Youth in Action is a six-year program that Save the Children has been implementing in Kabarole, Ntoroko, Bundibugyo and Kasese districts in partnership with the MasterCard Foundation. The program - now in its final year of implementation - has transformed the lives of over 12,000 girls and boys who dropped out of school. While 95% of the younger age-group (12-14) re-enrolled in school, the program has enabled them as well as the older age group (15-18) to identify and explore livelihood opportunities through a combination of non-formal education and practice-oriented learning experiences. Many of the youth’s livelihood opportunities were grounded in agricultural value chains and agri-business. The participants received financial literacy training and were supported to form and register over 300 enterprise groups. Both groups and individuals were provided start-up capital.

Youth in Action

Youth in Action works with key actors, including local government, to invest in building and enhancing rural young people’s foundational skills, assets and knowledge base. A tracer study carried out on a sample of Youth in Action graduates after at least one year showed that 3 of 5 youth demonstrated financial literacy, 91% reported working and earning compared to 64% before the program, and 90% were saving compared to 53% at the beginning of the program and their daily net income had doubled at about 5,200 UGX.

“While there is a wide array of interventions focusing on education for out-of-school youth or on youth employment in Uganda, few of them incorporate employability, social assets, literacy, numeracy, financial literacy, and real-life experience,” said Brechtje van Lith, Country Director for Save the Children in Uganda. “Youth in Action integrates all of the above into a participatory learning cycle, designed to increase livelihoods opportunities through the acquisition of a broad spectrum of foundational and work-readiness skills.”

Equal Participation

The program places emphasis on equal participation of girls and young women. Strong effort was made to include girls. On almost every measure of development rural girls and women are worse off than rural boys and men or urban girls and women, particularly when it comes to accessing education and skills development opportunities. Many girls are bound to drop out of school and engage in early motherhood, thwarting their socio-economic development.

The Youth in Action program in Western Uganda forms part of a multi-country initiative, implemented in five African countries including Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ethiopia and Malawi. Throughout the five countries the program aims at improving the socio-economic status of 40,000 out-of-school youth.

About Save the Children:

Save the Children is a leading independent organization for children, delivering programs and improving children’s lives in more than 120 countries worldwide. Save the Children is committed to achieving immediate and lasting change for the world’s most vulnerable children through child protection, child rights governance, education, health and nutrition and livelihood security programs.