Today, Kenya joins the rest of the world to celebrate the International Youth Day.
But it will not be just any other day for Gregory Kipchirchir, a third-year student at Egerton University pursuing a degree in Agribusiness Management.
Kipchirchir is poised to be honored by the British Royal family as part of the icons of the youth generation leading in innovation.
"Initially my family and the neighborhood relied on the market for fresh farm vegetables which retailed at exorbitant prices. But nowadays we got fresh sustainable vegetables supply enough for my family and surplus is sold to the neighbors," he said.
He added that his venture has motivated him to mentor fellow youths establish own crop farms in turn ensuring food security.
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"At the moment majority of the youths have embraced farming unlike before and dissuaded from engaging in immoral activities," he said.
Apart from the award, the young innovator, will address more than eight million people, in the first-ever takeover of the British Royal Family’s Instagram account, @theroyalfamily.
Kipchirchir beat all odds to become one of the four young people globally, who clinched an opportunity to receive the coveted award.
“On this International Youth Day, and as a tribute to the role played by so many young people, we are handing over our Instagram account to some of these inspiring young people from around the world so they can share the stories of how they are making a difference,” said HRH the Earl of Wessex, Chairman of Trustees for the International Award.
“To all those young people who have responded to the challenges of Covid-19 by volunteering, being a career or a key worker, and especially if you’re part of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award community, I just want to say a massive thank,” he added.
Following the countrywide closure of schools due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Kipchirchir, 21, a Gold Award participant, opted to learn farming, specifically in the production of vegetables.
His working project has drawn interest from his peers in his neighborhood who religiously pass by his farm, to attain the skills on how to set up a vegetable farm.
This, away from empowering the community, has also led to the sustainability of the families to grow their vegetables as opposed to purchasing from the market.
On top of his venture, he also spends some of his extra time helping his community in Trans Nzoia County, to adopt afforestation through a community tree project where he volunteers.
His efforts, to help families which have been adversely affected by the coronavirus whirlwind, as many have been rendered jobless, did not go unnoticed.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award that showcases resilience, ingenuity, and adaptability among the youth, was looking from a distance.
His efforts, catapulting him among other youth from Canada, Czech Republic, and Indonesia, to the international platform that will be broadcasted live today.
John May, Secretary-General of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation said:
“Whilst Covid-19 has brought exceptional challenge and change to every corner of the globe, we have been so inspired by how young people have responded. Award participants have been leading the way, taking on the challenges of Covid-19 and finding ingenious ways to keep active, learn new skills, and support their communities. Gregory has been at the forefront and we’re delighted that we can celebrate his achievements in this way.”
May continues: “It has never been more important to ensure that young people are equipped with the skills they need to be ready for change. Quality non-formal education and learning such as the Award can help them to develop skills such as resilience, adaptability and confidence, which will ensure they are ready for the world, at a time when the world needs them more than ever.”
Nellie Munala, the Chief Executive Officer of The President’s Award-Kenya, also lauded the efforts the youth are continuously making in alleviating challenges in their communities, especially during the Covid-19 crisis.
“The pandemic, therefore, puts Kenyan youth at a critical point in history— whether they choose to contribute to limit the spread of the pandemic and regain their lives at a faster pace or do nothing and waste away. I am glad that the majority of the Kenyan youth have chosen to flatten the curve by doing exceptional work in their different circumstances,” she said.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has brought to the fore the significant role that young people play in finding solutions to challenges in their communities and beyond. Young people’s lives have directly been affected by the disruptions caused by the pandemic occasioned by reduced job opportunities and limited access to formal education.
As we celebrate the International Youth Day, I would like to encourage young people to continue supporting their communities in flattening the curve. The prize offers the opportunity for young people to build their universal skills necessary for the present challenges,” concluded Munala.