Kenya-based International Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) hosted an event in the city of Bahir Dar, in the Amhara region, in celebration of the conclusion of the first round of the Young Entrepreneurs Honey Project. The project, run by ICIPE, is a 10 million USD, five year partnership with the MasterCard Foundation aimed at developing young entrepreneurs in honey.

At the festival young beekeepers exhibited a variety of their bee products and networked with experts and government officials in the modern-beekeeping industry. The festival hosted forums, seminars, and Q&A sessions. Participants covered a wide range of topics regarding plans to expand the project across the nation.

Program Coordinator Workneh Ayalew that the project is an extension of ICIPE pilot program launched five years ago that works on youth entrepreneurship with unemployed youth between the ages of 18 and 24. With the demonstrated success of the program, MasterCard approved ICIPE project proposal and allocated the necessary funds to get it off the ground.

After the completion of this first round, both organizations are hopeful about the change they can implement within the lives of underprivileged youth across the nation.

10,000 youth in the Amhara region are listed as beneficiaries of the project over the past five years. 2,000 of these youth have already completed the project’s requirements, 4,500 are well on their way, and 2,000 are absentees that disappeared with the per diem money handed out at the start of the project.

For the second round of the project MasterCard is providing a fund close to 55 million USD and the Ethiopian Jobs Commission (which is working closely with the partners) expects to reach 100,000 youth. Eventually, the partnership intends to address Ethiopia’s lackluster honey market; a market that only produces less than 10 percent of its total capabilities.

Addis Standard, The Reporter

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