STRYDE Program
The Strengthening Rural Youth Development through Enterprise (STRYDE) program has been helping women in developing countries develop and learn entrepreneurial skills as well as partner them with mentors. A mere 28% of Africa’s labor force consists of stable-wage jobs. The other 72% consists of income mainly from farming. Many African youths choose to move to the city, seeking better work opportunities. However, according to TechnoServe, 70% of youth remain in rural areas. These areas have a large absence of training and job opportunities.

Ndinagwe Mboya, STRYDE and Training

In Mbeya, Tanzania, one woman has managed to reinvent how the world views women entrepreneurs, especially young women. Ndinagwe Mboya, a 22-year-old, managed to revive her father’s struggling egg incubation businesses. Through lessons available through the STRYDE program, Mboya decided to capitalize on her family’s farm. Through STRYDE’s business plan competition, she won $165. She then used that money to purchase more eggs and subsequently raise more chickens. In a period of 45 days, she was able to triple her original profits. From this increase, she spread to working with other animals by breeding pigs and rabbits. She now earns $210 a month.

TechnoServe states that Business Women Connect has worked to empower women with the ingenuity and experience necessary to make their businesses thrive. The goal is to increase connection to mobile savings technologies and to provide greater access to vital business skills. The STRYDE program began in 2011 when Technoserve and the Mastercard Foundation partnered to ease the adversity of rural youth in Africa through financial independence.

By November 2020, more than 68,000 rural youths gained technical and soft skills through training. The curriculum includes the development of personal effectiveness, future plans, communication and confidence. Across Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda, 15,000 rural youths received sessions such as skills training, aftercare and mentoring. These sessions provided the knowledge necessary to expand their business opportunities.

STRYDE Program Models

The STRYDE program focuses on two main models.

  1. The Peer to Peer Model: Through this model, youths receive training directly from local Technoserve staff, such as Mboya. Approximately 70% of participants have received training through this model.
  2. Partnerships Model: About 30% of trainers have utilized the Partnerships Model, in which youths obtain training through partnerships, such as Vocational Training Institutions.

Mboya has become a mentor for other women entrepreneurs, taking part in a three-week training program designed for business counselors. Mboya takes pride in her work, teaching other Tanzanian businesswomen how to succeed in entrepreneurship and grow their businesses through the STRYDE curriculum. According to Technoserve, the STRYDE program taught Mboye to believe in herself and her abilities as an entrepreneur.

Successes of the Project

The average participant of the program has seen an increase in income by 133% and more than 48,000 youths total having benefited from the training institutions. STRYDE participants in Tanzania totaled 15,773, 61% of those being women. In Tanzania alone, the TechnoServe partnership has established eight Vocational Training Centers and eight local NGOs and community-based organizations (CBO).

The STRYDE program allows entrepreneurial women, such as Mboya, to gain the confidence and skills needed to succeed in a mainly male-dominated field.

Nina Eddinger
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Indian slums

Many people living in India’s slums do not have a toilet in their own home. Their only option for using a toilet is walking 15 minutes to a run-down community toilet and waiting in an often chaotic line.

For men, relieving themselves in the open is an option, albeit one with negative effects on public health. Women who do this are targets for harassment, so they drink very little water and wait for the protection of nightfall to perform this necessary human function. 15 years ago, the miserable conditions in the slums of Ahmedabad prompted the Gujarat Mahila Housing SEWA Trust to use community-based women’s organizations to improve sanitary conditions.

The SEWA Trust identified local women leaders who recruited other women to join community-based organizations. These women were trained in sanitation system planning and how to demand funding from certain government programs. The women’s collectives in India monitored and maintained the sanitation systems they installed. Communities paid for one-third of the costs and the government covered the rest.

The program ultimately established 46 community-based organizations in 895 slums, trained more than 13,000 women and installed toilets in nearly 90,000 households. Many women opened bank accounts during the course of the program, strengthening their financial power.

