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AAIU with funding from European Union and Penny Appeal implemented a four-year project dubbed Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Self-employment and National Development (YESSEN) in the District of Kotido, North Eastern Uganda. The project focused on improving competencies of youth and their agencies to mobilize and organize effectively; link and train youth in employable skills; and promote entrepreneurship and job creation initiatives that respond to community needs.

For long, the region has been portrayed as a rural frontier where life revolves around cattle, poverty and firearms, but there is much more to Karamoja than that.

Through our CRSA model, 1628(1009f, 619m) the youth established group demonstration gardens and have since then grown different crops in their farmlands. The youth have adopted soil conservation, sustainable water management agrobiodiversity and seed conservation, and gender equality and women’ rights, where women constitute 60% of the entire project.

In a bid to achieve the project’s objectives, AAIU supported twenty-five (25) youth groups in Kotido and Panyangara sub-counties with vegetable and fruit seeds (Watermelon, Tomatoes, Onions, Carrots, Egg Plants, Green Pepper, Kale, and Spinach). 

A total of 240 youths was targeted under the apprenticeship component of this project, with 51 of the youth (11 females and 40 males) graduating in skills like Tailoring and garment cutting, barbering, among others.

Six (6) of the youth groups were supported with assorted startup kits to enable utilize their acquired entrepreneurial knowledge in gainful economic activities. These kits included sewing machines, hair shaving machines with a solar panel, batteries and all that one may require to start up a standard hair salon.

“We as Kotido Local Government commend ActionAid International Uganda for the four-year journey of skilling young people in Kotido by providing them with opportunities to economically become sustainable. I was personally amazed to see big gardens of groundnuts, cabbage, spinach, tomatoes among others in Kotido and Panyangara sub-counties. ActionAid has changed the narrative that Karamojong only rely on livestock for survival.” Said the District Production Officer, Kotido.