Wittenborg Students Off to Kenya for Youth Empowerment Project
Students from Wittenborg Amsterdam will be off to Kenya from 9 – 15 April to participate in a project, Vijana Reloaded, which seeks to train unemployed youth in Kenya in entrepreneurship and ICT. Since September last year Wittenborg Amsterdam offers an IBA in Entrepreneurship & Small Business with students from all over the world, including Africa.
In the meantime, Phase 1 &2 students from Apeldoorn will be designing a crowdfunding campaign to fund the Kenya project as part of Project Week 6 activities. They will be attending a workshop in this regard on 11 April in Amsterdam.
The company behind the project is the ProPortion Foundation, which self-incubates social enterprises in different phases. Vijana Reloaded is one of the enterprises. The director of ProPortion, Thomas Schuurmans, gave a presentation at Wittenborg’s Apeldoorn location last week. According to him the total financial target for development of the project in 2016 is €200 000 of which they hope to generate a portion from crowdsourcing.
Vijana Reloaded empowers youth between the ages of 18-28 in rural Kenya by boosting their income, productivity and contribution to social-economic development through 6-month traineeships in entrepreneurship that leverages on ICT applications and the agri-business sector.
Schuurmans said he hopes the involvement of Wittenborg students will lead to an exchange of ideas and information with students in Kenya. Opportunities also exist for possible internships in Kenya. "It is also about building relationships and a professional network as well as fundraising initiatives."
He told students the youth unemployment rate in Kenya grew at an alarming rate from 12% in 2006 to about 42% currently. Of further concern is that 70% of the unemployed are between the ages of 15 and 35 years old. "The traditional curriculum of schools in Kenya doesn't cater for creativity, entrepreneurship and ICT. A teacher broadcasts the content and students reproduce it. "In Kenya food security is thought to be in danger because there is also low agricultural activity. Schuurman's foundation believes new smart technologies can boost production and access to markets.
Wittenborg's Chief of the Executive Board, Peter Birdsall, said Wittenborg's involvement adds to the university's already strong commitment to developing education for and in Africa. A steady stream of African students continue to study and graduate at Wittenborg University each year.
After Wittenborg students receive feedback on their crowdfunding plans, the actual campaign will run from 22 April to 29 May 2016. The results of the campaign and the winning student group will be announced on 30 May.
by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press