Young and women Social Entrepreneurs

CONTEXT

High rates of youth and women unemployment represent a wasted resource. Poor youth labor market participation limits the inputs available for urgently needed growth and makes it harder for Cameroon and others developing countries to realize the benefits of labor-intensive growth strategies. Cameroon like other African countries passes through a unique demographic “window” where the youth population is maximized before birth rates begin to fall toward a more “developed economy” pattern – their success or failure in realizing the economic potential of young people during this “low dependency ratio” period can make the difference between sustained and faltering long-term development. (Dhillon and Yousef, Inclusion: Meeting the 100 Million Youth Challenge, 2007).

African youths face a number of problems such as:

  • Exposure to radicalization and extremism
  • Inadequate access to basic education
  • Lack of access to credit and micro-finance facilities.
  • Inadequate entrepreneurship skills
  • Inadequate training opportunities for school drop-outs and out of school youths.
  • Low agricultural crop production and hence low earning from the agricultural sector.
  • High prevalence of sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS.
  • Early marriage resulting in teenage pregnancy, unwanted pregnancy and a high population growth rate.

It is widely contended that these problems can be attributed to lack of information, education, guidance and inappropriate training and counseling on related issues. This combination of factors have immensely contributed to the high rate of unemployment amongst youth in African countries thus rendering youth more vulnerable to poverty, rural exodus, emigrations and HIV/AIDS resulting in loss of life.

It is also important to note that a lot of efforts have been made by the governments towards addressing the above compounding problems. Despite these numerous interventions the gaps are still there which needs to be filled.

Program objectives

The objective of the program is to contribute to countries economic development by creating sustainable livelihoods for the youths and encouraging the emergence of youth and women’s MSMEs, especially in the agricultural and services value chains.

Its specific objective is to increase the opportunities for creating jobs and generating sustainable incomes for the youth and women. The program intends to create an environment that fosters the emergence, structuring and professionalization of entrepreneurship for rural and semi-urban youth and women, making it conducive to job and wealth creation.

PROGRAM MAIN COMPONENTS:

  1. Promotion of youth and women’s entrepreneurship in rural and semi urban areas.

This component entails developing youth and women’s skills through training leading to specific qualifications, and skill upgrading and facilitation of  self-employment through projects with high valued-added. The main areas of activity are: project identification and selection; project formulation and capacity-building support; consolidation of agro pastoral vocational training through rehabilitation of training centres; construction and reinforcement of business incubators, thus increasing job and income creation opportunities and, lastly, technical and managerial capacity-building for entrepreneurs (coaching).

  1. Technological infrastructure to support MSMEs 

This will entail creating technological and logistical environment in the project area that makes it possible to raise productivity in order to encourage the emergence and monitoring of MSMEs and create permanent jobs for the youth and women. This component will also contribute to setting up an employment information system and a market information system. Technological infrastructure contribute to vocational training and professional capacity-building for young project proponent

  1. Financing mechanism accessible to the youth and women.

This mechanism aims at increasing beneficiaries’ access to financing from local financial institutions by essentially tackling the following major obstacles identified: exorbitant lending rates, difficulties in providing guarantees and mandatory personal contributions. It is expected that MSME will be financed through loans.

PROGRAM EXPECTED RESULTS AND IMPACTS

As part of our mission, we engage young people by building their capacities in the domain of job creation through entrepreneurship and business development while focusing in the most innovative approach. We strive to instill in them the spirit or culture of entrepreneurship hence change their mind-set from how do I get a job to how do I create decent jobs.

Promoting human resources as the engine of economic and social development will entail designing and implementing vocational training and entrepreneurship programs and also establishing business incubators and an adequate mechanism to provide financial support to youth and women entrepreneurs.

The expected results of the program are:

The development of the agriculture, poultry and aquaculture value chains in order to enhance the outputs and specific potential of the

  • elected areas, thus increasing employment and income creation opportunities.
  • The agricultural/fishery value chain approach covers several aspects of pre-production (factors of production; animal, plant and fishery production) and post-production (processing of agricultural/fishery products, product labeling, marketing and market access).
  • Handicrafts are also included through the creation of Incubation of green centres for wood and aluminum work, construction and public works, and mechanic work respectful of environment.