Realising Aspiration Youth in Ethiopia through Employment (RAYEE)

RAYEE creates meaningful employment for young people in five areas across Ethiopia.



The RAYEE project will create meaningful employment in agriculture and agri-business for 240,000 young people (of which 70% are women) until the end of 2024. RAYEE will target five geographical areas: the SNNPR, Oromia, Amhara and Tigray regions as well as the Dire Dawa city. The project is funded by the Mastercard Foundation as part of its Young Africa Works strategy.

Youth unemployment in Ethiopia

More than a quarter of Ethiopian young people are unemployed. While most are willing and ready to take on any job, there is a mismatch between the abilities they have, and the skills needed in the jobs market place. A lack of access to financial services, working places or land, and training are major barriers for young people to overcome.

Our response

SNV will lever its long-term presence in the five target areas and build on its existing network of private and public sector partners. The project will be applying our proven Opportunities for Youth Employment product and however, tailoring it to local needs.

In the target areas, the RAYEE project will identify the skills that potential employers require from prospective employees and will provide tailored training courses in life and technical skills for young women and men. The trainees will be actively linked to identified employment opportunities.

SNV will support existing SMEs, to grow employment opportunities for young people. We also will provide business development services to ambitious young people to enable them to establish new enterprises. Business development services include training on business, administration and marketing, improved access to inclusive financial services, input supply, and market information.

Unemployment amongst young Ethiopian women

Unemployment amongst young women in Ethiopia is 10% higher than amongst young men. While the country has one of Africa’s more progressive societies in terms of legal and societal gender equality, women’s economic opportunities tend to be limited to lower-quality jobs. There is also a clear correlation between the social and health problems seen in Ethiopia and limited opportunities for women. Due to domestic responsibilities, women are constrained from searching for work, accepting work, or remaining in work.

The RAYEE project will implement focused interventions to maximise opportunities for young women, during the entire employment trajectory from the screening capacity building phase to the matching and coaching phases. We will also provide targeted support to young women who want to establish their own enterprises.

Systems change: supporting an enabling environment

By working with authorities, like the high-level technical working group of the Job Creation Commission and the government offices on Enterprise Development, Labour and Social Affairs, we can coordinate initiatives and resources. This will maximise the project’s direct results. More importantly, we can contribute to the development of an enabling environment for youth employment in the targeted regions as well as the country as a whole.

Project goals

Specifically, SNV aims to achieve the following project goals:

  1. Secure dignified and fulfilling wage employment for unemployed and underemployed young people through efficient market-driven skills development and job matching (applying physical and digital interfaces). Improve performances of enterprises for enhanced employment creation.

  2. Establish new youth-led enterprises through better access to finance, inputs, market information, markets and workspaces;

  3. Improve long-term young women's and men’s access to employment by influencing the existing youth employment ecosystem and policies.


The project has the following specific targets in the five geographic areas:

  1. Create waged and meaningful employment for 60,000 young people;

  2. Create 45,000 youth-led enterprises. These enterprises will have four employees on average, reaching 180,000 youth;

  3. The project will identify and document key issues that hinder youth employment and entrepreneurship. We will enable key stakeholders in particular young people themselves to advocate with relevant authorities.

Mastercard Foundation: Young Africa Works

The SNV RAYEE project is funded by the Mastercard Foundation as part of its Young Africa Works strategy. The Foundation recently launched this strategy with the target of creating meaningful employment for 30 million young people across Africa by 2030, of which 10 million in Ethiopia. The strategy will establish, operate and provide programmes and services to help children and young people, access education, understand and utilise technology and develop the skills necessary to succeed in a diverse and global workforce.

Young Africa Works will also provide micro-finance programmes and services to financially disadvantaged persons and communities in order to economically enhance communities and develop entrepreneurs as a means of relieving poverty.

Our donors and partners

The MasterCard Foundation logo
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