Uganda has one of the youngest and most growing populations in the world. Preparing for productive jobs is a social and political priority. Many youths in Uganda cannot afford to proceed with formal educational training due to financial constraints, academic requirements as a basis for admission into training, early pregnancies, migrations or family breakdown. These challenges are partly responsible for the increased volume of unemployed youth and rising poverty levels.
In Kibaale District, approximately 240km from Uganda’s capital city, Kampala, our partner Rural People In Action For Development (RUPAD) is working to provide vocational training, in labour-market demanded skills, to youths who have no formal education.
In the trading centres in Kibaale district, wheat products such as bread, doughnuts and daddies, are currently delivered on a regular basis from Kamapala. These popular products are in high demand, but there is no local production in the area. RUPAD has identified that there is an opportunity for local people to learn to produce and market their own food products to meet this demand. In an exciting new pilot project, 35 trainees have been selected from two women’s groups (Abagambakamu women’s group and Bujogoro Katweyombeke group) to learn skills in catering and business management.
The women began their training in December 2022, at a new facility situated within Kitoga trading centre. The training facility comprises a simple clay oven and a baking shelter, where equipment, ingredients and produce can be safely and hygienically stored and kept dry. And being located in a trading centre means there are plenty of potential customers. The trainees are already seeing an income from their produce. RUPAD CEO Robert Kyamanywa said, “The catering project is very real. It is an intervention where one may not need to wait to start earning. Actually while we were at the training site the treasurer was already receiving money. This project has been much welcomed so much so that even non members have come around to acquire skills.”
As production increases, there will also be opportunity for business expansion. It is expected that the women will be able so supply a further eight neighbouring trading centres, and income from the sales of their products will be invested in a savings account. This money will be used to develop a second catering facility, so that within 9-12 months after the start of the project, the two groups are expected to split into two business sites.
In the final month of the project, participants will receive business management and life skills training in readiness for graduation and for setting up their own enterprises. All members of each group know each other well and have established committees who support their social and economic sharing. Graduates will continue to work as a group for a further 6 months, during which time their business development will be regularly monitored by RUPAD staff.
Equipped with vocational, business and life skills, and with a nationally recognized apprenticeship certificate, graduates can expect to gain increased employment opportunities, enhanced incomes and improved standards of living.
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