May 10 2017
Actuarial Science student from Strathmore Institute of Mathematical Sciences (SIMS), Linda Karimi Gitobu, is a 2017 Blog4Dev contest winner. The 19 year old, wrote an article highlighting the importance of embracing technology in an effort to make Agriculture attractive to the youth. This years’ contest theme was: To farm or not to farm: What opportunities exist for the Kenyan youth to prosper in agriculture and agribusiness.
Noting that agriculture seems not to be a lucrative career option for the youth in this day and age, Karimi gave a personal experience to what in her opinion, would attract the youth in her age bracket into embracing agriculture.
At birth, I was named Karimi, meaning a hardworking farmer. In most African communities, a name shapes a child’s character or even path in life. I thought myself the exception to the rule. Most of my childhood was spent in Naivasha, one of Kenya’s horticultural havens in a wooden bungalow in the middle of a flower farm.
Quite honestly, I hold no more cherished memories than those. Furthermore, my parents, who were privileged enough to go to university, an uncommon thing in their time, have a farm that they religiously visit and tend to themselves, as their fathers did and their fathers before them. But like many youth, I see agriculture to not be enough. Not flashy enough. Not classy enough. Not up to standard. Whatever the changing social standard may be.
It is not ignorance as many people believe. The youth are aware of the statistics. They are aware that Egypt and Mesopotamia, a few of the world’s greatest ancient civilizations, were built on agriculture as are some of the Africa’s fastest growing economies: Rwanda, Côte d’Ivoire, and Ethiopia. Furthermore, they are aware of the profitability of the sector.
Unfortunately, they are not only unconcerned but also moving away from rural agricultural areas and into the urban areas. However, what the youth are concerned about is the modern version of ‘showing face’ or how the world perceives you.
The passionate 2nd year student who values conservation, environment and wildlife, strives to make a difference in providing sustainable solutions in the agricultural field.
She is the youngest among the three winners in this year’s contest, after competing against over 1,000 young Kenyans between the ages of 18 and 28. The winners will attend the 2017 World Bank Spring Meetings that will be held at Washington DC from April 17-23, 2017.
After submitting their essays in early December for the contest, the submitted blogs were reviewed by a number of World Bank staff with 13 bloggers being shortlisted for a face to face interview, after which the three winners were selected.
To read the full blog, click here.
Congratulations to Karimi on the outstanding achievement.