Working with youth across northern Uganda, we asked what their advice would be for other youth in their villages to improve their lives. Across the board, young people said that working together, belonging to a group or youth association had meant support for making changes in their personal lives and across their villages.
“Let us encourage our fellow youth to be with us, to work with us,” said Herbert Kyamanywa, who after joining Kahara Youth Association, has been able to grow his ox plough business and now provides employment to others in his village.
Many have joined youth associations through the Youth Empowerment Through Agriculture Project, (YETA), which NCBA CLUSA implements in Uganda in partnership with Mastercard Foundation.
“The Foundation recognizes that in order for youth to reach their full potential, they must have access to the right skills and opportunities,” said Ann Miles, Director of Programs, Financial Inclusion & Youth Livelihoods at MasterCard Foundation at an event launching the Youth Forward Initiative in 2015. “By bringing together multiple partners with varying types of expertise, we can better support young people through practical skills development, networking opportunities and access to appropriate financial services so they can successfully find a job, further their education or start their own businesses.”
And it is the networks that youth in Uganda are seeing as incredible useful. From support across different agribusinesses to creating trust and friendship, mentorship and community go a long way in business training.
Continuing through 2020, the YETA project draws on NCBA CLUSA’s existing network of cooperatives, producer organizations and youth associations in northern Uganda as an entry point to train, mentor and provide employment opportunities for more than 26,000 at-risk and unemployed/underemployed youth in the districts of Dokolo, Kiryandongo, Kole and Masindi.