By Noah Meely
It is with great pride and pleasure to witness the Micro Enterprises Support Programme Trust (MESPT) turning 20 years. We would not have come this far without the support of our founders: The Government of Kenya through the National Treasury, and The Royal Danish Embassy, through DANIDA.
The Trust has been a channel of socio-economic growth to the Kenyan people (mainly smallholder farmers and MSMEs) for over 20 years by way of strengthening the agriculture value chains. Agriculture being the backbone of our country’s economy, requires support and effort from various stakeholders to continually improve. This is where MESPT has identified a strategic niche to turn around the fortunes of smallholder farmers and agri-enterprises in the country through capacity development, which includes knowledge and skills transfer, technical assistance, business advisory, and financial and market linkages.
In our recently launched Strategic Plan 2021-2025, the Trust is focusing on four thematic areas, namely, agri-enterprise development (MSMEs), access to finance, agricultural productivity and food safety, and green transformation.
As an organisation, we desire more than ever before to live our vision of “building a more prosperous society” by responding to pressing economic, environmental, and social challenges such as climate change, financial exclusion, unsafe food, and women and youth unemployment. This strategic direction will take us far, not only by contributing to Kenya’s Big-4 Agenda and the Vision 2030 development blueprint, but also by addressing at least 12 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
As a champion for inclusive growth, MESPT will anchor gender equity at the core of all its interventions, and will endeavour to increase women’s access to and control of productive resources, increase their decision-making power at the household and community level, and promote their meaningful involvement in all its projects. We are aiming to have women as at least 40 percent of the beneficiaries of our interventions. Also, during this strategic period, we will ensure to integrate 30 percent youth into all our interventions within our focus value chains.
By 2025, we endeavour to facilitate the creation of 5,000 decent jobs, support the establishment and growth of at least 100 sustainable agri-enterprises, and integrate at least 75,000 smallholder farmers in targeted value chains. The Trust also aims at improving agricultural productivity and food safety for 75,000 households by increasing awareness, investments, and adoption of green and eco-friendly technologies, as well as expanding financial access and inclusion for the growth of MSMEs.
MESPT is currently working in 25 counties in Kenya, with financial support from the Royal Danish Embassy and the European Union. We work closely with the county governments, key government ministries and private sector players to deliver on our goals and objectives.
The writer is the Board Chairman of the Micro Enterprises Support Programme Trust (MESPT)