KAMPALA – The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), part of the U.S. Mission in Uganda, this week, celebrated the 350,000 youth who gained skills to thrive in the agriculture sector and improve their entrepreneurship abilities via the five-year USAID Feed the Future Uganda Youth Leadership in Agriculture (YLA) Activity.
According to official documents, between July 2015 and June 2020, YLA helped increase incomes and improve livelihoods of Ugandan youth between the ages of 10 and 35 through improved skills and competencies. The activity worked closely with 38 private sector organizations, opening economic pathways in the agricultural sector for hundreds of thousands of young people.
Among its many successes, the activity established strong partnerships with the private sector, generating employment and providing agricultural and business skills for young people.
As over 49 percent of the beneficiaries were women, and about 70 beneficiaries were youth with disabilities, the activity increased gender equality and social inclusion in the agriculture sector. It also helped youth to access loans worth more than $1 million, boosting their farming productivity and income, and opened a path to economic opportunities in agriculture for 160,000 out-of-school and 120,000 in-school youth through agribusiness and farming skills.
“The success of YLA is tied to not only increasing economic opportunities for youth, but also getting the private sector to understand and respond to their challenges – particularly of young women – as they seek to contribute to Uganda’s workforce,” said Kelly Cronen, YLA’s chief of party. “One of the key lessons learned during our five-year implementation period is that, when done correctly, addressing constraints to gender equality and social inclusion can result in a win-win scenario for both the youth employee and the private sector’s bottom line,” she added.
USAID’s Mission Director Richard Nelson said, “Deliberate inclusion of youth and women in the agriculture value chain and empowering them as active participants as food producers and vendors is key to building household resilience to multiple shocks and stresses, and an important aspect of USAID’s work in Uganda.”
The USAID-funded Feed the Future Youth Leadership for Agriculture Activity sets an example of what can be achieved through partnerships with the private sector, agriculture sector, and youth to create a sustainable future for youth and to strengthen Uganda’s long-term prosperity.