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Upskilling young people is reducing poverty across Africa

By Opportunity International

A growing youth population

Youth un- and under-employment is one of the biggest challenges currently facing Africa.  Many countries are struggling to provide education, productive employment and decent work for all.  As the population increases, this challenge is becoming more acute – by 2050, Africa’s population is set to double. 

 In Uganda, 78% of the population is under the age of 31. While about 700,000 young people reach working age every year in Uganda, only 75,000 jobs are created. This leaves more than 70% of Ugandans employed in agriculture, mainly on a subsistence basis.

Ensuring all young people, including the most marginalised, can unlock their potential through access to decent work is crucial to break the cycle of poverty on an individual and country level.  Improving education and training, combined with increasing access to finances are all part of the solution. 

This is where we come in.

Our work with young people provides them with access to financial services and training so they can build a business and work their own way out of poverty.  Equipping young people with employable skills and business knowledge enables them to work towards a more secure future.

Josephine – making the most of an opportunity  

In Uganda, more than 150 groups have received training in financial management, risk management, planning and business sustainability via our partners. All groups have started a business!

Josephine, who lives in Central Uganda near the shores of Lake Wamala with her two young daughters, is part of a Youth Village Savings and Loans Association group. Her group have set up a fishing business.

The 7-month-old business has already made a profit of £113 that they’ve re-invested into their group to launch and support more new agricultural businesses.  

Developing new skills, Josephine now takes the minutes for the group and has recently been nominated to be their treasurer. With new found confidence and abilities she’s also started her own business selling bananas using the resources and networks she’s grown through the Savings and Loans Group.

Josephine now makes her own profit of £35.70 per month.

As a woman in business, I feel good because I am able to get anything I want, I am good at problem solving and I am able to meet  home needs. Friends always approach me to get advice on how to succeed in business. The community people trust me with loans for they are able to see my hard work knowing.

Josephine has shared her experience and learnings with a group of six female friends who have been able to also start up small businesses like making snacks, agricultural produce, retail shops and vegetable stalls. Josephine’s plans are to start up a small industrial cottage for food drying to provide jobs to many of the unemployed young people in her community. She also hopes to train young people on business knowledge at a fee, since many youths are interested in attaining business knowledge.

Read more about our work with young people and see how they are seizing opportunities can lift whole communities out of poverty.  


World Youth Skills Day celebrates the importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship.


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