Wednesday, November 7, 2012

USAID empowers over 74,000 marginalised youth

The US Agency for International Development’s mission in Nepal (USAID/Nepal)'s youth-focused Education for Income Generation programme has benefitted over 74,000 of the most disadvantaged youth – dalits, janajatis, women, and conflict affected — leading to higher sustainable incomes and improved food security.
The programme, which started in 2008, will complete five successful years by the end of 2012 in some 15 districts of the country’s mid-western region.
"Improving access to employment-focused skills training is extremely crucial given Nepal’s low economic growth rate and high unemployment and under-employment," said USAID’s mission director in Nepal David C Atteberry at a programme here today.
"Structural barriers — both economic and social — preclude many in Nepal from accessing education, leaving them with few opportunities to build a productive livelihood," he said, adding that thousands of beneficiaries and their families consume more nutritious food and provide better education to their children now.
"Husbands have returned home from overseas employment and some have become business owners and employers, and young women, in particular, have been empowered and are more engaged in community activities."
The $15 million Education for Income Generation programme was designed to address the exclusion of disadvantaged youth from education, training and employment, and create a more productive workforce through an integrated entrepreneurial package tied to income generation, primarily in agriculture and vocational skills.
"The programme has trained youth in entrepreneurial literacy, vocational skills, and agricultural productivity and enterprises," Atteberry added.
The cornerstone of the multi-faceted programme has been its demand-driven approach – creating training courses that met the needs of the labour market and linking youth - to preidentified employment opportunities.
About 54,000 graduates are currently benefitting through agriculture alone, with beneficiaries seeing their income increase by 250 per cent.
The programme established and strengthened market systems and trained private extension agents to provide continued services, inputs and advice to farmers even after the programme ends.
Government representatives were closely involved in the programme’s national and district-level advisory and coordination committees to provide guidance and help secure additional local resources in order to ensure sustainability.
The Education for Income Generation programme was implemented by Winrock International in collaboration with more than 32 organisations, including the government. It was able to successfully leverage more than $1.3 million in addition to USAID funding.

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