Currently, Uganda annually graduates over 30,000 new young people into the labour market, 64% are unemployed—the highest rate of all time. A 2016 Ugandan Youth Survey revealed that 74% of the youth were susceptible to voter bribery due to poverty; 54% said that they had the power to influence changes; and about 48% of youth aspire to own businesses. Youth’s desire to engage in entrepreneurship and policy discourses provides a clear path towards achieving United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Uganda’s National Development Plan of ending poverty and improving the quality of life for Ugandans. However, the youth have limited knowledge and support on how to be fully engaged in shaping the direction of the country.
In 2017, Faraja Africa Foundation designed a special program called the Social Entrepreneurs and Leaders Fellowship (SELF) aimed to address the knowledge gap especially on skills in social entrepreneurship and leadership with university students in Northern and Central Uganda.The SELF is built on a social entrepreneurship curriculum that develops skills on how to start, maintain and expand businesses. At the same time, it provides young people with the skills to meaningfully participate in the political discourse of the country.
The initiative is focused on young people between the age, 18-23 years old and attending a university in Uganda. Hence choosing to solve a problem by having graduates align their knowledge, with skills and engagement; whilst having a clear idea for positive social change with a record of accomplishment that demonstrates the viability of the idea. As well as having a deep-seated passion for solving the problem they are addressing, and being coachable (embraces honest feedback and desires to improve).
The initiative aims to reach three specific objectives;
- Develop and evaluate an integrated entrepreneurship fellowship program (WhatsApp discussions, entrepreneurship program; advocacy; political participation) to increase youth’s quality of life and ability to participate meaningfully in the democratization of Uganda;
- Evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of the SELF-program in increasing employment opportunities for youth.
- Mobilize knowledge of implementation processes and effectiveness of SELFdelivery approaches.
It also strengthens the role of young leaders in community mobilization, local governance, and sustainable development. Hence, create job creators, community change agents and peer educators that will sustainably drive the development agenda of not only Uganda but also replicate to other young people and African countries.
The methodology implemented is based on three E: Educate (inform and skill), Empower (exposure and opportunity creation for start up with mentorship) and Engage (support community initiatives and connect to the right places/offices for sustainability).
By the end of2017, 90 young people gained social entrepreneurship, and leadership skills to create, attain/retain employment, start sustainable business/community initiatives. Of which, 25 youth were empowered with small grants of $800 to start social enterprises in agriculture and Information Technology. The advocacy campaign amplifies voices of over 9 million young people in demanding for more resource financing into youth development feeding into the 9th Commonwealth Youth Ministers meeting. The initiative also helped to build the leadership capacities of Members of Parliament from six districts easily and connect with the 90 youth from their respective regions especially in addressing youth issues in employment, opportunities and participation in decision-making. At the end of 2017 an International Youth Camp, which connected the youth leaders to other change makers from East African was organized, thus, driving discussion of social entrepreneurship and collective regional effort in influencing our East African communities.
Partners: The solution is being implemented in partnership with Parliament of Uganda
Faraja Africa Foundation,
PO Box 7562, Queen Chambers,
Parliamentary Avenue Kampala, Uganda
Office Tel +256 (0) 39 488 4176