Organization: Teach A Man To Fish
Project Name: Enterprise Success in Uganda
Private Sector Solutions ✓
Systems Change ✓
Empowerment of Individuals ✓
Low skilled, poorly-paid employment and significant underemployment are the reality for the majority of Ugandan youth who make up 78 percent of the country’s population. The main barriers for young people - including a lack of skills, progression pathways, networks, and access to capital - trap them in a futile cycle of poverty. The Teach A Man To Fish (TAMTF) project offers a path out of poverty for youth that choose to participate and are motivated to improve their own and their families’ economic situation.
This project is an expansion of the proven School Enterprise Challenge (SEC) program of TAMTF, in which trained teachers support students at local schools through a 14-step program to establish and run a business. The program’s purpose is to unleash the creativity and power of young people to fulfill their potential in school, work, and life and contribute to their communities’ prosperity.
TAMTF is expecting to engage over the three years with 4,400 disadvantaged students (50% female) in 60 schools. With guidance from TAMTF, school business teams create a profit-share agreement in which 25 percent of profit is reinvested to keep the business operational for the following year and the remainder is allocated as students see fit, with some funds going towards the students and teachers that support the business. Currently existing businesses at schools in Uganda vary, with some of them engaging in vegetable farming, food processing, manufacturing (soap, charcoal), canteen and catering services, and livestock farming. One youth group started their own tent and chair rental business after recognizing the opportunity that daily village gatherings (meetings, funerals, etc.) posed. The school business provided a previously unavailable service in the community, meaning that event organizers were no longer required to travel the 82 km to the nearest town.
The SEC education model uses the challenge of launching and running a real business at school, offering the participating students the experience to discover their talents, earn money and foster competencies and character qualities such as entrepreneurial mindset, social conscience, and agency. An additional "high-flyer" component of the program is a new training to particularly committed and promising young entrepreneurs to set up their own businesses outside of school.
This project encourages graduates from an entrepreneurship program to create their own network of productivity and exchange rather than rely on government aid or NGO handouts. As part of the proposed project, participating students will also be trained to start self-managed Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) to gain access to capital for their own individual businesses. The VSLAs provide a safe savings and loan facility to youth who lack easy access to formal financial services. This project aims to make schools an empowerment pathway for marginalized Ugandan youth, equipping youth with vital skills, agency, and confidence to fulfill their potential in life. The comprehensive program embeds skills and resources within the schools for the long-term: teachers learn to facilitate practical, student-centered entrepreneurship and skills-building education and are furnished with a wealth of resources; while school-businesses generate additional income with a profit-sharing agreement that secures the school-business in their schools as an educational tool. The project presents an exceptional opportunity for young women and men in Uganda to transform their lives, empowering participants with the skills and agency to succeed and become confident, active agents of change within their communities.