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SNV Uganda has joined forces with the European Union to tackle youth unemployment in West Nile region. The 3-year EU funded Youth Employability through Enterprise and Skills Development (YES) project aims to sustainably improve access to employment and business opportunities for 5,000 rural and urban, in- and out-of-school youth aged 15-30.

Speaking at the launch of the project in Arua district, Dr Stefan LOCK, Head of Section Economic Social Development EU, reiterated the EU's commitment to creating sustainable economic opportunities for youth in Uganda. “Uganda has one of the youngest populations in the world, with over 60% of the population below 18 years of age. This presents serious challenges as well as a lot of potential. If we don’t plan for the youth, we certainly will end up with high dependency and unemployment. A young population however also presents great potential for economic growth because of the high productive labour force. We need to work together to ensure that the potential and not the risks come out,” he added.

The YES project is anchored in training and mentorship of in and out of school youth in relevant soft and business skills through apprenticeship/ internship placements for employment and enterprise development in growth sectors with proven opportunities for job creation such as the local private sector enterprises.

The project will build the capacity of business, technical and vocational education and training institutions and non-state actors to offer training that will help youth become more market oriented by focusing on the delivery of relevant and employable soft skills, as well as the skills required to start-up, manage and grow successful enterprises. The out-of-school, rural youth will also benefit from agribusiness skills development and long-term apprenticeships led by young model farmers (YMFs). Urban youth with already existing businesses will be equipped with business skills necessary for them to effectively manage their businesses.

SNV Uganda is implementing the project in partnership with the Agency for Accelerated Regional Development (AFARD) and the Centre for Governance and Economic Development (CEGED)  in the districts of Nebbi, Arua, Yumbe and Moyo.