Youth in East Africa face numerous barriers to engaging in agricultural market activities, including their lack of key soft, enterprise, and technical skills, their limited ability to access start-up and working capital, and their under-representation in local decision-making processes. As a result, young women and men have not been able to seize the economic opportunities available in agricultural value chains.
Making Cents International is supporting Heifer International in its efforts to improve the livelihoods of 25,000 economically disadvantaged young people in Uganda and Tanzania by providing skills training, supporting youths’ access to credit, and developing youth-led agricultural hubs.
To this end, Making Cents developed a set of curricula that strengthen youths’ financial literacy, entrepreneurship, business planning, reproductive health, and soft skills. We also created tools to help youth groups interested in group businesses to start and manage their business effectively. To ensure successful implementation of these tools, Making Cents built the capacity of Master Trainers and Coaches to deliver the training and coaching materials to targeted youth in Uganda and Tanzania. Currently, Making Cents is adapting the capacity-building approach for use by youth trainers with lower literacy, simplifying the curricular methodology and incorporating images.
To address constraints youth face in accessing finance, Making Cents is working alongside project partners and local financial service providers to help aspiring youth entrepreneurs access the finance they need to engage in agribusiness. We conducted an access to finance assessment to inform the development of a strategy and have supported the project to link savings groups to financial institution partners.
Making Cents also supported Heifer to establish new youth-led agricultural hubs in targeted communities. Specifically, we developed a stage-gate tool that assesses the maturity of new hubs formed under EAYIP, in order to understand the level of organizational capacity-building support the project should provide.