Mr. Sendegiya Robert (Qualified expert in the field)
“I often remind my students that academic excellence does not necessarily mean success in life. However, Tayebwa Allan has managed to excel in both, simultaneously. He holds the highest GPA in the Department of Development at Kabale University, and is president of a grassroots organization in his village, called The Association of United Efforts. Tayebwa is a humble individual, so I learned of his project through another student, who was extremely impressed by Tayebwa’s innovation and dedication. I began to ask Tayebwa more about his association, and over this year, have found that it encompasses every element of development that I emphasize as a lecturer. The Association of United Efforts is sustainability, community involvement, and balanced growth for the youth members, not only in the area of vocational skills, but in personal development, as well.” Mr. Sendegiya Robert – Kabale University.
ASUNEF – The Association of United Efforts- is a non-profit youth organization devoted to guiding the youth of the community on a path of integrity, education, self-sustainability, and compassion. It provides after school programs as well as programs during school breaks that mentor, teach vocational skills, and offer recreational activities for the youth in the village. The idea of ASUNEF was dreamed up in 2005 by Mugume Nicholas, Kwesiga Arthur and Tayebwa Allan. This trio had grown up in the village of Mahwa and watched in alarm as they saw the youth getting sucked into the cycle of poverty. “We had a dream to give these children a second chance, but how could we make it a reality?” they asked themselves.
The young men agreed that the first step in creating a foundation would be to form a solid base of support. So, each of them recruited a trusted friend to join the cause and, within two weeks, three became six. On 22 December 2005, the six proudly founded The Association of United Efforts. Each member contributed one-thousand Ugandan shillings, which totals to approximately $3 USD. With this money, they printed 40 letters asking for support, and traveled door to door in the village seeking assistance. Many villagers were unable to help, but some were so overjoyed with the idea, so they gave what they could to join in the effort to change the circumstances of the youth in Mahwa. Today, ASUNEF has fifty youth members from the village. Not every child attends the programs every day, but they know that the ASUNEF doors are always open.
Poverty breeds a multitude of additional societal problems. In the village of Mahwa, children from impoverished families were dropping out of school, begging for money, entering into early marriages, participating in underage drinking, and committing crimes such as theft and drug use. Many of the youth were lacking purpose. They had been born into poverty, and they accepted that life. However, the ASUNEF Founders know that by providing them with opportunities to get involved in the community and interact with each other, they can become empowered to reach for higher goals. The other part of the problem is financial. All of the children at ASUNEF come from poor families and several have lost one or both parents due to disease, accidents, or abandonment. But ASUNEF Founders don’t believe that these circumstances should stop anyone from achieving their dreams.
Like the Chinese proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,” ASUNEF believes in providing the youth with skills to make an honest living so that they can put themselves through school, take care of their future families, and never have to rely on outside aid in order to thrive. Self-sustainability is one of the most valuable gifts we can give these children.
The youth of Mahwa growing into educated individuals who begin a new cycle of prosperity by teaching their own children the importance of education, self-sustainability, compassion, and integrity.
Through recreational activities, vocational training, mentorship, and a whole lot of love, support and encouragement, the project will guide the youth of the village down a path of integrity, compassion, and education so that they are able to take responsibility and ownership over their futures, with the comfort of knowing that they will forever have a family in ASUNEF.
To mentor and teach the youth to be self-sustainable, compassionate, and valuable members in their communities.
To empower the youth by equipping them with vocational skills that will allow them to generate their own incomes, sponsor themselves through school, qualify for a variety of jobs and careers, and fully provide for their future families.
To eradicate idleness, abuse, intolerance, illiteracy, crime, and poverty in the village of Mahwa.
To encourage and foster creativity and critical thinking among the youth of the village of Mahwa.
To provide a safe place in the village where the youth can meet, share, and unite efforts in order to create better lives for themselves.
While there are numerous mentoring and development organizations serving impoverished youth throughout Africa, AUE has an intriguing model.
The project’s main advantage is its mandate to promote self-sustainability amongst Mahwa youth by training them to generate income through goat raising, farming, and craft production, in order to finance their school tuition. This aspect greatly reduces the need for the youth beneficiaries, and for AUE as an organization, to constantly rely on local or foreign donations for ongoing support. The project is not just a “one-off” event. It appears to successfully grow deep roots in the Mahwa community and achieving its objectives. While it is a small scale project working with only 10% of the children in the village (30 out of a potential 300) it Is obviously having a big impact. The major innovation appears to be the use of the web page as a way of attracting international support and donations, rather than the project itself. It is very cost effective with the children using their entrepreneurial skills to fund their own education. From the referees and descriptions of the project the President and young person nominated for the award appears to be a very worthy candidate for acknowledgement. He is implementing the theory he is learning as part of his studies, using his networks to create awareness as well as supporting a very worthwhile locally based program for young people in his own community.
