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.
Mwanza, Tanzania
Kampala, Uganda
Project duration
2016 - 2021
Financed by
  • The Mastercard Foundation

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. 

Project partners

Tanzania and Uganda

  • Local Government Authorities
  • Private Sector Companies



  • 13,383 unemployed youth (34% female) accessed training and gained skills in the construction, hospitality and agribusiness sectors
  • 2,314 youth (17% female) were engaged in wage employment
  • 9,447 youth (51% female) started their own enterprises
  • The trained youth cumulatively earned an income increase of CHF 3,247,493


Initial vocational education and training
Building Partnerships with the Private Sector for Youth Skills Development
Uganda's private sector involvement in Skills Development is low. Through our approach, we initiate relationships with private sector players, which lead various companies to partner with young people across hospitality, agriculture and construction market systems. Hear testimonials from young people who have developed their skills and have successfully secured jobs. Swisscontact has engaged with 30,000 young people in Uganda over the past seven years.
Upskilling and Reskilling, Initial vocational education and training
Three Strategies To Increase The Impact Of Skills Development Initiatives According To Experts
The private sector in Uganda accounts for 90% of all off-farm private sector jobs. At the Skills Development Promotion event organized by Swisscontact, a panel of experts offered 3 strategies to increase the impact of Skills Development Initiatives.
Alternative fuel as an innovative agribusiness
In Uganda, an increasing demand for fuel is leading to deforestation. In other parts of the world, grazing animal dung is a go-to source of fuel. Eva Birungi, a chicken farmer living near Kampala, asks whether chicken dung could be a viable alternative fuel that directly impacts environmental conservation efforts?