Driving Youth-led New Agribusiness and Microenterprise (DYNAMIC)
Agriculture is the greatest contributor to Uganda’s GDP and 70% of its population works in the sector. In addition to the economic potential of the agricultural sector, Uganda has one of the world's youngest populations and a high youth unemployment rate. Restless Development's DYNAMIC programme aims to engage young people, mostly in rural Uganda, in the agriculture sector and capitalize on the increasing job opportunities.
Caption: A youth group member’s cabbage garden.
Most young people view farming as a low-profit, low-status occupation, unable to offer secure, regular and sufficient income, and are unaware of the numerous opportunities within the larger market system. In addition, young people lack access to social capital and relevant skills to pursue a career in agriculture.
How does it work?
Funded by the MasterCard Foundation, the DYNAMIC programme is working to ensure that out-of-school and economically disadvantaged young people have the skills and access to support systems to secure entry-level jobs or start their own businesses in agriculture along the entire value chain. DYNAMIC is increasing economic opportunities for youth in the agricultural sector by opening up agricultural opportunities that both private sector businesses and young people can take advantage of. DYNAMIC is reaching thousands of out-of-school youth, aged 15 -24 years, living in on the outskirts of cities and in rural areas in nine districts of Abim, Kaabong, Agago, Lira, Gulu, Omoro, Lamwo, Kitgum, Pader, over a five year period.
Caption: One of our youth engagement officers during a debrief meeting to assess outcomes.
Through a market-driven approach, DYNAMIC is engaging with an array of public and private sector actors, to increase access to goods, services, markets, information, and productive and social assets to increase the productivity of Ugandan agri-businesses and non-farm enterprises.
Restless Development has recruited and trained 30 youth researchers who conducted a research on the following 3 themes across the 9 districts of operation: youth perceptions on agriculture; youth skills gap in agriculture; and barriers to youth participation in agriculture. In addition to the youth researchers, we trained 159 peer educators who have reached a total of 37,720 youth (directly and indirectly) by training them on vocational skills that are critical for their employability.
Our research found that vocational skills training is critical to increasing youth’s employability, therefore members of the DYNAMIC program developed curricula for informal vocational skills training for out of school youth.
Caption: Private sector representatives attending a training session in youth engagement.
The program has connected with 5 private sector actors who are currently working with young people in agricultural market systems to improve their youth engagement approaches and provide youth-friendly services to the youth. And we’ve engaged 10 vocational training institutions in youth engagement, youth friendly services and life skills. These institutions are currently delivering agricultural related courses to youth.
Finally, Restless Development has been able to train a total of 200 agricultural agents on youth engagement and youth-friendly principles so they can serve the youth better. These agents are contracted by private businesses to sell agricultural inputs and buy agricultural outputs from the youth.
A young poultry farmer striving for success
Joseph Opwoo, 17 years-old, was forced to drop out of primary school when his father was incapacitated after being involved in a motor accident in 2016. Life for Joseph and his siblings was not easy as his ailing father could no longer provide for their basic needs. Joseph decided to take on poultry rearing to fend for himself but he never thought he could make any serious money out of it, given he lacked the skills to manage poultry as a business. However, the biggest setback to his dream of being a successful poultry farmer was the constant loss of birds due to diseases.
“My birds used to die a lot. There is a disease that would make them blind and cause twisting of their neck”, he says.
Caption: Joseph attending his chickens at his home in Lonai trading centre, Lokung.
In February 2017, he learnt from one of the DYNAMIC peer educators that there was an opportunity to be trained on poultry management through a partnership with a local vet business. “I was eager to attend the training because I wanted to get more knowledge on how to look after my chickens”, he recalls.
Joseph was not only able to learn about disease management but also about production and overall farm management. “I benefited a lot from the training. I learnt how I can keep my birds and prevent them from falling sick. I was able to vaccinate them which kept them from dying. By the time I joined the training I had 11 chickens but now I have 56, even after selling some”, he narrates. Joseph sells his mature cocks within his community. “The money I got from the sale of the birds has helped me to open land and plant 2 acres of simsim (sesame)”, he says.
Joseph plans to expand his poultry business so he can be able to make more money from the venture. “I want to increase the number of chickens up to 200 by next year. The money I get from selling birds helps me a lot”, he reveals.