Western Kenya Youth Business Training & Culture Day
For the first time since inception, the 4th Bukura Cultural Meeting had two components: a training element and cultural display. The Youth Business Training was held at Bukura Agricultural Training Center (19/12/08) while the cultural fete was held at Bukura Primary School grounds on 20/12/08.
Apart from networking, enabling youth to engage in healthy activities and deter youths from crime, the cultural event aims at bringing out the best in the youths and showing them that through healthy competition, they can generate income.
|Wrestling at the Cultural fete|
The youth training saw over 47 youths from different business backgrounds and geographical expanses congregate to discuss aspects of leadership, career and business.
Speaking on Vision, James Shikwati (Director, Inter Region Economic Network) decried the dearth of youths with a vision. Defining Vision as what one would like to achieve or be in future, Shikwati urged the participants not to settle for the constrained vision which is limited by forces, people or cultural beliefs but rather opt for the unconstrained vision that allows exploration of new ideas. The unconstrainede vision, he said, converts stumbling blocks into stepping stones to bring dreams to a reality.
|Mr. Chitaha, a Trainer, receives a certificate|
Rev. Ben Keya (Member of the IREN Board of Directors) decried the notion that only people holding political posts are leaders. He noted that every person is a leader in his own right in whichever field he is serving. He urged youths to demonstrate sound judgement, excellence, productivity, positive growth and profitability in all fields they engage in.
Defining Business Plans as decision making tools, Mr Stephen Buluma, (Lecturer, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology) revealed that the content and format of a business plan is determined by one’s objectives. The objectives, he continued, must be specific, measurable, achievable and time bound.
Mr Buluma decried wishful thinking and challenged the youths that it was time they became proactive and translated their ideas into actions. These actions, he added, should be constantly reviewed to gauge growth and profitability. He decried the prevailing belief that business is hard to do; business plans must be complex and rigid; lots of successful businesses never had a plan; and that business plans are for start-up businesses only.
Speaking on Career, Mr Joshua Chitaha (Principal, Shieywe High School) defined career as a job or profession that one has been trained for or has done for a long time. He said that career is dynamic and can start at any stage. He said that people take up careers for acquisition of money; fulfillment, prestige; philanthropic reasons or simply to impact the society.
He noted that strategies for career advancement include training, personal goal and vision, networking, taking extra tasks and repackaging oneself. Doing the above leads to improved service delivery, improving oneself, keeping abreast with changing technology and developing a competitive edge.
He urged the youths not just to pursue careers for monetary gains but for fulfillment in life. Further, he advised participants to only keep people who add value to their lives but shun time wasters. He said that many opportunities abound for the youths but only innovative youths will successfully tap into them.
Kevin Mwanza (Manager, IREN Business Units) explained that this arm of IREN is out to not only offer solutions to problems affecting low income groups but also to connect low end income groups to the global market. He said that the units are open to every youth as long as he understands the objectives, is aggressive and creative.
All participants concurred with Owens Ochango of Imwo Agrovets that malaria is a killer disease that eats deeply into family budgets, reduces investment in other income generating ventures, inhibitis productivity and ultimately leads to poverty. Luckily, he said, Icon-insecticide had come to the rescue of families to reverse this trend. He took participants through the safe use of the chemical and how its use is a viable income generating venture.
Josephat Juma of The African Executive decried the Pull Him Down syndrome that has stagnated the region’s development. He urged the participants to shun the “I can’t do” mentality. He dissuaded youths from idling and expecting to inherit their parents’ wealth and asked them to be proactive in generating their own wealth. He said that every youth has unique talents/gifting and urged them to activate these into income generating ventures. Juma welcomed all participants to showcase their businesses in The African Executive-their platform to engage with the globe.
The Luhya cultural event attracted many participants, some hailing from as far as Kenya’s Rift Valley and Eastern Provinces. It featured events such as bicycle racing, ‘Libwi’ (traditional wrestling), ‘Eshiremba’ (mock traditional war), soccer, sack racing, traditional food displays, poetry, drama and dance.
Envoy Ondetto of Salvation Army Corps, a guest, hailed the cultural event as it was a means to fostering networking, peace, love and unity. He urged religious people not to shun their culture. The Jews, he said valued their culture. He castigated Africans who have embarced foreign cultures at the expense of their own culture. He decried Africa’s media which covers political events at the expense of important events such as the cultural day.
The chief guest, Mr. Titus Mulandi (District Youth Affairs Officer) hailed IREN and Rural Youths Empowerment League (RUYEL) for coming up with the innovative event that saw youth utilize their energy constructively. He revealed that the government Youth Enterprise Development Fund had disbursed Kshs 80 million in the region. He urged the youths not to shy away from credit facilities. He challenged them to make themselves visible through activities such as the cultural event in order to benefit from the funds. The officer congratulated RUYEL for applying for a KShs 50 000 loan. He said that unlike other groups which only gather when there are funds to be disbursed; RUYEL has demonstrated that it is active with or without the enterprise fund.
Participants in the training and cultural event were awarded for their participation and excelling in their respective fields.
Compiled by Lydia Ominde
Business Lady and Teacher, Shikumu Primary School
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