Imagine a district where half of the youth and women population are neither in school nor employed in the formal economy, where private sector jobs leading to careers are scarce, where youth unemployment rates in the formal economy exceed 50 percent, where educational opportunities beyond Primary Level cannot be accessed by half the population, where there is a clear mismatch between the skills provided by schools and the ones that employers want, and where the growth of the local economy has trouble keeping up with the rapid growth of its youth population. Such would describe the plight of today’s youth and women in Kayunga District.
In response to this dilemma, RIDE-UGANDA has become increasingly interested in supplementing workforce development strategies with what is called “livelihood development,” especially for young people aged 15–24 from marginalized backgrounds through engaging the youth to be the key actors in the strengthening, rebuilding, and transformation of their communities. When appropriately engaged and adequately prepared for roles in the worlds of work, family life, and civil society, youth can be definite assets for community development.
RIDE-UGANDA incorporates ideas and insights of a wide range of rural stakeholders in Kayunga to acquire human, social, financial, and physical capital, to integrate rural youth and women livelihood development with programs in other sectors, and to build the capacity of other grassroots local service providers.