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Learn, Earn and Save (U-LEARN II)

The U-LEARN II Project seeks to support youth by providing them with tailor-made training opportunities to increase their employment chances and entrepreneurship opportunities.

Education significantly influences a person’s life chances in terms of labour market success and general human flourishing. The opportunity to get a decent education is limited for many young people in Tanzania and Uganda. In Tanzania, approximately 80.5% of the population have reached primary school level or have no formal education at all. Majority of those who go into the labour markets have little or no formal training. Only about 20% of annual graduates from academic and technical institutions get into employment. This is coupled with constraints like limited technical and entrepreneurial skills, controlled market information and access, lack of innovativeness and inadequate financial services. In Uganda, the chance to get a decent education is limited for many young people due to lack of opportunity. Many of the poor work as daily labourers in informal settings. More often than not, the chance of starting a profitable business or being employed in the formal industry is pinned on an individual’s level of education.

The Project

The U-LEARN II Project targets economically, socially and academically disadvantaged youths between the ages of 18 and 24 years from families living below or slightly above the national poverty line of US$ 1.90.  It is implemented in 11 districts in the Central, Eastern and Western regions of Uganda and 14 districts in the Mwanza and Mara regions of Tanzania. The project focuses on three broad sectors: agri-business, building and construction and tourism and hospitality. These sectors are fast growing and require more locally skilled personnel to meet demand and enhance growth. 

The project is guided by a unique youth and market-driven learning group model. Youth, particularly young women, are engaged in all aspects of the project, including design, implementation and management. Swisscontact acts as a market facilitator building capacity within local institutions to deliver relevant training, business and employment services to the youth. Through learning groups, Swisscontact offers a holistic package including technical and vocational skills training, business support services, market access and linkages, social and healthy living skills training and financial service support.

To sustainably raise 7 500 young people out of poverty in Uganda by increasing their competitiveness in the job market and improving their self-employment opportunities. 


2017 Results

In the agribusiness sector, 1337 youths accessed technical skills through engaging in contract farming with various companies:

  • KK Fresh Produce Exporters Ltd. for hot peppers, chillies, ground nuts and sweet potatoes;
  • Nalweyo Seed Company Ltd. (NASECO) for beans and soya beans;
  • Mukwano Group of Companies for sunflowers;
  • Tropical Dynasty for chillies and hot peppers;
  • Masese Cage Fish Farmers and Mariners for cage fish farming.

In the building and construction sector, 137 youths acquired technical skills through trainings from:

  • Miiro Electrical and Engineering services;
  • Kandy Building and Construction;
  • Hallmark and God’s Mercy construction companies.
  • 20 youths began training with the Hospitality and Tourism Training Institute.
  • 811 youths (332 female) secured employment. Among them, 758 (288 female) were engaged in self-employment through contract farming with agri-business companies and 53 in wage employment with construction companies.
  • 453 youths realised a total income of US$ 134'600 (~CHF 131'300) , translating to an average income of US$ 99 (~CHF 97) per youth per month from September to December 2017.
  • 1,641 unemployed youths (625 female) involved in training and partnerships with nine companies across the three growth sectors in Uganda and Tanzania.
  • 147 youths have completed technical training in two sectors - hospitality and construction in Tanzania.