Job opportunities changing the lives of youth: A partnership between Mekelle University community service and BENEFIT-CASCAPE
To meet one of its mandates in research and community service, Mekelle University has been working in partnership with different projects like CASCAPE in agriculture research activities, implementation of research outputs, and empowers local communities through improved agriculture production and productivity.
At the start of CASCAPE-I in 2012, (known as BENEFIT-CASCAPE since 2016), the project validated, demonstrated and introduced an improved papaya variety called Maradol in Raya Azebo and Raya Alamata Woredas. In recent years, to encourage more farmers to adopt the new papaya variety and speed up the scaling process, Mekelle University CASCAPE project started to look into alternative market outlets and establishing market linkages.
In partnership with Mekelle University and Raya Azebo woreda office, the programme organized unemployed youth from the papaya producing localities, provided trainings and loan. Overall, this effort benefited both the producer farmers by buying their papaya fruits for better price and selling to consumers at 28% lower price at the university main campuses fruit shops. The papaya market linkage has helped Mekelle University to fulfill its mandate to deliver community service. (Read the story and testimonies from the youth who benefited from the initiative here.)