Over 300 Youth Armed with Skills, From Graduation to Self-Employment in Adjumani and Kiryandongo

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Adjumani and Kiryandongo districts witnessed a remarkable graduation ceremony today, as 355 youth, including both nationals and refugees, celebrated the acquisition of vocational skills. The initiative aims to empower these young individuals with practical skills, offering them a pathway out of poverty and the opportunity to become self-employed.

Welcoming the graduates, officials from the Office of the Prime Minister highlighted that this endeavor would not only lead to self-employment but also contribute to the overall well-being of host communities. The comprehensive training program spanned over seven months and catered to the needs of youth hailing from the refugee hosting districts of West Nile. These aspiring individuals were provided with training in various fields such as catering and bakery, welding, hairdressing, motorcycle repair, electrical work, and electronics.

Many refugees, including a sizable number of young people, have long faced significant challenges and limited employment prospects, resulting in a constant struggle to generate income. However, with the skills they have acquired during this training, these ambitious youths are now equipped to embark on new careers and establish their own small businesses, having received support in the form of start-up tools.

The trainees, ranging in age from 15 to 35, constituted an equal representation of males and females, with 70% being refugees and the remaining 30% being nationals. Notably, individuals living with disabilities were also prioritized during the selection process, ensuring inclusivity and equal access to opportunities.

Officials from the Office of the Prime Minister emphasized that skilling the refugee youth is of utmost importance, particularly given the reduction in food rations and cash grants provided by the United Nations World Food Programme following the global refugee crisis. With access to vocational skills, these young individuals can now pursue sustainable livelihoods and overcome the challenges they encounter.

In his address, Emmanuel Turyagenda, the refugee desk officer, urged the graduates to make efficient use of the skills they acquired during the intensive seven-month training program. Additionally, he emphasized the importance of utilizing the start-up kits they received, enabling them to kickstart their entrepreneurial journeys.

The Executive Director at Windle International, Andrew Emmanuel Omara, expressed his delight at witnessing the accomplishments of the graduates. He highlighted that their main objective was to address labor market needs by enhancing the accessibility, quality, relevance, and equity of vocational skills training for marginalized youth and young women in Adjumani and Kiryandongo districts. The successful outcomes of the program were a testament to the resilience and dedication exhibited by the graduates.

“This is just the beginning of a new journey full of lessons, growth, and achievements. Congratulations. I know I’ve said that over and over, but this is a historic day, and I keep congratulating you,” Omara remarked, encouraging the graduates to embrace the opportunities that lie ahead.

Christopher Ahabwe, the Regional Coordinator at Windle International, emphasized that the beneficiaries were expected to leverage the vocational skills they had acquired, converting them into meaningful self-employment or formal job opportunities. By doing so, these young individuals will not only generate income for their own livelihoods but also contribute to the economic development of their communities.

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