We use cookies to optimize this website.
By using this website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.    Learn more


U-LEARN (Learn, Earn and Save)

There is an astounding unemployment rate among youth in Uganda and Tanzania and yet both countries have a wealth of untapped resources and opportunities in agriculture, construction and hospitality and ironically in youth themselves. This mismatch throughout the East African region is driven by a negative perception of agriculture, uncoordinated markets and barriers for youth participation and engagement.

Education is limited for many young people (e.g. some 57% of youth in Uganda, and as high as 80.5% in Tanzania, have primary or no formal education); the majority of those entering the labor market have no formal training; and only about 20% of annual graduates from academic and technical training schools find employment. This is coupled with constraints such as a lack of creativity and innovativeness, limited technical and entrepreneurial skills, limited market information and access, and inadequate financial services. The agriculture, construction, hospitality and trading sectors are the dominant sectors in terms of youth employment in the region but these require more locally available skilled resources to meet demand and ensure growth.

The Project

The proposed end goal is to raise 15,000 young people sustainably out of poverty in Uganda and Tanzania by increasing their competitiveness in the job market and improving their self-employment opportunities. This goal will be reached through facilitating workforce development and financing mechanism plus promoting access to business support services and youth business platforms.

U-LEARN leverages the outcomes of the previous programme phase. Swisscontact will consolidate, scale up and extend current activities to grow youth's micro-businesses into strong SMEs that can provide training and employment opportunities to other young people; to support other young people into employment or self-employment through integrated training and scaling up of the learning group model; and to strengthen and grow trade based associations and promote other forums for improved youth engagement.

Project innovations:

The key overarching innovation is the adoption of a market systems approach to convene young people and market actors; and help them build a joint vision and coordinate efforts to make change happen in ways that make sense to them and that create win-win outcomes. The project facilitates partnerships and linkages between companies, private and public vocational institutions, local organizations, and financial institutions. The intervention will also strengthen companies, local governments, community based organizations, youth associations and councils to carry out awareness, selection and career guidance for the youth.

Main Activities

  • Facilitate community-based training to deliver relevant skills to youth.
  • Facilitate entry of youth to employment.
  • Provide access to financial services and financial literacy to young entrepreneurs.
  • Promote access to business development services.


Results to date:

  • 1641 unemployed youths (625 female) involved in trainings and partnerships with nine companies across the three growth sectors in Uganda and Tanzania.
  • 1,337 youths accessed technical skills through engaging in contract farming with:
  1. KK Fresh Produce Exporters Ltd. for hot peppers, chillies, ground nuts and sweet
  2. potatoes;
  3. Nalweyo Seed Company Ltd. (NASECO) for beans;
  4. Mukwano Group of Companies for sunflowers;
  5. Tropical Dynasty for chillies and hot pepper;
  6. Masese Cage Fish Farmers and Mariners for cage fish farming.
  • 137 youths acquired technical skills through trainings from: Miiro Electrical and Engineering services, Kandy Building and Construction, Hallmark and God’s Mercy construction companies in Uganda
  • 20 youths started training in production with the Hospitality and Tourism Training Institute in Uganda.
  • 147 youths have completed technical training in two sectors, namely hospitality and construction in Tanzania.
  • 811 youths (332 female) secured employment in 2017. 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 $134,600, translating to an average income of $99 per youth per month from September to December 2017.