Mwangaza Youth Group- Lamu County
With the challenges especially insecurity around the Boni forest, we formed this group so as to keep us busy. The group was named Mwangaza (light) after the Red Cross recruited us into the youth project. It felt like breathing fresh air,” said Baraka, the chairperson, Mwangaza Youth Group.
Mwangaza youth group is one of the 18 youth groups in Lamu County benefiting under the project Conflict Prevention Peace and Economic Opportunities for the Youth in Kenya. The youth group consists of 20 youth 8 female and 12 males from Barigoni around the Boni forest in Lamu County. Mwangaza youth group received their start-up capital two months back. They chose a retail shop as their livelihood venture after undergoing a series of training on entrepreneurship, small business planning and management.
“We chose a retail shop because we have very few here and the ones here are not that well stocked. Most people from our village travel all the way to Hindi or Lamu town to do their shopping,” Baraka said. “We sat as a group and thought why not fill that gap. So far the business is doing well following our audit a few weeks ago, we are now planning to expand and open up a small boutique,” Baraka said.
From Bargoni to Lamu is around 28 KMs thus costly and time consuming for individuals to travel. The public transport system is more or less none existent due to insecurity in the area. The group has introduced the sale of clothes and is planning to open a boutique as an alternative source of livelihood by February 2019.
Mwangaza youth Group is also involved in agribusiness and nurturing tree seedlings for sale. They currently have a total of 40,000 tree seedlings at their nursery with a ready market. Through linkage with the Ministry of Agriculture at the County level, the group was trained by agricultural officers on modern agricultural practices.
Conflict Prevention Peace and Economic Opportunities for the Youth in Kenya focuses on empowering youth to grow into economic and social actors. Through financial support from the European Union, the project focuses on providing youth with livelihood skills and vocational training in eight targeted counties including: Mombasa, Lamu, Kilifi, Kwale, Tana River, Garissa, Mandera and Wajir. With a target of 4,500 youth, the project as thus far reached a total of 3,294 with vocational training, livelihood support and youth dialogues to examine issues affecting young people.