Windle International Uganda (WIU) in partnership with Uganda Manufacture’s Association & Young Women’s Christian Association last week passed out 49 nationals (17Males, 32Females) and 151 Refugees (34Males, 117Females) Vocational Skills graduates and offered them business start-up kits. The 200 graduates are beneficiaries of the Market Oriented Skill Development for Refugees and Host Community Project in Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement.
Market Oriented Skills Development for Refugees and Host Communities in Kiryandongo and Adjumani is a project that was implemented by Windle International Uganda, in partnership with Uganda Manufacturer’s Association (UMA) and Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), with funding from European Union Trust Fund-Skills Development Fund (SDF) through ENABEL. The project was conducted through vocational skills training for refugees and host Community youth in Kiryandongo and Adjumani (Ayilo I, Agojo, Maaji II) refugee settlements.
A total of 360 youth from the four settlements of operation were trained, assessed and certified by the Directorate of Industrial Training, Ministry of Education and Sports in trades including Metal Fabrication, Cookery, Bakery, Tailoring and garment cutting & Hair Dressing. The Objective of the training was to enhance the productivity and entrepreneurial competitiveness of youth, women, and girls’ in the area of vocational practice within 9 months.
The graduates were also handed business start-up kits to start their enterprises and positively uplift their communities through job creation and economic empowerment.
Addressing the beneficiaries at the graduation ceremony, Mr. James Aryam, Executive Director at Windle International Uganda said; “We hope that you will use this opportunity to positively impact your communities and provide for your families. You should not fear the future, instead, you should shape it!”
The Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness, and Refugees – Hon. Eng. Hillary Onek, also the guest of honor at the graduation ceremony tipped the graduates on saving and bookkeeping. He said, “Embrace book-keeping, save and expand your businesses. If you make shs.20,000 daily, always get shs.5,000 and save it and a year later, you will have more money to invest.” The Minister also urged the beneficiaries to practice the skills learned and pass on the knowledge to others in the community and their countries of origin when they go back.
Refugee youth and young adults are confronted with many barriers to accessing higher education. These include lack of financial resources, differences in the language of instruction, lack of certificates and recognition of certification, mobility restrictions and long distances to higher education institutions, lack of specialized academic or individualized support, limited access to information, including about policies governing access to higher education for refugees in host countries. As a consequence, only one percent of refugees have access to higher education worldwide.[i]