Kigali. Innovative research released today by The MasterCard Foundation is making the case for a new approach to youth employment training strategies in Africa.
Invisible Lives: Understanding Youth Livelihoods in Ghana and Uganda, released today at the Young Africa Works Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, sheds light on the working lives of African youth.
The report, produced in collaboration with Low-Income Financial Transformation (L-IFT), argues that international development programs favour skills training for formal sector careers over training that can be applied to multiple jobs in the informal sector.
The result is that their efforts fall short of reaching the millions of unreached youth on the continent who engage in mixed livelihoods.
“To reach a critical mass of young people, fundamental shifts in our approach to skills-building, access to finance and entrepreneurship support are necessary,” says Lindsay Wallace, Director of Learning and Strategy, The MasterCard Foundation.
“Development efforts must strengthen social, education and economic systems, and promote inclusive growth that will provide the most vulnerable and marginalized young people with opportunities to improve their lives.”
Invisible Lives set out to explore how young people integrate mixed livelihoods into their working lives, what challenges this approach poses, and how best to design interventions for young people in the informal sector.
The research used a diaries methodology to document the working lives of 246 youth ages 18-24 from Ghana and Uganda over a one-year period, honing in on questions around behaviour, income, economic activities, and time management. While these data speak to the realities of employment in Ghana and Uganda, the research suggests that these also reflect emerging trends across Africa. (Agency)