At least 1400 youths are set to benefit from Shs 1.4 billion Youth Empowerment, Entrepreneurship and Decent Employment program.
Launched by Hajjat Minsa Kabanda, minister for Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and Standard Chartered Bank in partnership with Voluntary Services Overseas, the project will be implemented in areas around Kampala district; Nakawa, and Makindye divisions and Wakiso district; in Nabweru, Nansana Municipality.
Phase II of the program aims to improve the employability skills of 200 excluded young people and people with disabilities, enhance entrepreneurship skills for 300 young people, including people with disabilities and support 400 youth and young people to start and grow businesses in competitive sectors by the end of the year.
It will also support 500 youths to access both non-formal and formal financing opportunities and contribute to the creation of an enabling and supportive institutional policy and advocacy environment for entrepreneurship and employment in productive sectors.
Phase one promoted financial empowerment by training youth on financial literacy, enrolling them in community-based vocational classes, and fostering their attitude to save, and become an entrepreneur by giving them start-up kits.
Margaret Kigozi, head, of corporate affairs, brand and marketing Standard Chartered Bank Uganda said the bank is committed to lifting the participation of youth, persons with disabilities and SMEs by promoting the social and economic development of young people from low-income households.
“Our intent is to provide transformative opportunities and fundamentally transform the lives of the youths by enabling them to build their own bright futures and navigate the various challenges they are faced with,” she said.
“We will continue towards strengthening the capacity of young people, especially girls and people with disabilities, through employability skills, entrepreneurship and improving their chances of getting jobs and empower them to start up their own businesses,” she said.
Minister Kabanda applauded VSO for choosing Kampala and Wakiso districts and complementing government’s agenda of skilling and the creation of jobs. The unemployment rate in Kampala alone is 21 per cent according to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics. As the government, we welcome initiatives that empower youth and boost our economy.
“As we go into phase two, I urge you to put into consideration the challenges faced in phase one. I call upon all the youth to join the program for them to contribute to the economic development of their country,” she said.
William Mugerwa, the managing director of VSO said it is no secret that job prospects are poor for all young people, but the situation is even direr for the vulnerable youth. They face many barriers to employment due to a number of issues like disability, gender, insufficient skills, low education attainment, cultural attitudes or limited opportunities in the job market.
He said women and PWDs are at major risk of poverty, yet research shows that homes where PWDs live are headed by women. It is also sad to note that even when persons with disabilities do have the necessary qualifications, they still struggle to find employment. This is due to discriminatory attitudes towards PWDs and most workspaces not being inclusive.