Our story starts way back in 2015 at a cafe in Kampala. We brainstormed ideas on how we can bridge barriers to education for youth out of the school system.
Youth Rising International, now based in Mpumu-Salaama, Mukono, Uganda, first opened doors in Kawempe, Kampala, in 2016. Over the years, the organization has grown to serve education interests of young people and children.
Youth Rising is a response to several youth development issues in Uganda that include:
- The high youth unemployment challenge with over 80% of 15–30-year olds who constitute over 70% of Uganda’s population has no access to employment.
- Seven out of ten girls do not complete primary education. This huge demographic dividend lacks skills and economic opportunities to change their livelihoods as they grow into adulthood without careers.
- In Uganda, young people generally face higher-than-average rates of HIV/AIDs, teenage pregnancy, early marriage and substance abuse coupled with limited educational and economic opportunities.
Our Policy Brief on Youth Education & Employment.
Characteristics of Out-of-School Youth
- Most out-of-school youth drop out before secondary school and many never set foot in a school.
- The prospect of an early marriage is a key barrier to young females’ education. It affects girls’ schooling even before they get married.
- Young people living in rural areas are more likely to be excluded from education than youth living in urban communities, and most of them work.
- Parental education is the single most important determinant of youth’s education outcomes.
- The number of working adults in a household has an important impact on schooling choices and school/work decisions.
- Low educational quality affects the decision of going to and/or staying in school.
- Access is a key problem for poor and rural communities, where distance to a school can be a major constraint.
- Retention of at-risk youth in school:
Given that most youth drop out before they start secondary school, retention efforts must begin before youth enter secondary education. Retention could be improved through greater early intervention to get children enrolled at the right age and a renewed focus on improving the quality of primary education, and this is our point of focus for Literacy Programs. A greater awareness for the importance of education, especially for girls and rural youth, is also essential.
- Remediation through alternative education:
For youth already out of school, the most likely path to complete their education is alternative education systems. Our Business and Life Skills programs target out-of-school youth to offer a mix of cognitive and technical skills development with life skills training and mentoring.
- Integration with the labor market:
Youth who are not likely to go back to school require practical training and experience to increase their employability. So in all of our skills programs, we highly integrate workforce development in terms of skills and services offered, because we know that most youth will be self-employed or work for a small, informal enterprise.