“Look at me now!”, the impact of Business Training

25 October 2022|Paula Casado Aguirregabiria

Emmanuel (personal information has been modified for protection related issues) is a young Burundian refugee living in Kakuma Refugee Camp (Kenya). He scaped Burundi as a young man, running away from insecurities and persecution.

Making a living in Kakuma camp is not an easy task. Market opportunities are low and even lower are the education chances for youths and adults. However, Emmanuel was convinced he had something to give to the community, so he decided to enrol to the Community Business Development (CBD) programme at JRS.

Emmanuel talking to JRS staff during a home visit
Emmanuel talking to JRS staff during a home visit

The CBD programme is about entrepreneurship and business development, and it supports youth to create income generating activities and sustain them.

When Emmanuel joined the CBD course, all that he had was a business idea and a niche that he had identified within the camp. One of the tasks at CBD is to effectively start a business. And that is what Emmanuel did: he started a poultry business.

I had seen chicken here was very expensive… people was bringing the chicken from far away, and no one was breading them in the camp. Then is when I thought I could be the one doing it: I would bread chicken so people in the camp could access fresh chicken at a reasonable price.
Emmanuel, CBD graduate

When he was about to finalize his CBD training, with little capital borrowed from friends, he managed to start a small poultry farm with 50 chicks. By keenly applying skills gained from the CBD program, Emmanuel has managed to grow the business to over 300 broiler chickens and is currently seeking to expand to layers with a goal of supplying the camp with fresh product. He has meaningfully employed four (4) staff to assist him effectively run the business and he has trained dozens on the same.

Emmanuel is a trainer and a mentor to like minded refugees within the camp who are planning to or have already ventured into the poultry business. Several NGOs within the camp also often engage him in offering entrepreneurial talks to their beneficiaries who are interested in smart agricultural initiatives.

“Now there is more people starting to bread chicken in Kakuma. All of them it was me who trained them!”

When we ask him what has the programme meant to him, he just answers to us saying:

Look at me now! I was a young man, alone, with nothing to offer. Now I’m a businessman, I helped other people, and thanks to my business I could get married and have four children now! It has changed my life!
Emmanuel, CBD graduate

The CBD programme falls within the Pathfinder approach of JRS. As the name indicates, the purpose of the pathfinder is to walk with refugees to create a path to development, growth and impact, not only to our direct beneficiaries but to its surroundings and the community as a whole.  And Emmanuel is a great example of the same.

At the pathfinder we not only train refugees and then let them go, but we accompany them and give them the needed tools to ensure that such trainings will evolve into something impactful and beneficial for the people we serve.