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This idea is a survey of impact on training youth, in agriculture and Social enterprises, to increase employment& income generation-update3

Young agriculturalist and Social entrepreneurs in Uganda/ East Africa have developed innovative ideas and enabled models for agriculture

Photo of Obua Godfrey
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This idea was built around openIDEO, Human  Centred Design and build on research ideas on youth empowerment.

The main challenges are scaling-up and earning an income while serving the poorest rural communities.

The concept of social entrepreneurship, the idea of using business to solve major social and environmental problems, is gaining traction in East Africa and particularly in agriculture. Poor farming practices, inefficient processing, storage and supply chain infrastructure leads to wastage, distorts pricing and supply. For the social entrepreneur such challenges in the food value chain provide business opportunities.

In our impact analysis, over 500 social enterprises across northern Uganda, of which many are working in agriculture, the findings have been captured in the Field impact survey and farmer field School Report (2016). Apart from other vocational jobs, which are showing signs of steady progress, for youth taking up in those field, there were two important findings, for other social enterprises/agriculture. Entrepreneurs carrying out businesses like groceries,or imported goods, were experiencing difficulties on growth, due to unexpected rise in prices of those goods with effect from exchange rates, Uganda shillings against the US Dollars, which make it very difficult for prices to be stable. While for agriculture,technology was identified in the report as a key enabler for social entrepreneurs in agriculture; lowering transaction costs and enabling scale through provision of information, finance, collectivising smallholders and providing market linkages. The report classifies social enterprises across three levers based on their interaction with the bottom of the pyramid (BoP): access, ability, and knowledge.

Access/Ability/Knowledge Framework (Source: Farmer Field report 2016)

BoP Involvement

Value to BoP

Agriculture Models

Target Market


As consumers of critical products and services

Improved access to critical products and services that are high quality and affordable

Agriculture inputs

Rural and urban BoP


As partners in enterprise value chain and/or skill development

Through skills improvements, increased productivity and output

Agro-processing and capacity building of farmers

Rural, urban and export market (middle and upper income)


As consumers of information

Improved awareness and behaviour change towards better quality of life.

Information linked to good farming practices

Rural and urban BoP


  • Policies which stimulate the growth of the rural farm and non-farm economies, which will create decent jobs and reduce poverty.
  •  An increase in investment in rural education and vocational training will enable more young people to acquire the skills needed to succeed in both the agricultural and non-agricultural sectors.
  • Policies designed to provide women with access to the same resources as men will improve their incomes and enhance national food security.
  • Creating a policy environment which encourages smallholders to form associations will help them gain better access to markets and give rural communities a stronger voice.

Our field officers, train smallholder farmers on effective agricultural practices, including crop rotation, managing livestock, pest control and post-harvest handling practices.

In fiscal year 2016, 23 our field staff reached more than 800 farmers and who earned a total of over $1,000 in commissions.

Business opportunities

Social entrepreneurship has the opportunity to improve rural employment, to empower youth and the entire communities, and to tackle various constraints in the food value chain. While private sector actors (e.g. short-termism), public sector actors (e.g. budget constraints), and civil society (e.g. entrepreneurial limitations) leave many options open for improvements, it is social entrepreneurs’ mission to fill this gap by combining social and entrepreneurial values.

Assessment of impact on social enterprise, agriculture ; the findings  showed that agriculture requires less start up capital compared to other social enterprises, other than groceries, as most businesses  rely on expensive imported goods.

Trainees gain practical skills and business sense that enable them to join informal,formal, or start up self-employment. Vocational training and life skills for youth and women, benefits all through gender equality, impact change, and match market skills, leading them to transition in socio-economic needs in life.

1. Expected Impact

All training projects will contribute to one or more of the following core impacts:

• Youth (re-) enroll in vocational and life skills training: for example youth enrolled in formal vocational/farm education or tertiary education programmes;

• Youth gain employment: for example youth employed either formally, informally or self-employment; or

• Youth improve the quality of their family lives: for example youth are empowered and better able to participate in decision making relating to their family or community

Youth learn value chain analysis to enable them to maintain quality and grade their produce before sales.

Meta impact: training in social enterprises enable youth gain improved employment opportunities, life chances, reduced inter-generational poverty and increased economic opportunities for youth and women.

