The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)serve as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The first five SDG goals share important similarities as they collectively address fundamental aspects of human development and well-being. The goals of No Poverty and Good Health and Well-being are intertwined, as poverty often leads to poor health outcomes. The goals of Zero Hunger and Good Health and Well-being are closely related, as malnutrition and hunger have adverse effects on health, making individuals more vulnerable to diseases and impeding well-being. The goals of No Poverty and Quality Education are interconnected, recognizing education as a powerful tool for poverty reduction while Zero Hunger and No Poverty are closely linked, as limited access to sufficient and nutritious food is caused by poverty and lastly, quality Education and Gender Equality intersect significantly, emphasizing the importance of providing equal educational opportunities to all, regardless of gender. Promoting gender equality in education empowers women and girls and has broader societal benefits such as reducing poverty, improving health outcomes, and fostering economic growth. To achieve the stated goals, the County Government of Nyeri, under the Nyeri Youth, Women, and Persons with Disabilities Empowerment Programme, has provided support to more than 360 registered groups from the 30 wards and facilitated the establishment of businesses to improve livelihoods within the community. The inception of this initiative stemmed from the recognition of various societal challenges, including youth unemployment and poverty among families where a person with disability (PWD) serves as the primary breadwinner. Additionally, there was a need to empower women, particularly those without formal education, to initiate small-scale businesses. This strategy was also formulated with the aim of combating drug abuse and reducing alcoholism among the youth. It achieves this by engaging them in various projects such as carpentry, car wash businesses, cooking and baking, hairdressing, and other activities that keep them occupied and productive

The Kirimukuyu Community Based Organization in Karatina has received support from the County. Their primary focus is on producing animal feed. This organization consists of 417 members who have joined forces and submitted a business proposal to the County's Department of Gender, Youth, Sports, and Social Services. Their goal was to acquire feed-making equipment utilized in the production of livestock and dairy feed. While the group does not generate substantial profits, the funds earned are utilized for warehouse maintenance and employing staff to run the operations of the store. Additionally, group members have the advantage of purchasing animal feeds at a discounted price. Farmers in the area can also access the feeds at a better price than in conventional stores.

Implementation of the practice

In 2019, the County Government of Nyeri allocated Ksh 30 million from the Ward Specific Fund to every ward, aiming to facilitate projects across different departments. The County Department of Gender, Youth, Sports, and Social Services requested each ward to identify specific projects for collective interest support through the Nyeri Youth, Women, and Persons with Disabilities Empowerment Programme. Subsequently, the project underwent a sensitization phase conducted by social welfare officers, which was followed by a call for registered groups to submit business proposals for funding consideration. The County Government collaborated with the Social Development  Office at the national government to verify the registration status of groups that submitted applications. The groups are required to fill out a specific form obtained from both the sub-county Social Welfare Office and the Office of the Chief Officer in the Department of Gender, Youth, and Social Services. Following the submission of proposals, the Department evaluates them and proceeds with procuring the necessary equipment for the supported groups.

To foster financial intelligence, the County offers the groups comprehensive training in savings, digital literacy, and marketing strategies, empowering them to proficiently promote and showcase their products. Despite the possibility of having up to 400 members in a single group, the profits generated from the designated projects are deposited in a bank account and subsequently distributed equitably among all members at the end of each month.

The County collaborates with the Social Welfare Officer (SWO) to diligently monitor the progress and achievements of the activities. Further, there is a set of guidelines that group leaders are required to sign, ensuring adherence to regulations such as prohibiting members from selling the provided equipment.

To ensure sustainability, the Nyeri County Youth Development Policy has successfully completed executive validation and is currently being reviewed by the County Assembly. Additionally, the program is firmly established within the 2023-2027 County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP).

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