From unemployed to employing others, youth in Uganda are working together

Herbert Kyamanywa (left) and an assistant plough a field in Kahara.Herbert Kyamanywa (left) and an assistant plough a field in Kahara.Herbert Kyamanywa (left) and an assistant plough a field in Kahara.When 24-year-old Herbert Kyamanywa was elected secretary of the Turuhamu Youth Association in Kahara Masindi, Uganda in December 2015, he treated it as a call to action.

The elders of the village had branded youth in that village as unmotivated, superficial and destined for a life of poverty, so a group of them banded together to restore trust by forming the Turuhamu Youth Association, bringing young people together to achieve economic security. The group now has 21 youth working to support one another and develop businesses.

Through the Youth Empowerment Through Agriculture (YETA) program, led by NCBA CLUSA in partnership with the MasterCard Foundation, the Turuhamu Youth Association received training in entrepreneurship and business planning. Herbert started by hiring out his services as a skilled plougher, making money with each field.

In 2016 he saved and bought two bulls. Coupled with previous earning in crop farming, he bought an ox plough that enabled him to start a ploughing business.

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He ploughs an acre of land at 80,000 shillings (or about $20 a field)—a job he can accomplish in a day. He was soon making profit and bought three new ox ploughs and six more bulls, enough to do ox-ploughing in four different fields at the same time. His ploughing business has become popular in the Kahara sub-county and he regularly hires four friends from within their youth group to plough clients' fields on his behalf as he ploughs others. 

Herbert also planted four acres of maize, where he expects to make at least two million shillings. With income from ploughing and proceeds from his own field, Herbert plans to open up a shop in the village and says he will be “a millionaire.”

Speaking at a group meeting in late February 2017, Herbert said YETA entrepreneurship trainings session challenged him to think creatively and helped him to come up with income streams, adding that, for him, “the sky is the limit.”

He says the YETA program has so far been the best Kahara has seen because it has even supported youth to access sexual and reproductive health services, tying in a holistic training to entrepreneurship.

Learn more about the YETA project.


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