Children sitting on a bench

Shaping the economic future of rural youth

Over 80% of the estimated 146 million East Africans are under the age of 25, and this number is projected to rise.

Investing in youth unlocks economic opportunity for decades to come. The majority of rural youth are unemployed, with few if any economic opportunities in the formal labor sector. In response, Village Enterprise has adapted our poverty graduation program to transform rural youth into entrepreneurs who can shape the economic future for themselves and for the world around them.

youth standing by a bike

Providing economic opportunities to rural youth in northern Uganda

Village Enterprise’s partnership with Mercy Corps’ DYNAMIC program (Driving Youth-led New Agribusiness and Microenterprise), financed by the Mastercard Foundation, successfully equipped unemployed rural youths in Kitgum, Uganda to become successful entrepreneurs. In addition to implementing our poverty graduation program, Village Enterprise, in partnership with Mercy Corps, used a rural market development approach to empower the young participants, improve their employability, and promote agricultural market systems. By supporting youth in starting sustainable businesses, we are helping them break out of the vicious cycle of poverty and providing them with opportunities in their rural communities so they are not forced to migrate to urban slums.

youth standing in a field

This program builds on our previous success starting youth-based businesses as an implementing partner with FHI360 on the USAID’s Feed-the-Future initiative to reduce poverty and food insecurity. A focus on youth was inspired by the results of a Youth Study conducted in Spring 2014 in partnership with FHI 360 and USAID to identify retention, training, and business selection strategies for our program. This study was a November 2015 finalist of a USAID Collaborative, Learning and Adaptation Case Competition.

Who We Serve

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Who We Serve