2. Expected Outcomes, all training projects will contribute to the following core outcomes:

• Unemployed/under employed youth, Out of school (OOS) youth age 15-35 gain farm education skills and other vocational/ life skills;

 • New evidence base is established on what works to reach, empower the unemployed youth, out of schools youth, and support their transition into economic growth; and

• Government policies actively include unemployed,OOS youth and systems are able to meet their needs;

Training projects will also contribute to intermediate outcomes, including:

· Out Of School youth attend school, vocational training and/or life skills courses and/or enter work;

· Government, donors, men, families and communities increase their support and aspirations for unemployed youth,Out Of School youth;

· Teachers, trainers and other educators, are better equipped and resourced to support youths’ learning and progression;

· Active partnerships and engagement with government, and other key actors on good practice and evidence to inform policy and system reforms.

Trained to sell

 Since 2015, every year,nearly 800 young people in northern Uganda have benefited from the training in entrepreneurship and agriculture-farm education, a programme to introduce young people to agriculture and social enterprises. Launched by Rural Women and Youth Coordination -RWYC, to combat unemployment and the rural exodus, this scheme involves a 2 year pilot-phase (2017-2018), with an estimated cost of €500,000, entirely to be funded by the donor lobbing budget. From 2018 on wards, this will be followed by a phase that involves promoting more agricultural enterprises for young people. It is an original initiative compared with past experiences, to promote Agriculture and Rural Development, with capacity building featuring throughout, to create more jobs for the youth and women.

The project’s previous programmes focused on extending services, lobbing for loans, offering training and monitoring beneficiaries, who were chosen on the basis of records of poverty, unemployment and out of schools youth. No attempt was made to address the crucial issue of market access other than improving productivity and quality.

These schemes worked well, but they failed at the marketing stage, according to our observations 2015-2016. From our recent survey, there are innovations on a number of fronts, involving a more open selection of beneficiaries, no longer based on studying files but on motivation, with people chosen from volunteers. Other novel aspects include improving land fertility and preparation through free support to young people (by issuing inputs, like organic fertilizers, compost making, helping with ploughing and labour), as well as grants, training and practical follow-up in the field. One of the most important factors of this programme today, is the improvement of market access.

There are companies which buy the output of these young farmers for standard prices and markets their products. As a result, motivation levels are increased and yields are higher than the national average. The youngsters are producing 2.5 t of maize and 4 t/ha of rice, compared with an average of 1.5 and 2.5 t, respectively. In 2019, the programme’s second phase will focus on making the best young farmers more professional by supporting their activities with a well-established network from production to marketing stages.

Promoting market access

For many farmers, another major constraint is isolation, a factor that prevents them from selling their agricultural products. So what is the point of producing more? Over 60% of rural people live and grow their crops more than 2 km from a road where vehicles can pass year-round. Almost half of all rural roads are in poor condition, especially during rainy seasons, which increases transport times and costs; many others are completely impassable.

But here too, new road construction and the road repairs are under way, so require hefty investment and the involvement of all sectors: donors, governments, private companies and local communities. But it is an essential prerequisite if farmers are to supply local, regional or national markets and thereby feed the towns.

Jobs for the young

Africa has significant physical assets to help it deal with the expected population explosion, but harnessing them will require massive investment. The population growth, which makes these outlays so pressing, is also a plus point since it brings with it a large influx of young people to the labour market. Despite a vigorous rural exodus, the number of people in the countryside will continue to grow by an annual 1.4%. Between 2005 and 2030, the rural population will swell from 473 to 604 million in Africa. In 2010, almost 70% of people still depend on farming for their livelihoods in rural and peri-urban areas. Urban areas, which have little in the way of industrialisation, do not provide enough formal employment opportunities for all the young people entering the jobs market: there are currently 10 million youth per year, a figure expected to rise to between 18 and 20 million by 2030. In 2006, 27% of young Africans aged 15 to 35 had no formal or informal job and were not involved in education, according to the International Labour Organization. This bleak situation prompts some of them to move abroad at any price or, in conflict areas, to enroll as child soldiers in a sad attempt to earn a living. If present conditions persist, agriculture and rural activities will remain the main source of employment and income for large numbers of young people in the years to come. Many Africans are under-employed in rural areas, for example during the long dry season in the Sahel or due to land shortages in Rwanda. However, labour is often lacking when heavy agricultural work needs to be done, especially in the case of female-headed smallholdings.