The webpage covering this project is well designed and structured with relevant information supporting the value of this project. It also expends the influence of the project beyond the village in Uganda by appealing to the extensive market of ‘experience travelers’ as well as students seeking a “gap” year experience. Via the web page volunteers are encouraged to come and visit and to be part of this project through a contribution of $400 to cover meals, accommodation and some support.
The innovation in the project lies in the use of small scale community based empowerment processes and linking them to an international volunteer base, using the web and blogs.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this project is its potential for replicability and scalability to other Ugandan communities and beyond. The project’s combination of training, mentoring, and community participation is a service model that can likely be easily reproduced.
AGFUND PRIZE EVALUATORS’ COMMENTS:
Mr. Markus Pilgrim
Good outreach it is significant in terms of numbers.
Good concept (integrated approach).
Reaching out to disadvantaged youth.
Clear logic model, good monitoring system, could improve on impact assessment.
Entra21 is well known in the youth employment community and enjoys an excellent reputation.
Sarah L Timpson
This is a large regional project implemented the International Youth Foundation (IYF), an international NGO based in USA that is dedicated to preparing young people to be healthy, productive and engaged citizens. Implementation of the project, which operates in 22 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, began with a first phase in 2001, with a second phase in 2008 scheduled for completion in December 2011. Its objectives are to provide youth between the ages of 16 and 29 from low income households, including some “harder to hire” youth with troubled backgrounds, with the skills and connections needed for employment or entrepreneurship leading to a lifelong career.
Entra21 works through some 30 intermediary local implementing organizations that are strengthened through their involvement in the project, as well as promoting multistakeholder alliances that include government, the private and academic sectors and NGOs in each country of operation. Developing relationships with potential employers in the private sector is the key. Youth engage in an initial training program focusing on technical and life skills, with particular emphasis on ICT, followed by internships with local companies or agencies as an integral part of training that provides experience with the work environment and further develops their skills. The program also provides psycho-social support services and job placement assistance with a target placement rate of 40%. Youth with entrepreneurial ambitions access training in business skills as well as mentoring, technical assistance and financing leading to establishment of their own businesses. Funding support for the program amounting to some US$75 million over the ten year period, has included the IDB, World Bank, USAID, IDRC, the Caterpillar, Kellog and Argidius Foundations and a number of private sector companies including Microsoft, Nike, Cisco, and Nokia as well as municipalities in Colombia and Argentina and the Ministry of Tourism in Brazil. Certain governments have developed national employment initiatives building on Entra21 modalities. Its significant funding as well as its partnership implementation modality, have allowed expansion of the program to scale and led to a very broad impact, reaching some 70,000 youth, of whom it is stated that half are now engaged in quality work.
Innovation: The project’s focus on disadvantaged youth of both genders coming from the poorest 40%, as well as its second phase special effort to reach an even more vulnerable segment including disabled, school dropouts, gang members etc., are closely aligned with AGFUND values and objectives. Similar to some other nominees, innovations include the implementation through partnerships with local institutions; internships hosted by private and public sector entities facilitating transition from the classroom to the workplace; and the job placement component. Local intermediary implementing partners range from youth development NGOs to vocational training institutes to private sector foundations. Local businesses and market data bases were surveyed and advisory groups created to determine what types of knowledge and skills are needed in local conditions to become employable and this data was used to adapt training programs to realities in each country. This also provided an entry point to establishing relationships with potential employers which have been found to be a key element in success of the program. Also innovative is a monitoring and evaluation system that highlights job placement rather than training completion as the measure of project success
Project design: Project design provided for overall objectives but allowed intermediary local implementing organizations to refine and finalize project design to address conditions in their particular country while respecting overall criteria. This has been particularly effective in operating over a vast region where national conditions vary considerably. Design included specific targets and outcomes as well as clear monitoring and evaluation systems adopted by all partners. Support to building capacity of the local implementing organizations has also been a key element in effectiveness of project design and will be important in terms of sustainability of activities. The relationships they have established with private and government sectors has been a challenge for some but one from which they and the program have benefitted. Moreover the transition to Phase II that drew on lessons and successes of Phase 1 to take on new more challenging target groups and partnerships to increase impact was challenging but rewarding
Prize relevance: The project is directly relevant to all elements of this year’s prize theme, empowering disadvantaged youth through establishing programs implemented by national organizations that provide both job and entrepreneurship training that fosters job placement and establishment of business.
