Investing in Youth
Africa is the world’s youngest continent—60% of Africa’s estimated 1.4 billion people are under the age of 25.
Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities for Africa’s Next Generation
Youth unemployment is one of the world’s biggest global challenges. The pandemic has exacerbated youth unemployment across Africa, with some estimates citing as much as 60% unemployment among youth. The problem is often worse in rural areas where young people have few, if any, opportunities for work.
In order to better serve Africa’s young people, Village Enterprise has adapted our poverty graduation program to create economic opportunities for those between 18 and 35 years old living in extreme poverty. Our program equips young people with the tools and resources to launch sustainable businesses, earn higher incomes, generate savings, and become leaders at home and in their communities. By investing in young people today, we can create economic opportunities for generations to come.
Supporting Sustainable Businesses in the Uganda Youth Engine Project
In the Agago district of Uganda, Village Enterprise has teamed up with GOAL to create sustainable livelihoods for 1,350 youth by establishing 450 businesses. Funded by NORAD, the two-year Uganda Youth Engine Project is connecting entrepreneurs within the cassava and soybean value chains. The 1,350 entrepreneurs who are a part of the Uganda Youth Engine Project are between the ages of 18 and 35, and 70% of the entrepreneurs are female. By supporting these young people to start sustainable agribusinesses, not only is the project putting their families on a path out of extreme poverty, it is also creating more economic opportunities for others within their rural villages.
Creating Economic Opportunities for Youth in Northern Uganda
Funded by Mastercard, Village Enterprise’s partnership with Mercy Corps’ DYNAMIC program (Driving Youth-led New Agribusiness and Microenterprise) equipped unemployed rural youth in Kitgum, Uganda to become successful entrepreneurs. On top of implementing our poverty graduation program, Village Enterprise and Mercy Corps used a rural market development approach to empower the young entrepreneurs, improve their employability, and promote agricultural market systems. In total, our DYNAMIC partnership equipped more than 2,000 young people in Kitgum, Uganda to launch over 650 businesses.
Planning for the Future of Youth Engagement Work at Village Enterprise
The Village Enterprise longitudinal study showed us that youth entrepreneurs embrace the Village Enterprise graduation approach, and they continue to work with their peers years after launching their initial businesses. We are currently reviewing our mentoring curriculum in order to better tailor it to our young entrepreneurs, and we are exploring adding mental health services to our program in an effort to help more young people reach their full potential.