Job Creation for Unemployed Youth
This project is compatible with the contest rules and addresses the youth problems in South Sudan.
In the rural communities many families are headed by youths as the bread winners. Some of these youth are orphans, others were left by their parents who died in the battlefield, and others migrated to cities to search for jobs. In most cases they do not have a land title deed to apply for credit.
In such circumstances, youth in South Sudan have no possibility of accessing loans to buy the necessary farm inputs and pursue meaningful economic activities.
They lack voice, power and representation in the society, which leads to destitution after the death of their parents or other family misfortunes, while poverty and economic dependence leave them exposed to increased exploitation and violence.
The devastating effects of property rights violations expressed in poverty, disease, violence and homelessness harms the youths. Also, youth have no access to justice due to illiteracy and poverty.
By the other side, donors keep talking about the importance of youths and their contribution to ending hunger and poverty, but when it comes to real action, the evidence is that women farmers are ignored. Meanwhile, the material conditions under which most women live and work continue to deteriorate in many countries due to economic and social decline, wars and conflict, and the spread of HIV / AIDS.
Among the majority of rural and low-income urban dwellers, women perform all domestic tasks, farm and trade. They are responsible for the care of children, the sick and the elderly, in addition to performing essential social functions within their communities.
Women head about 80 per cent of households in urban and rural areas across South Sudan, often with no working resident males.
Their source of income for survival is usually small stall business and peasant farming. They do not have access to capital to invest well in the small businesses and the farm activities. Most of these women's lives are shortened due to the burden they face in bringing up their children. In these households the children do not have their basic needs satisfied, are malnourished and traumatized and many of them miss the opportunity to have quality education with which they can access better lives in their future.
These hardships have prompted girls to turn to commercial sex work or early marriages to help the family while boys use to turn to child labor, drug abuse and other irresponsible behavior.
We can see in the news the growth of microfinance institutions offering a wide range of loans. Many of them do not require any of the conventional securities like title deeds. They are aware that youth in South Sudan do not have them. However, they normally finance viable businesses that have been in existence for at least one year and require youths to own a business, bank statement for the last six months, 2 guarantors, and flexible collaterals.
Support to marginalized youth is mentioned but in practice it has still to be developed and worked out at the grassroots level through self help cooperation, where clients of loans guarantee each other or for groups, normally through a CBO or NGO.
There are cases where microfinance cannot be made profitable, for example, where potential clients are extremely poor or live in remote areas. In such settings, microfinance may require continuing subsidies. This involves cooperation with governments, financial institutions, NGOs and funders.
The existing microcredit facilities and the strategy of finance South Sudan brings the disadvantaged youths from the poorest households within the fold of an organizational format which they can understand and manage by themselves motivates us in our endeavor.
- To equip unemployed youth with employable skills
- To empower the youth to engage in productive activities rather than divert youthful exuberance into harmful social activities such as drug abusing
- To boost financials levels in agriculture for farmers and women headed households in particular and their families in rural areas
- To reduce rural poverty through a revolving funds to uphold small farming and other income generating activities, and therefore facilitate access basic needs -education, food, shelter, potable water, clothing and continuously improve their resources
- To prevent the desperate moves of commercial sex, teenage pregnancies and child labor among the rural poor communities
- To empower them in farming and business skills, leadership and management skills, HIV/Aids prevention, family planning, etc.
- To encourage self-help activities among the youth, their families and communities, promoting group mobilization, eagerness and hope
- To reduce rural urban migration of youths through creation of employment in rural area
In South Sudan, farming is a friendly sector for the reason that low interest agriculture loans are made available largely to men even though it's the youth who do much of the work on farms - from planting to harvesting and processing.
Our goal is to empower the youths by training them, bringing them in self help groups and financing their business ideas to make them financially independent and contribute to family wealth.
We aim to work with youth groups to provide, among other services:
- Agriculture and livestock products (e.g.: seeds, flock of geese, flock of chicks, flock of ducks, honeybees, goat, etc.)
- Water tanks and improved sanitation
- Many other initiatives to improve subsistence youths in farming income and living conditions will be available for consultation
Project Implementation Activities:
- Identification of potential direct beneficiaries
- Training in farming, livestock and entrepreneurial skills
- Identify Series of workshops to equip the proposed beneficiaries with the requisite skills in farming activities
- Training in sewing school uniforms, bed sheets, and etc
- Acquisition of knowledge in relevant entrepreneurial skills through seminars
- Youth leadership and community mobilization skills, as the project may be replicated and require the involvement of the initial beneficiaries
- To assess their situation (i.e. Poultry farm on supervision, monitoring and evaluation)
- Seed fund for the for poultry farm/small businesses' inputs
- Sewing machines
- Grinding meals
- A computer for documentation work
We consider our work at grassroots level a very positive aspect to ensure that attempts at youth equity with regard to illiteracy do not remain at high level only. However, if we want to effectively advocate for Youth rights in this area we will have to expand our scope of cooperating with NGOs through advocacy and monitoring to ensure that all children of under 18 years old have access to schools
Plan and Execution:
The strategy we employ is youth mobilization, organization and creation of self help groups, which are mostly made up of peasant youth. We engage youth in all project activities to assure their ownership of projects' results through Youth participatory methodologies.
We are aware of the fact that the proposed project is very challenging. However, taking into consideration that it can start from a relatively small venture and can benefit consecutively new beneficiaries year after year (every six months), In the future we can attempt to establish a savings and loan facility scheme to benefit more youth, orphans, farmers and/or small entrepreneurs.
Initial basic inputs that would be supplied to the beneficiaries shall be provided as micro credit that would be retrieved to serve as seed money for other beneficiaries. Such credit would attract some marginal interest so as to provide for inflationary trends, with passage of time.
We hope also that this project can be expanded to reach more less fortunate youths in rural set ups because, upon getting proven history of lending to the poor for a social purpose there are possibilities to cooperate with the local authorities (NGO partnership based microcredit) through their devolved funds and/or be a field partner of a microcredit institution.
This can be achieved upon establishing a secretariat, working together with youth groups as lobby groups seeking allocation of funds to projects identified by the Youths and complying with the requirements of the funds, among them so that the group has experience in farming and has been in operation.
This project can be a model for reproduction of this type of activities in the most impoverished states of South Sudan.
It offers the opportunity to empower the local most destitute women and a chance to promote crucial women's issues. It can give them social power so that they can fight for their rights, be it at the level of property rights, access to training programs, low interest agriculture loans or as it concerns to their choices in personal life with the option to insist on safer sex or to reject sexual advances and archaic and precarious cultural practices (yet linked to the tradition of wife heritage).
This project will contribute to improve the lives of women farmers, widows, orphans, ex combatant and people with disabilities who will be empowered with orientation, training and assistance related to the farming/economic activities. They will have access to farming inputs at the best prices that will encourage organize self-help activities among them and their families to ease tasks of taking care of their children, promote group mobilization to perform seasonal farming activities together, organize common transport, for marketing their outputs and create common sale. Consequently, they will be able to alleviate hunger, improve the nutrition of entire families, educate their children and assure better future for them, and will pass on the financial stick and/or experience to other women. Girls will benefit from all the activities directly or indirectly (according to their ages), will have a better childhood and education, and positive behavioral and entrepreneurial models for their future.
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