The Embassy of France to Champion Fight Against Unemployment in Uganda

By Claudine N.I

H.E Xavier STICKER, French Ambassador to Uganda, while giving a presentation about the project plan in Kampala, Uganda.

In an effort to address the high unemployment rate among Ugandan youth, particularly young women, the Embassy of France in Uganda, in collaboration with renowned partners SHONA, the Agency for Rural and Integrated Development, the EyeOpener Initiative, and StartHub Africa, has launched an innovative project.

Launched in April 2023, the two-year initiative aims to promote agile methodologies and innovative training to enable decent, sustainable, and income-generating employability for the youth of Uganda. The total budget allocated for this project amounts to €429,966.

Uganda, with one of the youngest populations in the world, faces a job market that is unable to absorb the influx of young job seekers each year. According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), in 2021, an alarming percentage of 40.7% of youth in Uganda are unemployed and not pursuing education or training. The main factors contributing to this situation include the gap between theoretical education and practical skills demanded by employers, the overemphasis on degrees rather than practical experience, and limited job opportunities for young people, confining them to poorly paid jobs with limited growth prospects.

The project, scheduled from March 30, 2023, to March 30, 2025, aims to address these challenges by focusing on three main sectors: employability, agro ecology and agroforestry, and tourism. The ultimate goal is to foster the creation of sustainable and income-generating social enterprises while enhancing the integration of youth into the labor market.

Under the first component of the project, SHONA, a business development service provider, will lead the implementation of Rootical, an initiative aimed at supporting micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the agri-food sector.

Rootical will involve 40 Ugandan talents, helping them establish their own regenerative agri-food businesses. Through this approach, the project aims to create six social enterprises that will accelerate the transition to a more equitable, inclusive, and regenerative food system.

The second component of the project will be led by the Agency for Rural and Integrated Development (AFIRD). With an impressive track record of 25 years, AFIRD actively promotes agro ecology, sustainable agriculture, and permaculture projects in the districts of Mpigi and Wakiso.

In the field of tourism and hospitality, the EyeOpener Initiative, an international creative agency focused on social and sustainable impact, will play a key role. Their Ukarimu program, which means “hospitality” in Swahili, will provide accessible education aimed at strengthening the skills of young people working in the tourism sector. By providing market-oriented training, this component of the project aims to meet the growing demand for skilled professionals in Uganda’s thriving tourism industry.

On the other hand, StartHub Africa, a renowned NGO with significant experience in working with Ugandan universities and students, will undertake the third component of the project. StartHub Africa has successfully established student-managed hubs in ten universities and has collaborated with over 1,000 students in the past five years. Through these student clubs, StartHub Africa provides entrepreneurship and innovation training, thus fostering the potential of young Ugandans and their integration into the labor market.

By combining the efforts of these renowned partners, the Embassy of France in Uganda hopes to catalyze positive change in the landscape of employability for Ugandan youth.

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Aica Media [pronounced as Aicha- an Ateso word which means Light] is a for profit youth driven media initiative in Uganda, with an aim to advocate for acceleration of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through media. Started in 2019, Aica seeks to inspire media practitioners to leverage their knowledge and resources to advance the SDGs by disseminating facts, human stories and solutions. Aica is authorized to do online data communication and publication by the Uganda Communications Commission and we are a member organization in the Uganda Youth Coalition for SDGs.

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