Empowering Young Farmers and Entrepreneurs on International Youth Day

Celebrating Young Farmers and Entrepreneurs on International Youth Day

Around the world, a new generation of creative, resilient innovators and entrepreneurs is on the rise. In celebration of United Nations International Youth Day on August 12, here are a few bright, determined young people who have persevered in spite of the challenges they faced. These youth built successful businesses and entered the workforce, improving not only their own lives and livelihoods but also that of their families.

“With large and growing youth populations in so many developing countries today, real economic growth depends on generating sustainable opportunities for young people,” says TechnoServe CEO William Warshauer. TechnoServe is proud to be a part of their journey.

Gilbert Taurus: Vegetable Seller and Innovator

In rural Eldoret, Kenya, Gilbert Taurus sold vegetables to try to earn enough to support his four younger siblings through their secondary education, but without much success. In 2015, one of the elders of his village told him about  TechnoServe’s Strengthening Rural Youth Development Through Enterprise (STRYDE) program that would be held at a local church. Gilbert joined the 12-month program and learned skills in market research, record keeping, and how to formally register his business. 

“I supplied the vegetables to Kalyet Secondary School for a period of three months, after which I was given a check worth $562,” Gilbert said of his first-ever contract. “This was the first time I was seeing a check in my life.”

Today, Leltaet Enterprise supplies vegetables to local markets and schools, and offers transportation services via tuk-tuk.


Gilbert Taurus in his tuk-tuk, which he uses to deliver vegetables and provide transportation services.

Mary Wacera: From Housewife to Goat Milk Entrepreneur

Mary Wacera, a 24-year-old housewife and former school matron in Ndaragwa, Kenya, had no experience in livestock farming when her husband came home with two goats one day in 2015. Many people in Mary’s community keep goats, but not as a business. Mary planned to keep the goats for the time being, but wasn’t really sure what to do with them long-term. That is, until she enrolled in the STRYDE program alongside other members of her community. After about 6 months of training on self-awareness, savings plans, and entrepreneurship, Mary went on to win a business plan competition among her fellow youth entrepreneurs with her plan for marketing goat milk yogurt.

As of 2021, Mary was raising 13 goats and one cow, and turning a daily profit from their milk which allowed her to add money to her savings and better provide for her son. 

“I’m looking forward to buying a piece of land where I can do good goat farming and other agribusinesses,” she said. “I intend to use the money that I have so far saved to buy higher quality goats, which will give me more milk to sell. Thank you to the STRYDE program”.


Mary Wacera caring for the goats on her farm in rural Ndaragwa, Kenya.

Mariana dos Santos Pinho: A Breadwinner in Rural Brazil

In Córrego dos Machados, a largely rural mining community in Minas Gerais, Brazil, 18-year-old Mariana dos Santos Pinho moved home to her parents’ small farm after graduating high school, unsure of what her future would hold. She wanted to live in the country, but didn’t see many opportunities there. That began to change when she joined TechnoServe’s Crescer program, which works to diversify local economies surrounding the Minas-Rio mine. 

Mariana learned the skills she needed to be able to stay on her parents farm and create economic opportunities for herself and her family, rather than being forced to move away to an urban area to find work. Since then, she has created and implemented new business plans, as well as new recipes for the bread products she sells. 

“The Crescer program really changed my life, expanded my knowledge, and gave me more conviction about my choices,” Mariana said. “One of the best things the course showed me was that we can dream and we can realize our dreams.”


Mariana dos Santos Pinho selling bread products from her family’s business in Córrego dos Machados, Brazil.

Asia Abdallah: Rising Beyond Adversity in Tanzania

Asia Abdallah and her four siblings were raised by their mother, the sole breadwinner, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Some days there wasn’t enough money for food. As she grew up, Asia was determined to help but didn’t know where to begin. She had never been able to get a formal education and felt uncertain about where she could find a job. Asia felt trapped and without hope for the future until she joined TechnoServe’s Pan-African Youth Entrepreneur Development (PAYED) program in 2019.

After enrolling in the program, Asia started to see her prospects improve. Asia learned about personal and professional effectiveness, entrepreneurship, financial management, and business planning. Her new-found skills helped her get a job as a caterer at Agha Khan Hospital. Asia dreams of opening her own restaurant and catering business in the future. 

“I’m proud of my job because it brings bread to the table,” Asia said. “I’m also proud of the life skills that I learned, because they give me more courage to pursue my dreams and think about my future.”


Asia Abdallah (second from left) with three of her family members in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Inspiring Change on International Youth Day

About ninety percent of the world’s youth live in low and middle income countries, and millions of stable jobs need to be created in order to ensure sustainable livelihoods for youth. TechnoServe has a long record of helping youth find employment or build their own enterprise–as well as helping businesses create or strengthen jobs. “With the right support, young farmers and entrepreneurs can recognize and take advantage of promising opportunities that will transform their lives, improve their livelihoods, and strengthen their communities,” says TechnoServe’s CEO, William Warshauer. 

We are proud to support young farmers and entrepreneurs around the world as they improve their lives and livelihoods and lift themselves out of poverty. In honor of International Youth Day, you can show your support for young entrepreneurs like Gilbert, Mary, Mariana, and Asia by sharing this story and donating to our programs here.

Additional blogs and resources you may be interested in:

(PDF) Empowering Youth in East Africa: Lessons Learned and Final Report from the Stryde Program

TechnoServe’s Pan-African Youth Entrepreneur Development Program (PAYED): 

Citi Foundation and TechnoServe Team Up to Tackle Youth Unemployment in Africa: