Uganda is home to the second youngest population in the world. Most young people are engaged in low-paying seasonal jobs. Young people face many barriers to access quality education and many enter into their teenage years with low literacy and numeracy skills and limited market-relevant skills to earn money for themselves and their families. Consequently, many young people are employed in low-paying, seasonal jobs. While employers do not require formal education, many are looking for young people with strong life skills who are seen to be honest and can perform well in a team environment. Opportunities for self-employment exist in cultivating maize and cassava, and raising goats and poultry.
Youth in Action in Uganda was launched in 2012. The program has been adapted to work with two age groups (12-13 & 14-18). 95% of the younger age group (12-13) go back to school and select a home based business enterprise to be implemented together with the parent. The older age group (15-18) can choose to establish a small enterprise or receive apprenticeship/vocational training. Also, each participant receives a small seed cash grant to support their enterprise choice, as well as participate in peer-to-peer and community-based mentorship.
- 65% of young people live in rural areas.
In total, 6,682 girls and boys have finished the learning phase and moved to action. 3,963 graduated from the full program, 71% among them have established their own enterprise, 27% received Apprenticeship and the rest received vocational training or went back to formal education.