Sahel Opportunités: Comprehensive training for a better future

Initial vocational education and training
For the past two years, the Sahel Opportunités project has been active in Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal, offering young people training and job placement schemes. In Senegal, the project focuses on strengthening vocational training to offer young people viable prospects for the future, thereby improving their living conditions in the long term.

The dual training system set up by Sahel Opportunités in Senegal has already borne fruit. Based on both theoretical and practical training, young people learn to develop their knowledge, skills and attitudes. In the various craft workshops for woodwork, metal construction, shoemaking, car mechanics, hairdressing and sewing, the young people selected have access to practical training and, in the training centres, to free certification training.

This training system is beneficial for all project stakeholders. The trainers in the training centres are confronted with a public that is often uneducated or even illiterate, forcing them to adapt the training content accordingly, making it more inclusive. Personal skills related to life skills and attendance are also integral to technical training.

The master craftsmen, for their part, quickly saw the advantages of the theoretical training offered by Sahel Opportunités. This training of young people saves them time; for example, in sewing, they no longer need to explain how to take measurements and draw sketches of work. The young people are more independent and productive, gain initiative and thus contribute more to the company’s success.

The young people themselves are unanimous about the benefits of the project. They have acquired new knowledge and skills that enable them to be more efficient and confident in their jobs. Some are considering starting their own business, others have already started small income-generating activities. Before this opportunity, these out-of-school youth worked as apprentices in various workshops but needed more hope and opportunity to start their businesses. Today, thanks to this dual training, young people, especially girls, feel more "equipped" to become independent, thus improving their living conditions.

I feel freer because I have done two apprenticeship methods, at Boy Boy Coiffure and in a training centre. Thanks to this, I can now do many things in the salon and hope to open my own salon soon. I thank Sahel Opportunities for the free training."
Penda Diao, beneficiary of the project
Goro Geye, craftsman tailoring

Sahel Opportunities is a real opportunity for the country's youth. By strengthening technical and practical skills, the project gives young people greater self-confidence and autonomy, enabling them to project themselves into a better future. The project also positively impacts the vocational training system in general, which is becoming more inclusive by opening up to specific audiences and adopting innovative training schemes.


This project is financed by Liechtensteinischer Entwicklungsdienst, Hirschmann Stiftung, among other donors. It is part of the Swisscontact Development Programme, which is co-financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

Burkina Faso, Senegal, Mali
Labour market insertion
Education for opportunities – Empowering young women and men in the Sahel region
The aim of the project is to integrate young adults into the national labour market as well as to facilitate the development of income generation activities. This will make gainful professional activities within their reach so that they can improve their living conditions sustainably.