At least 9,000 youths aged between 16 and 30 and working in the informal sector have started to reap fruits from youth employment projects funded by European Union.
The beneficiaries include street vendors, taxi bicycle riders, domestic workers, workers in hair salons and restaurants, workers in tea plantations and mines in Nyarugenge, Kicukiro, Rubavu, Nyabihu, Ngororero, Gekenke and Rulindo districts.
The support, some Euros 2.1 million, is based on studies that showed that close to 50 per cent of those who work in the informal economy in Rwanda earn less than $0.5 per day.
The support enabled Rwandan youth join TVET schools where, after graduation, they get provided with startup tool kits to start income generating projects.
Leonie Nizeyemariya, a mother of four, says that she has started to reap fruits from her tailoring skills.
She joined Agaciro saneza cooperative that does tailoring in Kicukiro District.
“I generate Rwf300,000 every month thanks to working under the cooperative,” she said.
She said she has since encouraged other young people to save from little income which could eventually enable them make larger investments later.
“As a cooperative, we are looking to establishing a textile factor in the future,” she said.
The progress was observed during the visit by Stefano Manservisi, Director General European Commission last week.
Manservisi said: “we are talking about jobs that give a present and future way of improving livelihoods of vulnerable people. It helps them work and realise their dreams. Examples include tailoring and hair dressing, they are efficient and enabling the youth to meet daily needs. I think that this is the best businesses they can do to improve their livelihood,” he said.
Anthony Busingye, Executive Secretary of AJPRODHO–JIJUKIRWA, one of the NGOs implementing the project, said that the project aims at moving youth from informal sector to formal sector, consequently eliminating of poverty.
“They gain financial and entrepreneurial skills and access to information on viable opportunities,” he said.
The initiative also facilitates the youth who graduate from vocational training to join Voluntary Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs), cooperatives and trade unions.
The five-year project, which ends next year, has changed livelihoods with some having started their own businesses which we think will be sustainable, Busingye said.