Youth and Sustainable Livelihoods: Linking Vocational Training Programs to Market Opportunities in Northern Uganda
The conflict in northern Uganda has disrupted social structures and destroyed livelihoods and employment opportunities. A generation of youth has grown up in internally displaced person (IDP) camps amidst poverty, insecurity and without access to reliable services. In addition to widespread exposure to violence, children and youth in the North have had limited access to primary education and almost no access to higher education. As youth look towards peace, recovery and return, the majority face the challenge of securing a livelihood with little or no formal education or training. In May 2007, Women’s Commission published Listening to Youth: The Experiences of Young People in Northern Uganda, which identifies education and the opportunity to earn a safe and dignified income as a central priority of youth. This workshop builds on these findings by targeting vocational training (VT) programs, which have the potential to meet youth’s needs for education and sustainable livelihoods while also supporting a broader strategy of economic reconstruction and social restoration in northern Uganda. To do this, the team analyzed VT programming; provided VT providers concrete recommendations for programming; and guided VT programs and youth participants through a market-assessment and self-assessment to integrate market information into program design and create links between VT and the private sector.