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.
Dear Enocka, thank you for your question about this important aspect. Indeed even if we focus on building entrepreneurship possibilities for youth in agriculture through innovative dynamics and technology, we work with the principles of agroecology and sustainable agriculture in general. That means that even if climate change is not our main activity, is certainly among our objectives and principles. Thank you.
Dear OpenIdeo team, thank you very much for your concern and for the good feedback received. We strongly believe in the international collaboration between African countries initiatives and on the scalability of local projects, especially when they involve innovation and entrepreneurship dynamics for youth. Here are some answers to your questions, the others have been integrated in the application text:
"Do you have hypotheses you want to test to tease out the viability and sustainability of your idea? Do you have leads on potential partnerships or existing working relationships with local businesses or institutions?"
We have done a research and we realized that Kenya has a strong presence of tech entrepreneurs, but there is any place dedicated to agriculture, where youth can meet, learn and create digital solutions, while almost 75 percent of working Kenyans made their living by farming. We want to adapt our initiative to the local needs of beneficiaries and partners in Kenya, that’s why we started to build a network of three partners that comes from both the private sector and the civil society. "BRCK" is an entreprise of software developers, engineers and technologists that have a long history of building things, such as Ushahidi, Crowdmap and the iHub and that is now specializing in the AgTech sector (http://www.brck.com/). They are ready to join us in creating the community and provide the space and the technical support for the activities and trainings in Nairobi. "Slow Food" is a global grassroots organization working on food security and sustainable agriculture and started its activities in Kenya 2004 with has a strong network of Convivia, Food communities, Presidia, chefs, a network of small-scale farmers, youth and other stakeholders (http://www.fondazioneslowfood.com/en/nazioni-presidi/kenya-en/). They will be in charge of providing the space in the rural areas and the rural community of youth to involve in the project. "CEFA" is an Italian NGO operating in Kenya since 1990’s with a specific focus on rural development through agricultural, water and environmental conservation projects (http://www.cefaonlus.it/uk/index.asp). CEFA seeks to empower farmers through agriculture and agribusiness programmes implementation, and for this project it will be in charge of the general coordination.
"What are some potential barriers for your user? Have you tested out some prototypes to break down these barriers? For example, how will you try to keep talent in more rural areas? Will you potentially build a physical space or pop-up in rural areas? Is there a risk having a city focus over rural? How will you retain and monitor youth working in the agricultural space?"
We have tested out our prototype in Senegal for over a year by creating a multi-skilled community of youth coming from rural area and the capital and organizing an agrihackathon, exchanges and trainings both in town and in the rural region, where our physical hub is based. The result was that a good percentage of youth living in town and not familiar with the agriculture world, got interested in agriculture and decided to invest in this sector. Some of them started to develop web/mobile application to solve agricultural problems and other decided to buy some land and start producing. This shows how the youth, even if based in towns, can dedicate their time and plan to launch a startup in the agritech sector, where the rural zones are the starting point for a business/project development. As mentioned above, we intend to create a first pop-up in the rural zone thanks to the collaboration with Slow Food Kenya, while a physical space in town will be provided by BRCK. If financial opportunities will come, we will build a physical hub in the rural zone, as the one that we have in Thies (Senegal). To track the status and progress of our youth, the impact metrics that we will be using are: the number of youth involved in our online and physical community; the number of youth trained; the number of project incubated, the number of partnership facilitated, the amount of money raised within the training/incubation process, the number of job created.