As a consortium, OI, Cohere, OBUL & PHB, we will address economic and capacity challenges faced by young refugees in Uganda, which prevent them from accessing sustainable employment opportunities. We aim to enable them by establishing an integrated ‘one-stop shop’ of adapted Business Development Services and Financial Services for the refugee market.
Uganda’s refugee population has tripled since 2016 and is continuing to rise. In this protracted refugee situation humanitarian assistance is decreasing and support is needed to transition refugees from dependence to self-reliance.
UNHCR reports a 1% achievement towards the national refugee employment target. This is attributed in part to the focus on humanitarian initiatives but also, to short-term skills training. This has been found to be inadequate for the job market and for self-employment. Further challenges include:
- Infrastructure limitations
- Fractured value-chains and markets
- Low agricultural productivity
- Poor governance
- Lack of employment and entrepreneurial skills
- Limited access to financial services
- Cultural and gender-specific barriers
Our strategy responds to calls for innovative, market-based solutions to create sustainable jobs for young refugees and builds on OI’s current work driving multi-dimensional programs that enable young people to determine their own way out of poverty.
Three programme components will address gaps and offer young refugees realistic pathways towards stable livelihoods:
• Business skills –Adaptive business training will help transition youth to productive employment.
• Financial services – Tailored saving accounts and loan products will be included for youth and refugee-led organisations to facilitate economic empowerment.
• Skill development – Training will increase financial literacy, agronomy, coaching, leadership, soft skills to overcome the dependency mindset. It will also build preparedness, confidence and resilience in disadvantaged youth.
Additionally, in response to the high drop-out rate of women in training programs, our business and financial literacy trainings will be tailored to meet the needs of young women. Women’s participation will be strengthened by targeting households, engaging with community leaders, and promoting women’s leadership in enterprises and RLOs. Based on current practices, women will be identified from within refugee communities to become training facilitators, mentors, and coaches.
Our solution will create employment opportunities in the following ways:
• Consultants, trainers, and coaches will be hired from within refugee communities to support our programme implementation. To facilitate the inclusion of women, female refugees will be hired as trainers and mentors.
• Incubation and acceleration activities for youth-led social enterprises will lead to enterprise growth and employment opportunities for refugee youth.
• Loans will improve the operational efficiency of refugee businesses, leading to expansion. For example, business loans typically create between 1-3 jobs, on average.
• Increased and secure revenues from farming will lead to investment and growth investment and improvements in agriculture.
CFYE funding will help us as a consortium to combine efforts and support refugee youth employment in Uganda. With CFYE support we can expand our activities within the two target settlements more quickly and efficiently than we would have been able to otherwise. In addition, TA will help us to establish a robust M&E system, including beneficiary feedback loops, which will identify areas to improve or adapt to achieve greater impact.