In January 2018, the Value Chain Development and Youth Employment (OYEM) project launched a call for applications for young people to join the programme. The response was overwhelming: more than 31,000 applied. This is more than the project hopes to reach during its entire four year duration and thirteen times the forecasted recruitment for this year (2,400 recruits). Training of the first cohort started this week.
The impressive number of applications confirms the great need and wish for meaningful employment amongst young people in a fragile area with high youth un- and underemployment.
Most applications were made in Bamako (40%), followed by Gao (27%), the Kayes (20%) and Koulikoro (13%) region, and more than 40% of the applicants were women. During the process, applicants were asked in which sector they would like to work: 38% indicated they wanted work in the agri-food sector and 33% selected the horticulture sector. Only 7% of applicants were interested to work in the waste management sector and the remaining 18% choose to work in handicrafts.
All selected young people will go through an initial ten day programme. During this period they will receive basic training on life and technical skills and they will be asked to reconfirm their initial specialisation choice. After the basic training, students will finalise their training and gain hands-on experience by working at selected companies or as contractors. The project staff will continue to coach students during their employment to help them succeed. They will also start receiving a stipend that they can use to buy inputs and tools that will allow them to kick-start their career.