OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Yeesal Agri Hub

An agribusiness tech Hub to support the local tech innovation community and youth entrepreneurship in Kenya.

Photo of Elisabetta Demartis
8 3

Written by

EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA

Agriculture employs between 40 and 70% of youth in Africa, where productivity is lower and access to social protection schemes is rare, facing problems like access to land, productive inputs, technology and access to markets. Nevertheless agriculture remains the sector with the majority of employment opportunities for young people in the foreseeable future. Digital online networks, text messages to provide agricultural information and mobile application to help farmers save money and access to finance are just few exemples of how ICTs is involving youth in agriculture, helping grow the agribusiness sector and creating new job opportunities. We want to challenge traditional prejudices and trying to improve the attraction of farming as a profession for youth through ICTs and social entreprenership. We want to launch the first Agri tech Hub in Kenya that wants to respond to the need of having a concrete possibility to create job opportunities in the agribusiness sector through an innovative perspective. Our programme aims to create an Agri FabLab space to enable the exchange between state-of-the-art technolgy and rural realities, by training youth to generate viable agribusiness activities and facilitate the access to finance by using ICTs. Our co-working space allows an interdisciplinary community based ecosystem to come up together to share knowledge, develop solutions and connect the rural zones with skilled youth who live in the towns.

WHO BENEFITS?

Our main objective is to empower youth on social entrepreneruship, sustainable agriculture and ICTs. We want to target both the youth living in towns, by prividing them with the necessary tools and knowledges to become an “agroprepreneur”, and those living in the rural areas, by facilitating their interaction and knowledge sharing with those living in towns to stimulate a participative collaboration process able to bring technological innovation within indigenous agricultural knowledges.

TELL US MORE ABOUT YOU

Yeesal Agri Hub is an Agri tech Hub based in Senegal, that has already built a consinstent network of partners across Africa and Europe and built a physical Hub in a rural area. The co-founder works between Senegal and Kenya and she found the need to develop a synergy between West and East Africa.

WHERE WILL YOUR IDEA BE IMPLEMENTED?

  • Kenya

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?

The feedback from the intended beneficiaries was really helpful to define the main functions and objectives of Yeesal Agri Hub. Especially the Experience Map exercise allowed us to well define the possible users and understand the importance of linking the youth from the rural zones with those living in town to facilitate knowledge sharing and transfer of competences. This important point was not fully took in consideration before the beneficiary feedback phase.

HOW IS YOUR IDEA UNIQUE?

African Governments recently started promoting entrepreneurship with a focus on the agricultural sector, with the objective of creating job opportunities for youth and fight informal sector. However, the results are not yet evident and communication between institutions, private sector and the young people is still ineffective, especially for youth living in the rural zones. Yeesal Agri Hub is a self-motivated initiative composed by a community of youth (agronomists, IT specialists, expert in marketing, farmers, entrepreneurs) who empower an ecosystem able create entrepreneurship possibilities. In order to achieve sustainable implementation and scaling of those developed innovative ideas, we support youth to create social enterprises by applying user centered design and prototyping methods. Our participative method will help develop new efficient and effective solutions for the agriculture and food production sectors and link youth with investors. Moreover, there are any similar initiative of this kind in Kenya, while a strong community of youth and entrepreneur is present in the country, representing an active target for our initiative.

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

The main problem is that agriculture is not considered as a profitable sector for youth, especially those living in urban areas, who leave the rural zones to look for uncertain jobs in the towns. But agriculture remains the sector with the majority of employment opportunities for young people. The power of tech hubs and business incubators in creating employment is already proved by several examples in Africa and elsewhere, but there are few cases of similar spaces dedicated to agriculture. Yeesal Agri Hub wants to bridge this knowledge gap by challenging traditional prejudices and try to increase the attraction of farming as a profession for youth through ICTs and social entrepreneuship.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR UNANSWERED QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS IDEA?

How will we engage the youth who have any interest in agriculture? Will it be easy/difficult the interaction between youth who get a different background and education? How to create a solid network of partners and possible investors?

IS THIS IDEA NEW FOR YOU OR YOUR ORGANIZATION?

This idea is not new for our organization. Yeesal Agri Hub is an established Association developed in Senegal and launched one year ago (http://yeesalagrihub.org/ | https://www.facebook.com/yeesalagrihub/?fref=ts), with the objective of creating a project that can be scaled up in other African countries. Youth employment in agriculture is nowadays one of the priorities for governments and development agencies, since 265 million of young people live in Sub Saharan Africa, (15% of the global youth population), but this area continues to be of the ten lowest-ranked countries in the 2016, while agriculture offers many employment possibilities. Yeesal Agri Hub wants to adapt the model already developed in Senegal to the need of youth living in Kenya and facilitate the interconnection and knowledge sharing between young people and agricultural practitioners living in West and East Africa.

