World Council, Kenya Form Agricultural Pact
Food security continues to be an issue in developing countries worldwide, and the World Council of Credit Unions has taken steps to assure that a segment of Kenya’s youth understand the importance of agricultural, both as a source of food as well as economic security.
The Madison, Wis.-based organization signed an agreement through its Cooperative Development program with Beverly School of Kenya, a private boarding school in rural Kenya, to implement an agricultural program that encourages and educates youth to view agriculture as a means of income.
The World Council said it selected the school for the Future Farmer Schools pilot program due to its focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The program aims to involve and attract students to agriculture and agribusiness at a formative age, while also educating them in financial literacy.
“Through the Future Farmer Schools program, we can increase youth employment in community-based farming,” Brian Branch, World Council’s president/CEO, said. “World Council is proud to equip youth with the financial, business and agricultural tools that can benefit themselves, their families and their communities.”
With the World Council’s guidance, Beverly School will use a crops demonstration plot to teach children in primary and secondary school about agricultural concepts, such as market linkages, breeding, organic processes, crop rotation, genetics and the importance of irrigation, according to the council.
The program's financial education component will focus on savings, capital and risk management. The school will connect directly to E-Kenya, an entirely digital national credit union. As members, students will be able to make deposits, transfers and withdrawals from their accounts using M-Pesa, a mobile money transfer service.
In addition to educational benefits, the program will help offset expenses for the school. Crops grown will supply lunches and students will sell any extra produce at a nearby market stand, which will provide micro-entrepreneurship experience, according to the World Council.
Local farmers will have an opportunity to pay to learn concepts students develop and implement on the demonstration plot. The school will reinvest new income to improve facilities for other farming and livestock initiatives.
Other resources will be used to improve academic facilities and reduce future expenses.