Building Skills for Youth Employment and Rural Development

Harare, 29 June 2016 - the International Labour Organization (ILO)’s shares key results of its six years kills for Youth Employment and Rural Development Programme (2010-2015).

ILO Director Hopolang Phororo said, “The six-year programme, funded by the Danish Government, promoted local economic development through creation of new economic and employment opportunities in 32 rural districts in Zimbabwe.”

Phororo stated that a key determinant to the success of the program was the adoption of Training for Rural Economic Empowerment (TREE) methodology. TREE methodology is a community-based technical and vocational skills development focusing on agriculture and rural development, including value chain development, skills upgrading and projects targeting out-of-school youth. 

Through the TREE methodology, lives of 5,457 youth – aged between 18 and 32 – were transformed, which included 2,710 people who were able to access micro-finance and/or training opportunities to expand their businesses. 

The number of programme participants in rural areas who own a business increased by 34%, and the average increase in annual income was USD 819 for programme participants. “We wanted them to own the programme, gain business management skills and know how to borrow from micro-finance institutions to grow their business,’’ Phororo told the audience. 

Despite certain challenges such as biased gender roles and low expectations toward social programmes, the programme demonstrated successful outcomes for the rural community.  “This programme illustrates how real change has taken place where it is needed most - for the benefit of young women and men,’’ said Phororo.

In going forward, through the 2016-2020 Zimbabwe United Nations Development Framework, the United Nations in Zimbabwe will continue to prioritize efforts to increase access to income and decent work opportunities, particularly for young people and women.