YOUTH ECONOMIC LIVELIHOODS
RECOVERY IN POST-CONFLCIT AREAS:
THE CASE OF ACHOLI SUB-REGION IN
BY: ENTERPRISE UGANDA
Objectives of the Session
Participants will increase their understanding of:
Entrepreneurship as a tool that can provide livelihoods for
many rural and urban communities and create jobs for young
The need to integrate attitudinal transformation (mind-set
change) of the beneficiaries in design of relief and
emergency assistance programmes for communities
emerging from post-conflict situations.
The BEST tool as means of improving and expanding youth
employment creation and employability.
2. The Root causes of Youth Unemployment in Africa
3. How the BEST Model addresses the Root causes and
increases employment options (10mins)
4. Sustainability of Youth & Community empowerment
5. Questions and Discussions (5mins)
The Acholi sub-region in northern Uganda has experienced insecurity, wars,
civil strife and rebel activity since the 1980s that resulted into mass human
displacement, death, loss of property and disruption of economic
More than 11,000 children and adolescents were abducted between 1986-
2000, of whom over 6,000 never returned to their homes or villages.
The abductions made it difficult to for the children and youth to attend
school, get life skills, productive employment and loss of productive labour;
The majority of the current youth population in Acholi sub-region were born
in internally displaced people’s camps (IDPs) and had no access to quality
health care, education, skills and social development.
With the end of the conflict and withdrawal of donor assistance, the
community was left to start fending for themselves (private sector),
something they were not used to before.
Effects of the conflict on the
It strengthened the dependency syndrome – the entire population
living in IDP camps depended on Government relief programmes,
UN agencies, NGOs, relatives in Diaspora and within Uganda;
The region attracted a lot of resources for development in form of
relief assistance, infrastructure development projects, agricultural
tools and inputs, livestock, including cash donations;
Other regions took advantage of the resources flow to region to
engage in cross border trade opportunities, services etc. while the
local population looked on;
Over the long period of the donor support, the community developed
an attitude/mindset of “ consumption and deserving to be supported
They could not sustain their newly acquired consumption habit and
most donor supported interventions have little evidence of impact on
Conflict leads to many negative consequences including mass
human displacement, death, loss of property and disruption of
economic development opportunities. The long periods of war leave
livelihood options/opportunities limited and undiversified, low
productivity, severely depressed employment and incomes and a
fragile local economy mainly dependent on external support.
Despite the huge resources mobilized and extend to support the
rehabilitation, economic recovery and livelihoods of the affected
communities in the post-conflict areas, impact evaluations and audit
highlight, among others, inadequate visibility, impact and
sustainability of the interventions.
Most interventions and programmes do not integrate attitudinal
transformation (mind-set change) of the beneficiaries to facilitate a
desired shift from a dependency syndrome to self-independence of
The Roots of Youth
Unemployment in Uganda
Mainly agricultural economy with low value-addition and job creation
It has been argued that the education systems in Africa are geared
towards churning out job-seekers rather than job-creators.
Liberalized Education Sector – too many institutions and many of
them commercial. Curricular and content that emphasize white collar
Employers’ market - Poor education, experience, and skills that don’t
match the job market. Not mandatory to employ youths without
Attitude of the educated Youth towards hard work and self-
Examples of Post- Conflict
Interventions in Northern Uganda
1. NUSAF 1 PROJECT(2003-09)
The Government of Uganda received a credit of SDR 80.1 million
from World Bank (equivalent to US$ 100 million)
Government of Uganda counterpart funding was supposed to be
equivalent to U$ 13.3 million.
Community contributions were expected to be equivalent to US$
80% of the credit was for direct subproject funding.
NUSAF1 post-implementation impact evaluation and audit
highlighted, among others, inadequate visibility, sustainability and
viability of the interventions.
2. NUSAF 2 (2009-2014)
The Project is being implemented over a period of five (5) years in
the forty (40) PRDP Districts in Acholi, Bukedi, Bunyoro, Elgon,
Karamoja, Lango, Teso and West Nile sub regions.
The project’s objective is to improve access of beneficiary
households of Northern Uganda to income earning opportunities
and better basic socio-economic services.
The Project is financed through IDA Specific Investment Loan (SIL)
of US$.100 million and the funds were allocated among the three
components as follows: Livelihood Investment Support Fund ($60m
);Community Infrastructure Rehabilitation Fund ($30m);Institutional
Development Fund ($10m)
Again absence of deliberate interventions to provide business and
entrepreneurship skills to the to the prospective beneficiaries before
they receive the investment funds.
3. UN Peace Building Fund
Project for Acholi Sub-region
The United Nations (UN) Peace Building Fund (PBF) has been
implementing a Joint Programme on Livelihoods and Local
Economic Recovery for Acholi Sub region (JP3) since 2011.
