Economic inclusion for adolescent girls, young women and key populations
- Organisation: Youth Alive Uganda (YAU)
- Country: Uganda
- Region: Eastern and Southern Africa
- Stage of innovation: Stage 5: Market ready
- Type of innovation: New combination of existing services
- Funder: SIDA through the Swedish Embassy in Kampala
Summary of intervention
Large numbers of young people in Uganda, particularly adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) and key populations, are unemployed, a situation that impacts their ability to seek and access sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) services and to afford health commodities.
YAU implemented the Economic Inclusion Program for Adolescent girls and young women and Key Populations (EIPAK) to improve the livelihoods of these vulnerable groups. The aim was to reduce economic vulnerability through vocational and agri-business skills, and, in turn, to sustain the SRHR outcomes already achieved under the Umbrella SRHR programme. Working through existing SRHR Umbrella structures, self-help groups, vocational skills-building, job placements and group agri-businesses were set up. Training covered topics including governance, financial literacy and entrepreneurship. Members saved and borrowed money, discussed and managed their group businesses and met socially. They were attached to local artisans for technical skills training, including welding, bakery, tailoring and hairdressing, and established businesses in piggery, poultry, liquid soap-making and bakery.
The project led to improved well-being and self-confidence for AGYW and key populations and access to affordable, youth-friendly financial services, including loans to invest in businesses. Many participants are now employed, while others got bursaries for additional training, and many have their own businesses and are meeting their daily household needs.
The project demonstrated that by involving vulnerable young people in self-help groups, they gain strong social capital. Employing existing SRHR Umbrella structures and using health facilities for self-help groups provided a convenient platform for health education as well as service delivery, including HIV testing, ART initiation and family planning, as members already regularly met in or around the health facilities and could freely interact with their peers. The integration of economic empowerment plays a key role in health interventions. Young people can generate income, save money and afford SRHR health services and commodities that may not have been available to them previously.
Find out more information about the SRHR Umbrella Grant.