Youth participation and involvement is usually a challenge at farmer organisations level since most youths do not have a source of income to pay membership fees or have access to land for agricultural activities. Most youths felt left out in the association’s (CDWA) activities and felt that the association was established for the old people from their communities.
During the kick-off Youth workshop, in 2019, Agriterra addressed the challenges and together with the youths they developed a business model. The youths came up with specific business activities to earn some income to pay the membership fee at the association (CDWA) and buy small pieces of land.
The first was to start a saving group, where they contributed a minimum amount of K20 and after raising about K300, they started giving loans to farmers within the community at an interest rate of 20%. This helped them venture in vegetables and poultry production. These specific businesses were chosen farmers (in their community) had to travel long distances to access chickens and vegetables. Besides that, they asked very high prices for chickens and vegetables. Currently, Chindwe youth group has 110 chickens (4 weeks old), 3000 plants of tomatoes, half acres of onions, a half-acre plot of common beans and K3000 saved under the saving group. They also have K600 saved for social activities such as soccer games, funerals and visitors refreshments.
The manure from chicken is currently used as organic fertilizer for their tomatoes and beans crops since it is a good source of many important nutrients. All these activities have enabled the youths to pay membership fees, have access to land and have also contributed to increased youth participation at the association level (CDWA). Chindwe youth group has become a role model for youths within the community. They also use the youth group to conduct leadership workshops so that they can become better leaders in future. “We realised that youths are the future leaders, important for the continuity of the association, that's why we need to train youth in leadership skills since they can become good leaders for the future” said Willson Njobvu, the cooperative chairperson.