Women used the skills gained from sanitation planning to tackle other issues in their communities. One woman used her skills to convince a power company to supply electricity to her slum. That company adopted a modified payment plan and eventually supplied electricity to nearly 1 million people in India. Many of the original community-based organizations have expanded to become citywide federations and make their voices heard in city planning.

CARE is an organization that is dedicated to ending world poverty, and one of the methods they use is establishing women’s collectives in India and around the world. On average, women joining CARE collectives see their yearly income increase twice as quickly as women in similar communities without CARE collectives.

According to women surveyed by CARE, the five main barriers to their economic empowerment are lack of time, limited access to resources, violence, low incomes and the productivity gap between men and women. Women who join CARE collectives fare better in all five categories compared to those who do not.

The number of women who believe that it is acceptable for their husband to beat them dropped from 50 percent in the control group to 12 percent in CARE collectives. The percent of women who feel that they have control over their income is 37 percent higher for women in collectives.

Typically, women produce 80 percent of what men produce while working twice as many hours. Women in collectives receive two additional hours of labor support from their families and produce 90 percent of what men do.

Women usually have access to 50 percent of the resources that men do, but for women in collectives that number jumps to 90 percent. Women’s collectives are not only effective in solving menacing community issues, but a tool for empowering women in all aspects of society.

Kristen Nixon

Photo: Flickr

Design 2 Transform HackathonOver 80 volunteers met at the Nairobi innovation hub (iHUB) in March 2016 to participate in the second edition of an event dubbed “Design 2 Transform Hackathon.” The event involves a one-day challenge that brings together diverse individuals to create professional websites for community based organizations (CBOs) across Kenya.

CBOs are nonprofit, private or public outfits that represent a significant segment of the community. Each CBO is engaged in meeting human, educational, environmental or public safety needs.

The organizing principle of the event is that involving a diverse mix of individuals will generate richer outputs. Thus a background in software development and web design is not a pre-requisite.

“Anyone with whatever skill can come and be part of the change we all want to see,” says Nelson Kwaje, team leader of Design 2 Transform. “The person with the web design skills in the team will teach the rest of the members how to do it, practically, the accountant will help create the content, the photographer will advise on the photos…everybody can do something!”

At the event’s inaugural edition in January 2016, 45 volunteers worked together to successfully create six websites for six orphanages that previously did not have a presence in cyberspace.

According to organizers of the hackathon, the capability of a CBO to connect with donors and partners is severely limited when they lack an online presence. The organizers’ hope is that the websites created during the hackathon will address this issue. In addition, the websites serve to create platforms where the CBOs can broadcast their stories and projects to a greater audience.

The second edition of the event, much like the first, involved volunteers working in teams. Each team was assigned a CBO and was asked to deliver a website, social media pages, a logo, a business card, a letterhead and a banner.

For example, Kenya Deaf Agenda, which deals with disability stigma, and Karinde Child Love, which provides a home to Kenyan street children, are two of the 10 CBO’s that will soon have active websites designed during the second edition of Design 2 Transform Hackathon.

One of the key supporters of the second Design 2 Transform Hackathon was the Kenyan company LIVELUVO. Through its app, LIVELUVO has created a “Digital Village” that connects individuals and organizations with the services and information they seek. Though this network, businesses can reach new customers and individuals can gain access to potential employers.

Ryan Doyle, Head of Community Development at LIVELUVO says that the company was happy to support the hackathon due to the beautiful meeting of talent, community and enthusiasm that the event promotes. According to Doyle, a professional website amplifies an organization’s voice. He hailed the collaborative efforts of Design 2 Transform to empower the community.

Organizers of the Design 2 Transform Hackathon echo the sentiment that volunteers not only contribute to a good cause, but can also gain opportunities from the hackathon. Some such opportunities include training by professionals, interaction with web designers and business opportunities and partnerships.

June Samo

Sources: Design 2 Transform 1, Design 2 Transform 2, LUVO, My Luvo 1, My Luvo 2, NNLM, Shiku Ngigi
Photo: Flickr