Ethiopia: Icipe Launches Initiative to Benefit 100,000 Youth in Ethiopia

Ethiopian women engaged in silkworm farming

The International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe), in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation and Ethiopia Jobs Creation Commission (JCC), today launched a USD 55,601,322, five-year initiative that aims to see 100,000 young men and women in Ethiopia secure dignified and fulfilling work along honey and silk value chains.

The More Young Entrepreneurs in Silk and Honey (MOYESH) project is aligned to ongoing efforts to alleviate youth unemployment or underemployment in Ethiopia and will be implemented primarily in partnership with Ethiopia Jobs Creation Commission (JCC) and the Mastercard Foundation's Young Africa Works in Ethiopia initiative.

MOYESH is also positioned within icipe's vision of science-led strategies towards holistic and inclusive socio-economic transformation across Africa. The project will capitalize on icipe's extensive experience over the past 50 years in collaboration with national and international partners, which has generated extensive knowledge and built capacity for modern beekeeping and sericulture leading to the development and marketing of innovative high-quality products. Additionally, icipe research encompasses the often overlooked, but vital role of bees in boosting agricultural productivity through pollination of crop and wild plants and the provision of essential ecosystem services.

"Youth are a thriving part of the economy," said Reeta Roy, President and CEO of Mastercard Foundation. "By creating opportunities in beekeeping and silkworm farming, thousands of young Ethiopian women and men will start on the path to becoming successful entrepreneurs and contribute to their country's continued economic growth."

"Having grown up in rural Ethiopia, I am fully aware of the transformative potential of agriculture as well as the reality of young people as an untapped resource," added icipe Director General, Segenet Kelemu, "icipe is delighted to use the Center's immense research for development and science translation capacity to bring these two forces together for opportunities in Ethiopia, and indeed across Africa."

The MOYESH initiative will build on significant progress made through the Young Entrepreneurs in Silk and Honey (YESH) project, implemented in Ethiopia by icipe and Mastercard Foundation between 2016 and 2019. The YESH project spawned jobs for 12,500 young men and women in the country through honey and silk enterprises. The initiative also established functional marketplaces for honey and beeswax, and served as a platform for icipe to lead the development of a National Sericulture Development Strategy, at the request of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

"The YESH project has already transformed the livelihoods of thousands of unemployed youth by generating decent jobs and income through beekeeping and silk production businesses. The ability to expand this program into more regions, through Young Africa Works in Ethiopia, holds significant potential for the young people, and other value chain actors in Ethiopia," noted Alemayehu Konde Koira, Country Head, Ethiopia, at the Mastercard Foundation.

MOYESH will be implemented across the country in Amhara, Oromia, Tigray, and Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples regions, with the goal of scaling up technologies and good practices to other areas. The project will have the following key thrusts that will: (i) integrate beekeeping and sericulture enterprises around protected forest, and community-based watersheds; (ii) enable young people to access financial, markets and information services; (iii) build and strengthen the technical, entrepreneurship, soft, and financial literacy skills of the youth, partners and local institutions; (iv) establish strong private-public partnerships; (v) involve youth in value addition activities of honey and silk products; and (vi) generate evidence-based knowledge to support further scaling and adoption. AS

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