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Today marks a little known awareness day – World Youth Skills Day. In 2014, the UN General Assembly declared 15 July a celebration of the importance of ‘equipping young people with the skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship.’ As an estimated one in six young people globally are out of work due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there has never been a better time to ensure that youth across the world have the skills they need to thrive.
All We Can’s local partners across the globe often work with young people to unlock their skills and potential. From helping young mothers in Malawi access education and life-skills classes, to training young farmers in Zimbabwe in the best climate-smart agriculture practices, together, they are working towards a world in which every young person has the opportunity to reach their full potential.
In Nkayi, Zimbabwe, All We Can’s local partner is helping young farmers develop climate-smart farming practices. Climate change is making life increasingly difficult for families living in rural Nkayi. The region often experiences extended dry spells, and can be prone to drought as well as other extreme weather events such as floods and high temperatures. The infrequent quantities of rain which do fall in the region are insufficient for growing most crop varieties, meaning families can struggle to grow enough food to eat.
All We Can’s local partner in Nkayi is helping farmers develop climate-smart farming practices, and provides them with the seeds, resources and training they need to develop a reliable source of income through farming. Young people are also involved in livestock projects, nutrition gardens, health, education and business initiatives. By working specifically with youth, and capitalising on their adaptive, innovative and open-minded nature, All We Can’s local partner is able ensure the sustainability of their work. Young farmer’s ability to embrace technological change also means that they are able to pave the way to tackle the challenges of tomorrow.
Bernard is talented young person who has seen his life transformed with the support of All We Can’s local partners. After his father sadly passed away in 2018, Bernard, an entrepreneurial young man from Uganda became responsible for caring for his younger sisters. ‘Life was really hard’ he shared. ‘I tried to look for a job…at times even getting enough to eat was difficult for the family and myself.’
He began a smoothie and fruit juice business to help support his family – but he struggled to produce enough juice with his blender, and the quality of his produce was poor because he was unable to keep them cold. All We Can’s local partner in Uganda noticed his flair for business, and worked together with him to provide a unique cargo-bike. With plenty of room for storage at the front of the bicycle, he could easily transport his juices and smoothies around town, and reach potential customers.
This simple, practical solution helped unlock Bernard’s own talents and skills. With an adapted cargo-bike, life began to improve rapidly for him. As his profits grew, he was able to invest in coolers and a juicer – ensuring his business is sustainable, and can keep going from strength to strength. He has also been able to help his older sister out with tuition fees, and support his younger sister to begin school – something he is especially proud of. ‘It feels really great [to be able to provide for my family], because I remember the times when we used to eat beans every day and only once a day. Now they can have food, they can have three meals a day, and eat what they want.’
Could you walk alongside farming communities in Zimbabwe? Discover how you can take the next steps today.
You can find prayers for World Youth Skills Day, as well as our local partners in Uganda here.