But these days, farming is not an attractive prospect for young people. A career in agriculture is not widely sought after and in some cases is actively scorned. The scant interest shown by the authorities over the past decades in what is, after all, a crucial sector has added to the sense of neglect.

The lack of training suited to the needs of young rural people wanting to use modern techniques is evidence of this. School is a first step. Attendance at primary school has increased significantly over the past 12 years and now stands at 76%. But figures for secondary school do not exceed 30%, with attendance concentrated in the towns and amongst boys. Yet when attendance rates of girls at secondary school increase by 1%, economic growth rises by 0.3 %.

Professional training adapted to the needs of young people is a gauge of agricultural modernisation and enables youngsters to free themselves from the often heavy burden of tradition. Restoring credibility to agriculture as a career, making rural areas attractive, taking into account the needs and wishes of this sector of the population — these are some of the challenges that need to be addressed if coming generations are to remain in the African countryside. Inevitably, some of them will continue to flock to the towns, but Rural Women and Youth Coordination, has started the new advent of young well-trained farmers keen to introduce innovations opens the way for the much needed rise in output. Because of this, the large numbers of young people will prove a blessing rather than a burden. There is little choice in the matter. Feeding and providing livelihoods for two billion people in 2050 means that agriculture will have to become the absolute priority.

Not to mention the fact that training does not always reach the people it is destined for, RWYC, which is aims at farmers between 20 and 50, training locations has to be launched in several regions of northern Uganda by mid-2017, in an effort to combat poverty by creating and strengthening rural employment. By the end of 2019 it will have financed a total of more than 5,000 projects and created around 22,000 jobs in various sectors, including rice, cassava and maize.


Vocational training and life skills.

 Vocational training – often referred to as TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) - can be a key route for out of school and out of work young people to enter the working world. It typically involves the opportunity for people to develop their technical capacity as well as building entrepreneurial and business skills. For highly marginalised adolescent youth who have limited or no access to financial capital it can be the only opportunity they have to gain valuable skills which provide a pathway to (self) employment or to further training leading to a viable livelihood. Inequitable gender norms often mean that young people do not have the same career and vocational opportunities due to one reason or another and this is exacerbated by generally lower learning levels due to a range of factors.

Our training which aim to redress the balance and to provide targeted and appropriate opportunities to vocational training which will change the livelihood prospects for highly marginalised young people in Uganda. We are looking forward to an initiatives which respond to the particular and often diverse needs and experiences of highly marginalised youth.

Note: Whilst the training as a whole targets the age group 15-35 years, vocational training proposals  caters for the needs of individuals, appropriate and does not detract from or replace basic education, particularly for school-leavers but enhance their capacity to life career. Applicants are advised to consider the following key elements when making a choice of vocational training:

· Market analysis and matching opportunities with market requirements. Prospective students should balance needs based on current information which indicates a clear link between the training being chosen and the potential use of the new skills in the local context. with value chain analysis training, youth can now grade their own produce before sale.

see attachment on social enterprise for what next, way forward and aims and beneficiaries of the new demonstration centre.

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Attachments (3)

The aims and beneficiaries of new training centre.docx

the new training centre explained in detail

Farms could become the offices of the future for the youth in Uganda.docx

Plans behind impact assessment of youth agricultural and social enterprise training

impact assessment of youth training.docx

The attachment, details the impact assessment of our youth training initiatives, to create youth employment in Uganda, applicable in other East African countries.

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Photo of sam Mlambo

Hello Godfrey Obua,
I applaud and buy this idea! In my opinion, this is the best way forward for the whole of Africa and other developing countries.
I am a mentor for entrepreneurship (social Enterprise). I will be in torch with you always.
Please keep it up and,
Good luck!
Mlambo Sam

Photo of Obua Godfrey

Hello Sam,
Thank you for your support.

Yes, we are trying hard to Make, Inspire, Innovate and Implement, and at the same time share knowledge, improve livelihoods.
When we get some funding support, in the near future, we shall be working on various projects, from our new demonstration centre and if you could get time to come and see for yourself ,we are here to welcome you.

It is alright, we shall be in torched always, and you could join OpenIDEO, so we can exchange ideas too.

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Godfrey Obua

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