Hello All!

I thought I would give a little update on the progress of our enterprise development team. Professor Ed, Dan, and I are working to help the CYEC’s Youth Cooperative become a sustainable and successful business. The youth at the center have created this cooperative to help financially support the CYEC and themselves. This business initiative will help them to learn valuable trades such as tailoring, carpentry, metal work, bee keeping, goat, chicken, and rabbit raising, and crop development. Each of these trades represents a separate initiative working under the umbrella title of the CYEC’s Youth Cooperative. It is our hope that this cooperative will also teach the youth valuable business skills such as record keeping, accounting, saving, and investing. It is our hope that the youth will be able to use these skills to start their own businesses once they leave the CYEC. Unemployment is very high in Kenya and self-employment is a good way to help the youth escape the cycle of poverty that plagues so many people here.

Our three-person business team is working closely with the older youth in charge of the cooperative. Our goal is to develop a sustainable business structure for this cooperative. We have been developing budgets, record-keeping spreadsheets, and employee time sheets for each of the separate initiatives.

Each Penn State student has been paired with the Kenyan in charge of each initiative. They are working with their Kenyan counterparts to create budgets for each of the initiatives. These include current assets and costs as well as a list of capital needed to expand each initiative. We plan to meet on Friday to compile the budgets.

After the budgets are compiled, we will create a “wish list” of sorts which will include the essential items that must be purchased in order for each initiative to be successful. Our business team will them work to develop a microfinance loan system which will allow the Zawadi Fund to provide small loans to offset the costs of buying these new items. Our small microfinance plan will act as a teaching tool to prepare the youth for taking out loans from real banks. The structure of the plan will be very similar to that of a real bank’s, but without the risks of borrowing money from such an institution.

So far, everything is running smoothly and we are making progress. Things move much more slowly here in Kenya than they do in the United States, so we are learning to be patient. Even so, everyone here at the CYEC is very enthusiastic about our work and has welcomed our help.

Unfortunately, the business team lost one of its members yesterday. Dan headed home to begin work at Johnson & Johnson. His presence is greatly missed, especially by our business team. We wish him lots of luck at his new “grown up job”… I know you will do great! But, we will be in touch, asking him for his accounting and business expertise. Everyone still here in Kenya sends their love and hopes you had a safe trip home (and we hope you got good chocolate in Brussels)!

P.S. Dan, the nuggets miss you too!

Love you mom, dad, kif & daisy!

Written by: Caroline Gimmillaro

5/29/2011 11:48:15 am

So proud of you and your work!

Dan Connell
6/3/2011 06:22:59 pm

Hey Caroline!

I am sure everyone is doing a great job with getting everything together and moving forward. This trip was truly amazing.. and way too short for me!

I did get some good chocolate..I got to eat some (a lot) with my layover...well my flight kind of got canceled, so I had plenty of time..

I hope everyone has a great last few days! and I hope you enjoy your extended stay there! Please don't hesitate to email me if you have any questions!

Thanks again for everything!

Dan Connell
6/3/2011 06:23:21 pm

Oh and I miss the nuggets too! haha

5/22/2012 03:11:35 am

I am extremely impressed thanks for sharing all information. It is a great post for the people to get the proper information.


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