FCA - Linking Learning to Earning
Submitted by: Heidi Nyroos
Email: [email protected]
Introduction to the project
2015-2023 (extension/renewal possible upon demand)
Finnish Church Aid (FCA) offers Technical Vocational Education Training to refugees and host communities, in numerous and various fields, in Uganda.
FCA’s good practice has enhanced refugee self-reliance. It has created jobs for the youth by putting the skills acquired from training into gainful employment. 81% of the youth trained are either formally employed or they have started their own businesses. For example, some graduates in agriculture, welding, sandal making, motorcycle repair and hairdressing are employing fellow young persons in their businesses. This boosts economic activity and inclusion in the region.
In addition to that, the trainees have acquired basic digital competencies through ICT training at Rwamwanja centre. The computer lab is supported with internet, which they use to find new designs, markets, available jobs, and for networking.
The youth have also been supported to form groups that have been registered as investment clubs to win local contracts and access finance opportunitie,s e.g. the Government Youth Livelihood Fund.
In the context of refugees, many people lack initiative for various reasons. Therefore, entrepreneurship is a cross-cutting theme in FCA’s work. Through boosting skills training, employability and entrepreneurship, FCA aims to equip the youth with skillsets necessary to gain self-reliance both in terms of employment and personal life.
FCA’s good practice is innovative, action-oriented, sustainable and transforming the lives of refugees and their host communities. It is in line with two of the four key objectives of the GFR as the project eases pressure on the host country and enhances refugee self-reliance. Indeed, as it is stated in the Global Compact on the Refugees framework that “a sustainable solution to refugee situations cannot be achieved without international cooperation”. Therefore, it is FCA’s duty to share those good practices, which have the potential to be adapted, replicated, and/or broadened in scale.
In addition, the good practice responds to identified needs as it strongly supports transition to employment (it has a strong linkage between learning and earning, generating income), and has a positive impact on the co-existence of refugees and host communities.
The project aim is to improve the standards of living of Congolese refugees and host community youth in Rwamwanja Refugee settlement through access to marketable vocational skills.
Financial resources were used for the following purposes: pay employee salaries, local travels and accommodation, support capacity building of staff, support industrial training of youth, procure materials and tools, support trainee welfare, support exchange visits, and procure DIT assessment materials, pay DIT registration for trainees, support follow-up for trainees
Challenges and how they were overcome
- Overwhelming number of youths applying for the trainings; for example, the last intake, we received 1420 application forms, yet our resource envelope is limited to 250 persons per intake.
- Irregularity and lack of concentration by the mothers during training hours. The model is inclusive to all kind of youth including women breast feeding, married, and gender based violence survivors. There is no clear strategy on addressing this challenge since there is no one to take care of the babies during training hours.
- There are youths traveling long distances up to 15 kilometers. As much as the community-based training (CBT) approach has helped to address this, there are areas where we have not been reached since the settlement is big.
- No resources for establishing a facility to support people with disabilities.
- Babies are tentatively taken care of in one central place to allow the mothers to breast-feed them. However, this is not sustainable because there is no one to take care of them; this especially applies to the sick ones who are on treatment and need special care.
- To address the problem of long distances walked by the youths, early last year, a CBT programme was established. Two satellite centres were built in the refugee settlement, where the youths within that locality come to attend trainings. This has reduced on the dropout rate.
Results of the Good Practice
- FCA Linking Learning to Earning Model boosted the employability and self-reliance of the youth through skills training and in addition, through practical training on how to write business plans, CVs and job applications (career guidance and counselling), as well as record keeping and bookkeeping.
- 81% have since found employment.
- A number of students have started their own business and employed others.
- Comprehensive private sector networks established to provide practical on job training and job opportunities.
- The youth have acquired digital competences, which they use for searching both markets and jobs.
- Positive co-existence between refugees and host community youth in Rwamwanja Refugee settlement through supported youth leadership, group work and co-creation has been achieved.
- FCA is going to strengthen the career-counselling model to support youth in making informed career choices and link them to employment opportunities.
- FCA is going to strengthen the registered youth groups to access financial opportunities and win local contracts.
- Promote on line business for youths to market their products and produce.
- FCA is mobilizing resources to establish a day care centre at Rwamwanja TVET.
- There is a need to establish a hostel especially to cater for the girl youth who travel long distances.
- We want to increase production to create a self-sustaining centre by 2023.