Impact: Numbers of youth trained under the program over the ten-year period has totaled 70,000 with some 50,000 having increased their knowledge and skill as elements of employability and some 50% of the total engaged in quality work, primarily in the formal sector, as a result of their training. Employer satisfaction has been high, with internships leading to employment for about 36% of youth trained under the first phase of the project. The engagement of national government in a number of countries has resulted in government-sponsored activities in several countries that build on Entra21 approaches
Targeting: Criteria for access to project services relates to poverty indicators in each country. Participants are selected through interviews governed by overall project criteria targeting disadvantaged youth, and although a secondary education is required, thus limiting access, experience indicates that remedial education is often needed and is provided by over half of the programs
Transferability: The project initiated activities in Latin America and has expanded in Phase 2 to cover Eastern Caribbean countries using the same methodology and modalities through the Caribbean Youth Empowerment program. Its flexible approach through local institutions facilitates its implementation in a wide range of conditions. The model has also been successfully tested in 35 other pilot programs that have included South Africa, Rwanda and Tanzania and in other countries of Africa, Arab States and Asia, with support from the Microsoft Youth Empowerment Program and the Samsung Real Dream Program, which have emphasized ICT training. This would appear to demonstrate solid transferability
Management efficiency: Although the page covering most of para. 18 and para 19 of the implementing agency presentation were missing in my materials, a review of the other documentation indicates that the project performed well in accordance with the high standards of its multilateral funders. This was a particularly important achievement given the fact that implementation and reporting took place through a series of local partners. Tracking of data on participants was very comprehensive
Fulfillment of project objectives: The program appears to have not only fulfilled but exceeded targets established in project plans. Moreover , given its specific impacts in terms of indicators together with the wider interest of multistakeholder partners that it has generated, it can probably claim significant achievements in terms of wider objectives of demonstrating and putting in place systems with potential for sustainably addressing the youth employment, skills and digital gaps in participating countries
Sustainability: Project activities, benefits and services After ten years of operation, sustainability will depend on the extent to which local implementing organizations and other local partners including governments have become sufficiently engaged to carry activities forward. Partnerships, visibility and credibility as well as fund-raising experience acquired by implementing organizations in the course of their involvement are important in this regard. The extent to which activities have been scaled up with support and “ownership” of these partners has been encouraging in this regard
Environmental and social impact: No mention is made of environmental criteria having been introduced in training programs. With regard to social impact, the numbers of youth now gainfully employed in quality work would seem to be a very positive social indicator
Dr. Saed Dorrah
The Entra21 program is an initiative if IYF that seeking to improve the employability of disadvantaged youth in Latin America and the Caribbean. The program tries to provide the beneficiaries with essential skills needed for labor market. MIF support the program with many other donors like, Nokia, ..etc and IDP is administrating the program. The program is being implemented in 22 countries, and already reached 19,332 youth in 18 countries through 35 programs with investment of $29M. The provided annexes and reports state the approaches, methodology and achievement done so far. Summary
Innovative ways with which the project relates to AGFUND mission, values and objectives:
Contribution of project design to efficient and effective management and to the fulfillment of project objectives: the project relies on adopting the local market needs before designing the activities and type of training and skills, so by this way they work on moving toward achieving better results.
Degree of relevance of project objectives to the theme of the Prize: it is relevant to the prize theme.
Project impact in terms of types of services provided, new concepts advocated and information dissemination: the provided reports provide enough information on the impact of the program on the beneficiaries
Targeting relevant beneficiaries and facility of their access to project’s benefits and services: the project is able to target the disadvantaged persons in the targeted areas.
Project transferability or adaptability to other areas/ countries: the project is being implemented in 22 countries.
Efficiency of financial management and resource utilization: it is fine, and the program is aware of factors of efficiency and adopting it in the practice.
Sustainability of project activities, benefits and services: sustainability is subjected to the available external fund.
Fulfillment of project objectives: so far there are indicators of achieving their objectives.
Environmental and social impact For sure the employment will have social impact, but there is a doubt that the program has an environmental impact.
The Arab Gulf Programme for Development (AGFUND) invites the United Nations, international and regional organizations, ministries and public institutions, national Non-governmental organizations and individuals worldwide to submit nominations as deemed eligible for the 2017 AGFUND International Prize for Pioneering Human Development Projects. Eligible projects are those implemented in the developing countries to best contribute to the achievement of one or more of the targets of the fourth of the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 “Ensure inclusive and quality education and promote lifelong learning for all“. The deadline for receiving nominations is 30 September 2017.