It was in 2014 when Nyesiga Damiano and Myheirwe Enoch graduated from University with Bachelor’s Degrees after which unemployment welcomed them with a grotesque face. They thought of how best they could overcome this challenge that had made most youth all over the country desperate. Having thought of it, they came up with an idea of forming a Forum to fight the unemployment challenge, hence the birth of Youth Empowerment Skills Project in Kabale district, South Western Uganda. The Forum equips the youth with skills such as Liquid Soap-Making, Candle-Making, computer literacy, Music Dance and Drama, Mushroom Growing, Hair Dressing and Cosmetology among others. These skills help members form specific social groups in their line of skills expertise and locality to create jobs amongst themselves for self-sustainability.
Damiano says that, “In Uganda, more than 77% of the population are youth of 30 years and below and it is noted that 60% of these youth in their productive years lack direction. This has contributed greatly to stagnating the development and economic output of the country.” He adds, “The education system of Uganda has produced learned youth who are more of job-seekers than job-creators. Basing on the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, estimations show that while Universities and Tertiary Institutions churn out 410,000 graduates annually. The labour market absorbs only 120,000 of them, thus, the desire to have youth who are skilled for self employment”.
Having seen a great need of this project to the society, it was broken down into three major areas; the project was arranged into three basic areas in order to meet the needs of different categories of youth as follows:
Career Guidance and Development
“With less experience and fewer skills among the youth, young people often encounter particular difficulty accessing work. This sky rockets unemployment among the youth hence affecting their income stability. The affected youth start up with weaker early career credentials and show lower confidence and resilience in dealing with labor market opportunities. In this regard, the project under career guidance and development works with private and public schools/institutions and carries out school outreaches to provide career guidance and advice to youth in schools in the catchment area,” says Enoch one of the group stakeholders. He added that they emphasize practice based learning, mentorship, career goal setting, and self-assessment all incorporated in the package to help the youth meet the desired requirements for self-reliance and sustainability.
Tentatively this department trains a number of youth in use of their hands for craft work, such of craft work that includes making beads, earrings, craft hats, bags, and shoes among others. Under this department, the team has trained several youth in the district in liquid soap making and candle making.
Music Dance and Drama
This is another department under the project where they train youth are trained to use their natural talents and gifts in drama, such as singing, song and play writing and also playing of various music instruments such as guitars, key boards and jazz drums. However, this department is highly challenged due to shortage of training equipments because of being expensive.