David Olyabo is a 24-year-old young entrepreneur living by Lake Victoria in Masese, Jinja District, in Uganda. He is the youngest of four children. His father died when David was just one year old. He was raised by his mother and older brothers, who earned a living by fishing in Lake Victoria. David was able to go to school because his family supported him. He studied at a University for two years specialising in procurement and logistics after earning a secondary education certificate. Then the Ugandan government banned fishing in Lake Victoria, and his family was no longer able to finance his studies.
David was forced to drop his studies, began working odd jobs, and later became a youth leader in his community. This is where he got to know Swisscontact’s U-Learn Project and engaged other young people to get involved.
"I saw it coming that there are no jobs - even for those who are educated. There was only one option around - to start my own business", David explains. Why did he choose fish farming as his business? "Why fish farming?" - he smiles -"When there was not enough fish left in Lake Victoria, it was a 'survival of the fittest' as a fisherman. We all are fishermen, that’s what we knew, and we can easily do the fish feeding."
Together with other young people, David attended a series of U-Learn project meetings, in particular for professional counselling, where they decided to pursue fish farming as a business, given their good background knowledge in fishing and experience on the lake. In addition, there is high regional demand for fish. In the project 20 young people were selected who then founded the "Masese Youth Fish Farmers Group" (MYFFAG). David is the Chairman of MYFFAG. The group raises caged fish and currently holds 25,000 fish. In June 2018 it expects gross earnings of US$29,000.
Work safety training and a requirement to wear appropriate gear are a component of all U-Learn projects in various sectors. In countries such as Uganda, work safety is not always writ large; it is a new concept and sometimes quite alien to many young participants. All the more important to incorporate work safety into the U-Learn training curriculum. In the U-Learn project, participants learn the concept of taking responsibility for their own health at the work place.
Fish farming belongs to the agribusiness sector. It is absolutely essential that fish farmers know how to swim to avoid the risk of drowning at the work place. Even experienced swimmers can get into trouble and drown in an accident if they are not wearing a life jacket. For this reason, workers must always wear a life jacket to ensure their safety while working at the fish cages.
Therefore, all participants must complete a swimming course with the Red Cross. Together with their parents or guardians sign a consent form to allow them to participate as well as do the fish farming business.
Agriculture is a further example from the U-Learn agribusiness project component. Many farmers toil in fields without wearing proper footwear or even barefoot, and this often results in injury. Therefore, the project trains farmers to wear protective boots in the field. It is important to also wear a mask when applying pesticides to protect the respiratory pathways from poisonous fumes.
In building and construction as well, trainees are taught to wear appropriate protective clothing. It is precisely in this sector where workers are at a high accident and health risk, therefore it is mandatory for all to wear a helmet, boots, and gloves to avoid getting hurt.