From photography to raising pigs, Ugandan youth make good on employment opportunities

Youth With Vision Chair Gilbert Wacha checks in on one of the group's pigs.Youth With Vision Chair Gilbert Wacha checks in on one of the group's pigs.Youth With Vision Chair Gilbert Wacha checks in on one of the group's pigs.The Youth With Vision group in Uganda's Okwongodul-Dokolo district have moved to expand their group business beyond an initial incubation of two pigs, aiming to earn more than 50 million shillings (about $14,000) by the end of 2017.

The group of 20 young men and 15 young women was formed in 2015 under NCBA CLUSA's Youth Empowerment Through Agriculture (YETA) program because of the need to collectively curb youth unemployment and poverty. Funded by the MasterCard Foundation, YETA draws on a network of producer organizations and youth associations as an entry point to train, mentor and provide employment opportunities for at-risk youth in four districts of Northern Uganda. 

After training in entrepreneurship, Youth With Vision sponsored two members for a three-day training in grafting seedlings in neighboring Soroti district; the two later trained other members. To date the group has raised 14,000 grafted mango seedlings that they will soon sell at 2,500 shillings each.

With financing from their active Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA), the group has opened up two acres of land where they have already planted 4,000 tomato seedlings and hope to earn an estimated 10 million shillings.

With income from chili pepper production last season, they bought four more pigs in addition to the two initially provided by YETA. Gilbert Wacha, chair of Youth With Vision, noted that the group has rented a boar to ensure the herd continues to grow.  

Following the various trainings provided by YETA, more than ten members have since started individual businesses ranging from photography to piggery, maize farming, tomato growing and poultry among others. Five members have returned to formal school.

Going forward, the group plans to expand their pig farm to more than 70 pigs in two years, give pigs to members to start individual farms, buy a grinding mill where they will process maize to sell at competitive prices and, at the same time, recycle the mill residue (maize brand) as feed for their pigs.

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