Our program Coffee Kids aims to empower young coffee farmers to create thriving businesses. This it how they do it in Tanzania:
Proud and with a smile, 27-year old Jehovaness is holding up an Arabica seedling from her own nursery. Her business plan is written on flipcharts and pinned on the wall next to her. “I decided to produce and sell coffee trees in my community because I realized that people have to walk long distances to the Rural Primary Cooperative Society (RPCS) to buy them”, she explains as the starting point of her business.
They are creating new, practical businesses based on what their local area has to offer
Jehovaness described her approach during an event of the Nuru Youth Group in the Kilimanjaro Region in Tanzania, of which she is a member. During the final months of 2018, the Coffee Kids youth members in the region participated in a series of three business events. “The business fair is a space where youth are able to present their business plans to their families and the local community,” explained Pauline Manga who is part of the Coffee Kids Team in Tanzania. She and her team observed a great positive change in the attitudes of youth toward opportunities in their local areas. “They are creating new, practical businesses based on what their local area has to offer,” Pauline says with a smile.
Businesses are not always coffee related. Esta Munuo (30) and Lightness Nelson (28) presented to the group how they started a honey business. Bringing samples of their products, participants were able to get a taste of what is possible. Besides honey production and a coffee nursery, youth are creating mobile coffee shops, increasing coffee production, and even venturing into solar energy enterprises. The youth presented their business ideas to financial institutions, government authorities, coffee entrepreneurs, livestock experts, and other key local actors. Across all the business plans presented in the three events, young women and men demonstrated great potential in their capacity and initiative to
start their own ventures that can increase the income and wellbeing of their whole household. Coffee Kids supports youth with training so they can see and seize the opportunities available within their local community. The Coffee Kids facilitators, like Pauline, teach entrepreneurship skills, coach youth in crafting a business plan, and mentor them through the beginning stages of their new enterprise.
“People who met the youth before the start of the Coffee Kids Project in the three Districts of Kilimanjaro, witnessed a positive change in the inter-personal skills and confidence of these young adults,” Pauline summarizes. The youth increased their capacity to express themselves, their ideas, and their creativity both among peers as well as to the many visitors. They showed this by networking with the various stakeholders who attended the events and gaining interest and support for their ideas. This became obvious when looking at the lively exchange of phone numbers and intensive discussions during the events.
Through events like this, the youth are increasing the potential for the growth and development of the youth groups and their respective businesses. We look forward to following these new businesses as they get started and further supporting the young entrepreneurs!
We thank the Producer Organization Trainers and Facilitators of the Coffee Kids Program Salim Mohamed, Julian Mathew, and Pauline Manga for sharing this story with us.