Believe the truth that young people are entrepreneurs

The thought, through storytelling and acquiescence when growing up about business was that only a few can do it. From families nurturing their own to be future business moguls to take the business to the next level to specific Kenyan ethnicities only able and capable of running and sustaining successful businesses, the story was a single sourced one.

It was an inaccurate description, against genuine and able others who can and have over the years transcended this narrative. It is a perfect description of what Sir. Winston S. Churchill once said

 “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”

Thoughts count. When they are told and retold over a period, from different people, they stick. They form the true, correct and tested narrative. They can build. They can destroy. They can nurture.

But when the opportunity to reshape this comes up, they help drive the narrative to the right direction. Here, those with the creativity and intent to reshape this debate come to mind. Using words and pictures, to reshape debate, opinions and policies, truth stands out. When a media takes up this challenge, opportunity, it occupies its true role as the fourth estate.

Believing and providing young people with opportunities is a new concept in Kenya. One will think of the coalition government of President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila as the government which took up this opportunity, less than 10 years ago to show the country that young people can be thriving business men and women.

One compelling reason why the coalition government took up this opportunity were the narratives about young people being idle, using their free time to plot destruction of society. The other reason are the stories that were told of young people, from diverse backgrounds who took up opportunities they saw, to show that they are equal to task.

A story published on Daily Nation on September 24, 2008 titled ‘you are on the right track in your savings’, provided a good analysis on whether savings can be used to create wealth. A 27 year old lady describes how she earns sh20,000 net salary, uses most of it on various recurrent expenditures but still saves 32.5 percent of it. She is advised in the article to also look for ways to save for emergencies but also not just to save forever but invest in order to grow herself and reduce reliance on the salary.

This is a story that reminds us of the goodness that can come from saving. It demystifies that lie that you cannot save when you earn such an amount of money. It tells of our ability to achieve what we can, when we believe it is doable and work towards it. Words without action is dead.

A group of young women in Rachuonyo decided to try worms, often associated with rot, to earn a living from it. Silkworm rearing which even today many will greet with skepticism is being transformed into a viable and sustainable economic activity. The women have organized themselves and receive silkworms from the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE).

On average, the farmers get 15 kilogrammes of silk thread from a half acre of mulberry. In a short time, it gained fast popularity in Kabondo area. It gained prominence and attracted institutions like International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to invest in it. While details of how much they make was not stated, an investment of sh3000 is what they each put in and they are now happily comfortable earning a living from it.

This story was published in the Daily Nation on May 10, 2010. It goes to show how trash, or what can be considered as trash, is gold when time and energy is put in to capitalize on it.

The name Dandora to many resonates with two things; crime and the dump-site. But young people in January 2014 took the initiative to rewrite the story of the estate. They formed Dandora Transformation League (DTL), who started with the subdivision and fencing of various small parts of the estate to make them look somewhat similar to one of the many Nairobi residential areas which are referred to as courts.
Also known as Mustard Seed, they took up opportunities like the Awesome Foundation to apply with their idea of making the Dandora a green, colorful and clean. Today, the group is proud to have reclaimed eight public spaces from grabbers and have created jobs directly for more than 100 young people, with the aim to create more for at least a 1,000 more in the next five years, and thousands more indirectly.

This story was published in the Daily Nation on January 11, 2016 and goes to exemplify the ability of young people to use their positive energies to tangibly contribute to growth and development of a republic.

Only Believe the Truth that young people can and are entrepreneurs. They are showing the way to creating jobs. Nation Media Group, through its various outlets is spearheading efforts to retell the truth, debunking the lies.


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