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Meet YPARD Mentor: Everlyne Cherobon

“As a man thinketh in his heart; so he is.” These noble words inspired Everlyne Cherobon to win the EMRC Small Business Incubator Award - an initiative encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa among small and medium enterprises.Her award winning organization, EMEDEN Kenya seeks to improve the livelihoods of rural smallholder farmers in Kenya's semi-arid Rift Valley by organizing and connecting smallholder farmers to markets.“Winning the prize was a defining moment for me and my business…it means a vote of confidence on what I hope to do with smallholder farmers in the drylands of Kenya. It means there is business sense in working with smallholder farmers in Africa. It means a lot of attention needs to be focused on them”.Her work and journey in agriculture was inspired by both her upbringing and education. As a child of a peasant farmer, she saw firsthand what her parents went through to put food on the table and to pay her school fees.Like many other farmers, her parents lived in poverty despite being the feeders of the nation.“We should thank farmers whenever we eat. They play a vital role which is rarely appreciated,” she says.PositionProject coordinator, Empower, Mentor and Develop Network (EMEDEN Kenya)CountryKenyaEducationBsc. Agribusiness Management and a Master of Education in Entrepreneurship DevelopmentMsc. Agricultural Resources Management, University of Nairobi. (Ongoing)MenteeVivien Ochieng, poultry farmer and counsellorEverlyne has worked with the government and NGO sector for over 12 years, mostly in the field of rural development. She is a pro poor development worker with a passion for smallholder farmers of Africa. She has experience as trainer and facilitator in the areas of sustainable agriculture, microfinance, and entrepreneurship development. She also works in addressing social problems affecting rural households such as alcoholism, teenage pregnancies, and HIV/AIDS.Everlyne sees the YPARD mentoring program as an opportunity for the mentees to learn hands-on from their mentors’ expertise.“My mentee will benefit from my vast experience in the area of development,” she says.“Mentoring is like someone holding your hand from the other side of a big river and asking you to jump over. With their hand on yours, your chances of jumping over successfully are improved.”