Urban poverty is a big problem in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. In the slums, most young adults are without jobs. Making poverty even more severe. With a goal of providing them with a sustainable income, we implemented an entrepreneurship and vocational skills development program.
Two and a half year ago, for Christmas, I went to visit two close Ugandan friends of mine (Esther and Rogers) in Kampala. At that time, visiting one of the biggest slums in the city out of curiosity, little did we know that today we would have a foundation working with this specific population.
In Uganda, as much as 80 % of the population of young adults are unemployed. Esther and Rogers, these two amazing and hard-working persons that I studied my Master in Development Management with, had due to this problems finding relevant jobs. We therefore decided to start something on our own. Together, we extended the foundation, which I at that time worked as Director in Bolivia; Foundation Yo voy a Ti. Today, being the vice-president of the board.
I am very proud of the results we have had so far. And everything Esther and Rogers have accomplished. Because they are the once that have done the hardest job and made things happen. Mine have in the reality just been to raise some money for implement the projects, and develop the projects together with them online. So all honour to Esther and Rogers!
Entrepreneurship and vocational skills development program, what does that mean? What are we actually doing? We have a project with the goal that the young women create their own employment and equipping them with skills in basket making. Some of the young woman already know how to make the baskets, but have initially been challenged with costs of materials to make them and finding markets for the baskets.
This will say that we help the women making beautiful baskets, by providing the training and materials. The handmade baskets are made of natural materials such as dried banana stems, banana fibers, reeds and millet straws e.t.c. The different materials used represent the different regions of Uganda where the basket originates. The colours used are all natural dyes. The baskets are made for different purposes which determine their shape and size. They can be used to store food stuffs, fruits or as decorations and wall hangings.
Here are some pictures of the baskets. They are beautiful, right?
Thereafter, we help the women to sell the baskets they have produced. EvaMia Interiors, in Norway, sell these baskets to a Scandinavian audience. They are also sold within the region of Uganda.
Mary, one of the young women that participates, says the following about why the project is important for her:
“I have no job and yet I have a child, I need some sort of skills to help me make some income in order to feed my child. Getting this training with Yo voy a Ti Uganda is helping me with that. I thank them because I see a future where I can make these baskets and sell them to make a living. Of course it is going to challenge me to look for market for my baskets but I know I will have to do it in order to benefit. Also Yo Voy a Ti will be helping. The beginning is not easy but I am learning.” – Mary, participant.
Other women are participating in a programme where they learn how to make beautiful jewelries. The project work in the same way as the basket project. Here are some samples:
The local trainer of the workshop, see the importance of the program, saying the following:
“I think that Yo Voy a Ti Foundation in Uganda is giving a lot of young people opportunities to grow economically. The skills that you are giving these young girls are going to help them become self-reliant. I am glad to work with the girls because they are eager to learn and are very motivated by eventually selling their baskets and jewelries even on an international market. It is a good thing for them because most have been idle and doing nothing yet they have responsibilities like taking care of their children.” – Trainer of the workshops.
If you are interested in buying a high quality and beautiful basket or jewlery made by the young women living in the living in the slums of Kampala, and help them to become economical sustainable, please contact Yo voy a Ti Uganda at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope you enjoyed reading and learning about what we are doing in the slums of Kampala. If you are interested in finding out more visit us at: http://yovoyati.org
Thanks for reading!