WHO WILL IMPLEMENT THIS IDEA?

The idea will be implemented by Yeesal Agri Hub and 3 local partners in Kenya: BRCK, CEFA and Slow Food. Yeesal will send some members from Senegal for a period in Kenya to work closely with the local community. CEFA is an Ngo based in Nairobi and will be in charge of the general cordination. BRCK is a company and will provide the space and a technology community of AgriTech experts in Nairobi while Slow Food, based in Nakuru, will facilitate the interaction with youth farmers in the rural area.

Africa is a continent of young people and agricultural opportunities. According to the the Youth development Index report (Commonwealth, 2016) in 2015, 265 million young people lived in SubSaharan Africa, accounting for 15% of the global youth population and this area continues to be of the ten lowest-ranked countries in the 2016. Agriculture employs between 40 and 70% of youth, where productivity is lower and access to social protection schemes is rare, facing problems like access to land, productive inputs, technology and access to markets. Nevertheless agriculture remains the sector with the majority of employment opportunities for young people in the foreseeable future. Digital online networks, text messages to provide agricultural information and mobile application to help farmers save money and access to finance are just few exemples of how ICTs is involving youth in agriculture, helping grow the agribusiness sector and creating new job opportunities. We want to challenge traditional prejudices and trying to improve the attraction of farming as a profession for youth through ICTs and social entreprenership. We want to launch the first Agri tech Hub in Kenya to respond to the need of having a concrete possibility to create job opportunities in the agribusiness sector through an innovative perspective, empowering the knowledge sharing between the West and the East Africa. We have already built a consinstent network of partners across Africa and Europe and built a physical Hub in a rural area in Senegal by using local recycled material and agroecology techniques. We want to replicate our experience in Kenya and create an Agri FabLab space to enable the exchange between state-of-the-art technolgy and rural realities, by training youth to generate viable agribusiness activities and facilitate the access to finance by using ICTs. Our co-working space will allow an interdisciplinary community based ecosystem to come up together to share knowledge, develop solutions and connect the rural zones with skilled youth who live in the towns. 

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.

Five years from now our Agri Tech Hub will represent the focal point in Kenya for tech entrepreneurs who want to invest in agriculture and for youth working in the rural zones who look for expertises and support to solve local problems in agriculture. A question to answer: how to keep a community of multi skilled youth involved in the long term and ensure a profitable collaboration between those living in town and those working in agriculture in rural areas?

MY ORGANIZATION'S OPERATING BUDGET FOR 2015 WAS:

  • Between $100,000 and $500,000

MY INTENDED BENEFICIARIES ARE:

  • Within 50 km of where our team does most of its work
  • Within 100 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?

We are interested in joining Amplify's portfolio of innovators because we strongly believe in the cross-collaboration and knowledge transfer between youth coming from different African countries and internationally in general, who can bring expertise and skills able to improve local projects and open collaboration possibilities and synergies.

8 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of William Lanier
Team

Hello Elisabetta Demartis and Yeesal Agri Hub,
Do you think grain moisture testing to stop Postharvest loss like aflatoxin would be a skill youth could use to meet employers and learn the Agricultural market place?

See <https://challenges.openideo.com/goto/challenge/youth-empowerment-challenge/jobs-for-youth-to-reverse-cereal-grain-postharvest-loss>

William
Jobs for Youth to Reverse Postharvest loss

Photo of Elisabetta Demartis
Team

Dear William, thank you for your question and sorry for my late answer. I think that grain moisture testing to stop Postharvest loss like aflatoxin can certainly be a skill that youth could use to make a profitable business. Thank you.

Photo of William Lanier
Team

Hello Elisabetta Demartis and Yeesal Agri Hub,
Thank you for the reply. Should we exchange email <neveridlestorage(at)gmail..com>
and user experience maps and then collaborate so the experts see how our innovative team would help youth implement, learn and establish moisture testing business that reverse Postharvest loss like aflatoxin?
The moisture testing project believes aflatoxin indicates a very weak link in African grain value chains. 
William
Jobs for Youth to Reverse Postharvest loss

Photo of William Lanier
Team

Hello Elisabetta Demartis and Yeesal Agri Hub,
William (NeverIdle) hopes you are doing well and wish to invite Yeesal Agri Hub to the "1st All African Postharvest Congress and Exhibition (March 28 - 31) Nairobi" <http://africa-postharvestconference.uonbi.ac.ke/>. We hope to meet and discuss more about Moisture meters and testing to Reverse Grain Postharvest Loss."
Regards,
William

View all comments