Youth unemployment in many parts of Africa is soaring, and especially out of school youth in rural areas are a vulnerable group. SNV’s Opportunities for Youth Employment (OYE) project realised employment for almost 16,000 young people, using a so called push-match-pull approach. Sixteen thousand young people, and every one of them stands for a person who started up their life and gained purpose. A final report by an independent evaluator has now confirmed that push-, match pull works. But, what is it? And why does it work?
Based on market demands, train young people in market relevant skills to improve their employability (push), facilitate market linkages and access to finance (match), and coach youth into (self-) employment or mentor youth-led enterprises (pull).
‘A commendable job’
The five-year (2013-2018) OYE project is coming to an end. SNV developed its OYE approach in partnership with Mastercard Foundation (MCF). OYE was implemented in Tanzania, Mozambique, and Rwanda in the Agriculture and Renewable Energy sectors. SNV has been involved in these sectors for many decades.
The final evaluation of the programme was done by an external party (eMJee Consult). You can access the full report here. We feel honoured by their judgement: “given the short period for generating results, the project has done a commendable job.”
’Organising a challenging category of the population in such big numbers is impressive.’
OYE helped nearly 16,000 rural out of school youth to enter (self-) employment, against a target of 17,500, and contributed to over 700, against a target of 400 new youth-led enterprises, Of all enrolled young people, 81% found work after training, and 78% continued employment after entering. ‘The transformation of this youth is phenomenal.’ ‘They learned that with very little money you can make money and progressively build your life if you reinvest part of what you have earned.’
The consultants call these results ‘promising for future programmes.’ We are of course keen to fulfil this promise.
The project has been able to evolve its model.
The report states that OYE has not been ‘a traditional development project with a blueprint’. Instead the nature of the target group demanded a flexible approach, closely monitoring results and learning lessons along the way.
‘The push-match-pull model works especially because the trajectory includes youth savings and lending groups, gender mainstreaming, and longer term coaching and mentoring for at least one year.’
‘The project delayed in making specific efforts to involve women…’
Of course not all went perfect. Gender is where we could have done better, as only 36% of (self) employed youth were women, against a target of 40%.
In the beginning we made no special efforts to enrol women, but these efforts turned out to be necessary. Women are often bound by domestic activities and lack flexibility in terms of mobility, decision making power, and access to finance. Halfway through the project we started to identify opportunities that are particularly accessible and attractive for young women, such as small scale poultry - that can be done in the domestic area.
What’s next? The results are positive, ‘Youth has turned out to be a workable target group.’ The numbers are impressive and so far sustainable. Local government is positive about OYE and it is hoped that they will continue to mentor the youth, because in the long term their support is essential.
The OYE MCF project is closing, but OYE has become a global SNV product and new OYE projects are starting in other countries like Mali and Niger – both funded by the EUTF. These new contexts will once more require flexible adaptations along the way. The Sahara region is more fragile and less economically vibrant. We will put more effort in the pull side, for example supporting the start-up of large horticulture farms.