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The International Centre of
Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe), and The MasterCard Foundation today
announced a US$10.35 million (approximately 220 million Ethiopian birr)
commitment towards creating employment opportunities for young people through
beekeeping and silkworm farming. 
 
The five-year project is expected to directly
benefit 12,500 unemployed and out-of-school youth, and provide opportunities to
an additional 25,000 people involved in the value chain from harvesting, to processing,
packaging and marketing honey and raw silk. The announcement was made during a
ceremony officiated by His Excellency Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
In Ethiopia, the largest honey and beeswax-producing country


in Africa, honey and silk enterprises have the potential to provide a wide
range of employment opportunities for many of the country’s youth.

“We must create an environment in which youth are a
thriving part of the economy,” said Reeta Roy, President and CEO of The
MasterCard Foundation. “By creating opportunities in beekeeping and
silkworm farming, thousands of young Ethiopian women and men will take the
first steps towards becoming successful entrepreneurs and contribute to their
country’s continued economic growth.”
“Having grown up in rural Ethiopia, I am fully aware of
the impact that opportunities such as these can have on a community. icipe is
delighted to use its extensive experience in implementing beekeeping and silk
farming initiatives for Ethiopian youth,” the icipe Director General,
Segenet Kelemu added.
Project participants will receive starter kits and equipment
such as hives, honey processors, rearing trays and spinning wheels to get their
new businesses off the ground. They will also benefit from an innovative mix of
technical knowledge on modern beekeeping and silkworm rearing, business
management skills training, and receive access to financial services, and links
to local and international markets.
The initiative will target unemployed, out-of-school young
people between 18 and 24 years of age who have completed a grade 10 education,
and who are based in the East and West Gojjam of Ethiopia’s Amhara region, as
well as in Goma Gofa in the Southern Nations.
The Young Entrepreneurs in Silk and Honey is designed to
contribute to broader developmental agendas, such as food security by
scaling-up beekeeping to promote pollination services, and environmental
protection through sustainable beekeeping and silk farming. The Young
Entrepreneurs in Honey and Silk initiative will combine the individual
expertise and capabilities of icipe and The MasterCard Foundation. icipe has
over 20 years of experience in implementing beekeeping and silk farming
enterprises, including in Ethiopia’s Tigray, Oromia and Southern Nations,
Nationalities and Peoples regions. Since 2010, The MasterCard Foundation has
committed more than US$31 million in financial inclusion, youth employment and
education initiatives in Ethiopia.
Project Details
* Project Partners: Ministry of Women, Children and Youth
Affairs; Ministry of Agriculture; Livestock State Ministry and Cooperative
Agency; Holeta Beekeeping Research Centre; Amhara Credit and Savings
Institution; Omo Microfinance Institution (OMO) and Bere Sericulture Production
PLC.
 
About The MasterCard Foundation
The MasterCard Foundation works with visionary organisations
to provide greater access to education, skills training and financial services
for people living in poverty, primarily in Africa. As one of the largest,
independent foundations, its work is guided by its mission to advance learning
and promote financial inclusion to alleviate poverty. Based in Toronto, Canada,
its independence was established by MasterCard when the Foundation was created
in 2006. 
 
About ICIPE 
The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, is a world-class research centre whose mission is to contribute
towards poverty reduction, food security, better health and environmental
protection across the developing world, by enhancing the capacity of
researchers and communities to produce and utilise insect sciences. icipe is
headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, with a country office in Ethiopia and several
field stations in Kenya. The Centre currently has operations in 30 African
countries, and thriving partnerships with universities and research
organisations across the world.

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