When Jack Kodwalo and a number of friends formed the National Information Development Association Youth Group (NIDA) in 2005, it was a dream aimed at encouraging young people to attend school.
“We were the pioneer graduates in our region,” says Jack Kodwalo, NIDA Youth Group chairperson.
Kodwalo says that with “little incentive to continue their education, most youth drop out of school to work on the sugarcane farms or the gold mining industry as casual laborers.” Sugarcane plantation work is among the key economic activities in Migori.
Today, NIDA Youth Group has become a model of good stewardship and a pillar of youth strength in Awendo, Migori County. Started with a membership of five, the group has grown to a total of 16 members, the majority of whom are women. The group advocates for educational development, health and sanitation and supports orphans and vulnerable children in Awendo.
NIDA is a premier agribusiness enterprise that works with local farmers to produce Nerica rice, a hybrid rice variety suited to dry lands.
The group also has an apiculture (bee-keeping) business with 24 hives from which they harvest honey. The group envisions owning a honey agro-processing plant to produce wax, honey and other products thus becoming an employer and model for youth in their community.
‘While people say, we are going to Nairobi to find work, we want people to say, I am going to NIDA to find work,’ says Kodwalo.
NIDA Youth Group also hopes to create a youth resource center in the future to become advocates for change in education and health policy and practice in their region.
Having joined the Ongoza family after the second recruitment drive in Migori in May 2016, NIDA Youth Group hopes to learn, grow and build structures that will help them develop their business and create a greater impact to benefit the community in Awendo and greater Migori County.