KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union (Kwanalu) has kick-started an agricultural development programme called Women and Youth in Rural Entrepreneurship (WYRE).
The programme will provide rural women and youth entrepreneurs with skills and opportunities to support themselves and their communities, while participating in the agriculture value chain.
Kwanalu represents the collective interests of KwaZulu-Natal’s (KZN) commercial farmers and those involved in agriculture-related activities in their communities.
The WYRE programme was motivated by its members’ desire to reverse the cycle of poverty.
“From our years of working in the rural sector, we identified that poverty and a lack of skills can only be truly reversed if we commit to a sustained programme that supports people throughout the entire entrepreneurial process,” says Kwanalu’s Chief Executive Officer Sandy La Marque.
She adds that agriculture is a leading sector in South Africa’s economy and Kwanalu has insights into the social challenges youth and women in rural areas face.
The WYRE programme aims to permanently change their circumstances, by upskilling them to take part in the agriculture value chain.
Dr Kathy Hurly, the head of the WYRE programme, says as the programme is outcomes-based, she expects to see real change in communities.
Lihle Dladla, a beneficiary from eMbo near Durban, was running a day care centre but had to close it down when the parents of the children she cared for lost their jobs due to the civil unrest and looting that took place in South Africa in July 2021.
She says the WYRE has taught her so much she is thinking of entering the entrepreneurial space again.
“Kwanalu came to our area and offered to help those in need with business skills and resources. It made an open call, not just for those in agriculture. We have already attended a course that taught us about costing and market investigation,” she says.
Dladla says the intention is to take the skills they are getting from the WYRE programme to the people in their communities, for a wider impact.
Dr Hurly says the next step is the developing and strengthening of entrepreneurs in rural towns in KZN with accredited business training, leadership skills, development in self-management programmes, mentorship training and new venture creation.
“We aim to create 665 businesses in year one, employing 3 325 people and sustaining 33 250 livelihoods, with a value of R166 million in the rural economy,” says Dr Hurly.
To take part in the WYRE programme, visit http://www.kwanalu.co.za/kwanalu-wyre-webinar-survey/ and enter your details or call 033 342 9393.