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The Opportunities for Youth Employment (OYE) team in SNV Rwanda hosted SNV’s CEO Allert van den Ham on a field visit to assess the impact of SNV’s employment related work at the grassroots.

SNV, in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation, has launched a 5 year multi-million project to provide rural out-of-school youth in Rwanda, Tanzania and Mozambique with vital employment skills through training in business development and financial literacy, as well as technical and life skills. OYE matches youth with improved employability skills with markets and coaches them towards (self-) employment and small enterprise development.

In Rwanda, SNV recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Rwanda’s Ministry of Youth and ICT (MYICT) aiming to improve the livelihoods of out-of-school youth by creating employment and self-employment opportunities in the Renewable Energy sector.

Investment in sustainable jobs for youth

For Allert, the creation of sustainable jobs is essential to ensure a sustainable future for the millions of youth who are both uneducated and unemployed. “Young people are the future of our societies. Creating sustainable jobs means empowering them with better opportunities, and this is possible only when young people are willing to work as entrepreneurs, consumers and leaders, and drive their own development,” he said.

Globally, an estimated 75 million of 1.2 billion young people aged between 15 and 24 are looking for work, and in Rwanda 42% of the young population is looking for jobs. A quarter of the unemployed in Rwanda live in rural areas, and lack the skills needed in rural markets.

Matching training with opportunities

The OYE project facilitates internships, on-the-job-training opportunities, and placements in private and public enterprises in the renewable energy sector in Rwanda as well as two others countries in Sub Sahara—Tanzania and Mozambique. “We should do more to improve the quality of education and training for young people in rural communities in Rwanda, and provide relevant apprenticeships, skill strategies and access to employment services to ensure that the education/trainings they receive match the work available,” said Project Manager for OYE, Roy van der Drift.

“OYE matches skilled youth with labour market opportunities and contributes to the establishment of new youth-led enterprises.” Roy explained the programme also promotes the establishment of new youth-led enterprises by connecting youth to financial institutions and ensuring that young entrepreneurs benefit from continued business coaching and peer-to-peer learning.

Since the start of the programme in 2014, more than 8,000 youth have been trained in theoretical and practical aspects of the programme in the three countries. Already, the programme generated employment opportunities for 800 youth, and led to the establishment of over 60 new youth led enterprises.  In Rwanda, over the entire project period, at least 4,000 young people are expected to be trained in domestic biogas, improved cooking stoves, briquette production and solar technologies, of which 2,500 will be employed with a total of 70 youth-led renewable energy enterprises.