEEN WORKING ON THIS PILOT PROJECT TOGETHER?

  • More than a year

WHY ARE YOU INTERESTED IN JOINING AMPLIFY'S PORTFOLIO OF INNOVATORS?

Joining the amplify team of innovator would be a great experience. This kind of opportunity stimulates creativity and innovation and taps into the inner child. There is no doubt that this is the type of platform we have been looking for, where entrepreneurship marries innovation, a place where our background and young experience and skills can be put to use and together with others, make real things happen. We are looking forward to learning and collaborating with others to better our world.

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Photo of Chelsea Takamine
Team

Hi RainbowGate Foundation Team! Amplify and our experts have some comments and questions for you - we encourage you to think about this feedback as you continue to improve and refine your idea.

-How many communities is EYFI trying to operate in currently? Within the next year?
-Does EYFI advise young farmers on their selected agribusiness area?
-Who is providing the 6-week training and 1-year consultative services? What is their typical background?

In case you missed it, OpenIDEO and Amplify hosted a Storytelling Office Hour - https://youtu.be/g0gZRR6T9tA. Storytelling is an incredibly useful tool to articulate an idea and help make it come to life! Don't forget - December 18th is your last day to make changes to your idea on the OpenIDEO platform.

Looking forward to reading more!

Photo of RainbowGate Foundation
Team

Thank you OpenIDEO team. First, the project will focus on two communities namely Namisita, and Kamuli. And over the course of three years, we aim to reach 30-50 communities as we scale. Secondly, EYFI equip rural youth with the knowledge and skills to lift themselves from extreme poverty in a self sufficient manner. We are doing this by 1) training and advising them on the choice of produce such as fish farming, poultry production, organic ginger farming etc 2) by so doing, we are able to pool together these small farmers’ produce and create a market linkage for mass sales.
EYFI also introduces Farmer Ownership Model. The importance of the Farmer Ownership Model is about unlocking the tremendous economic potential of agricultural commodities to give farmers a chance to move out of poverty. By unlocking opportunities for farmers to engage at higher levels of an agricultural commodity value chain, the Farmer Ownership Model not only increases incomes but brings fairness and equitable power relations along the value chain leading to creation of shared value for all involved actors to be winners to ensure sustainability. This also gives the small farmers an opportunity to have a combined production that can attract larger buyers—e.g. wholesale grocers and bottling companies—enabling the farmers to get better prices and high-value markets they couldn’t access before.
Thirdly, Rainbow Gate Foundation will be responsible for implementing the idea. Comprising young, international teams from the areas of agriculture, marketing, design, science, technology, education and sustainability, our team has several years of experience working across Africa and a good team of volunteers present in Uganda to help make the idea successful. EYFI`s foundation is based on the full partnership with community-based organizations, such as farmer`s associations, cooperatives, forums and non-governmental organizations, to mobilize farmers and youth and to develop social capital.

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