Its primary aim is to contribute strongly to the rebuilding of a strong
economy within the context of a post-conflict, post-displacement
The target group included vulnerable ex-combatants and female-
headed internally displaced people (IDP) and returnee households.
Enterprise Uganda has been the implementing partner and has
been building capacity for youth, women and vulnerable groups in
business, entrepreneurial and value addition skills;
It covered the seven districts of Acholi – Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya,
Pader, Agago, Kitgum and Lamwo which overall had a weak
economic situation largely attributed to the 20 year insurgency.
About the BEST Model
It was an initiative by Government and Enterprise Uganda to
provide entrepreneurship and business skills to initally to graduates
to enable them start their own businesses as an alternative to
chasing few jobs.
It is main goal is to build the capacity of young people to participate
in employment creation to reduce unemployment rates by equipping
them with the confidence and practical skills to start and run
It is delivered through a 5-Day Business Clinic, followed by 1-3
Business Coaching & Mentoring Clinics, Networking and Market
Information dissemination and linkages with other business
development services providers.
Based on its initial success and results, it was customized and
extended to semi-educated rural youth and communities.
6 KEY ‘BEST’ MODULES
Module 1 - Getting Hold of the Inner Game
Module 2 - Traits of World-Class Entrepreneurs;
Module 3 - Business Opportunity identification &
translation into a business;
Module 4 - Sources of Business Capital;
Module 5 - Business Partnerships;
Module 6 - Action-Oriented Business Planning.
How BEST Addresses Root
Causes to Unemployment
1. Attitudinal transformation and self-reliance;
2. Education is there to increase career options;
3. Emphasizes getting started immediately;
4. Business Opportunities identified immediately;
5. Offers 7 sources of finance with Loans as last;
6. Backed by follow-up clinics to mentor start-ups;
7. Enterprise start-up rate of 65-75% in 90 days;
8. In a nutshell: BEST addresses the foundations for fear
of and excuses for entrepreneurship and for high
enterprise mortality rate.
Results /Sample Impact
8190 youth and Women trained in 7 districts of Acholi sub-region in
In one sample survey of 1 district with 2700 beneficiaries, after
3months, 666 new start-ups and 1238 expansions were registered
1467 new jobs were created – 884 permanent , 583 casual. On
average 1.3 new job had been created within 3 months by each
Within 3 months USD 439,000 had been invested by youth &
women to start micro-enterprises from the following resources:
equity; grants; sale of existing asset; and microfinance.
All new start-ups were earning above US$ 2 per day effectively
lifting them reducing the number of people living below the poverty
Interesting case studies and evidence of improvement in livelihoods
and quality of life by the beneficiaries of the interventions.
Sustainability of Youth & community
Interventions - Key Lessons and
Mindsets transformation for the educated and rural households is a
critical precursor for sustainable interventions and development;
Unlike infrastructure and technology which are easily bought,
mindsets are built and nurtured. That takes time;
Spending national resources on empowering local communities
and the youth in urban and rural settings is in the long-run an
investment in taxes, stability, etc, for the nation;
The BEST Philosophy & model that promotes values of self-
reliance is a tested model with high impact that can be easily
adapted and customized to any economic setting.
Key lessons Learnt contd…
Involvement and commitment of local leaders in the mobilization of
the communities increases confidence of the communities to
participate and contribute to the cost of the interventions;
Token personal contribution by the beneficiaries of the interventions
act as the first fundamental in attitudinal shift and increases
motivation and ownership of solutions.
Independent consultants & mentors are better placed to play
mobilization and facilitation roles than local leaders or politicians
who can’t deliver the hard message required for self-reliance and
Involvement of local models, religious and traditional leaders
enhances confidence and participation in the interventions.
Research elsewhere indicates that inclusive economic growth is the
single largest contributing factor to post-conflict stability and
unemployed youth with limited options can be mobilized easily than
those in the formal economy.
Although entrepreneurship is not a panacea to the daunting
challenge of youth unemployment across Africa, it is a critical pillar
that stands to provide a livelihood for many and, in turn, create jobs
for more young people.
Imparting values that promote self-reliance, entrepreneurial abilities
through training and skills upgrading through mentoring and
coaching is a more sustainable way of enhancing employability and
Relief and emergency assistance programmes not preceded or
backed by Attitudinal transformation and mind-set change of the
beneficiaries tend to breed a permanent dependency syndrome in
Restoring self-belief, confidence and empowering the communities
to identify and exploit local economic opportunities can stimulate
quicker transition to self-reliance and economic recovery than
perennial which a create an attitude of “rights to handouts”.
Quote: The Role of
“To lift one billion people from poverty, 250 million jobs are
needed. You can ask yourself... where will those jobs
come from? They won’t come from government... they
won’t come from big industry... They will be engines of
growth, but they won’t take up the millions required.
They have to come through small enterprises”.
Percy Barnevik – Advisor, Hand in Hand International, The Business of Jobs Forum,
London, November 2009
Questions & Answers