- The three-year MAYEP project saw beneficiaries get agricultural start-up kits to enable them have a sustained
- One of the beneficiaries of the MAYEP testified to having acquired a new bicycle for easy monitoring of his other projects, capital worth over Shs 4 million a sustainable source of livelihood and education of his child.
- The project also sought to encourage the young people to embrace agricultural enterprises as a business in a bid to create employment opportunities and also to enhance productivity, food security and for beneficiary families to have nutritional benefits from their agricultural ventures
By Orachwun Ronald
West Nile- At least 3,000 youths have acquired agricultural skills from a three-year European Union funded project amidst testimonies of improved income, self-reliability, improvement in quality of life and acquisition of personal assets in West Nile
The shs 3 billion three-year Maracha, Arua, Nebbi and Zombo (MANZO) youth empowerment project (Mayep) implemented by Agency for Accelerated Regional Development-AFARD and Self Help Africa in Maracha, Nebbi and Zombo districts sought to create sustainable employment opportunities for the youth along the agricultural sector value chain.
Self Help Africa Country director, Mr Engorok Obin said the beneficiaries were trained from different agricultural colleges in West Nile region with practical skills in horticulture and piggery due to their faster returns and high yielding capacity.
“We are not here to mourn but to celebrate. The result of this MAYEP program can be seen by those who were actively involved. We practically trained beneficiaries in agricultural enterprises and they will never remain the same again. We also want to appreciate AFARD for implementing this very great success.”
Mr Engorok Obin country director Self Help Africa. Photo by Orachwun Ronald.
Ms Catherine Adowa, the project manager Self Help Africa says the projects also included Village Loans and Savings Associations VLSA, where they managed to acquire the saving culture.
“We have had 121 youth secure formal jobs through the VLSA trainings, 975 youth taken to agricultural colleges, 9 youth agri-business groups received Shs 68 million from government with the aim of diversifying their income. So many of the youth are earning income through our regular trainings and interactions with them,” Ms Adowa said.
Ms Grace Kwiyocwiny Freedom, the minister of state for Northern Uganda commended Self Help Africa and AFARD for supplementing government’s efforts of eradicating poverty in the country.
Ms Kwiyocwiny says the youth unemployment in the country has reached deplorable level and such interventions are timely to get the young people out of their lazy comfort zones and poverty and employ them in agricultural enterprises which have hidden treasures.
Ms Esther Cherop, the Maracha Resident District Commissioner says a number of youth lack the component of sustainability, adding that once an agricultural venture has been started, it should be sustained in order to give reliable source of livelihood.
She said the youthful beneficiaries not to wait to be employed by other people but should instead be able to create their own jobs and employ others.
“We have so many people graduate from tertiary schools every year. A job that needs only two people attracts over 200 applicants. Now that you have acquired the practical skills, I am encouraging you not to sit down and wait for job adverts because you may not benefit from the application anyway,” she said.