Skills, jobs and entrepreneurship are key to the well-being of young survivors and also contribute to strengthening the Rwandan economy. Survivors Fund (SURF) and AERG (National Association of Student Genocide Survivors) set up the Youth Entrepreneurship Training Programme (YETP) with the aim of providing valuable entrepreneurship skills to vulnerable young people, and of reducing youth unemployment in Rwanda.
Now supporting a third cohort of students, the initiative is showing strong results. Young survivors face more hurdles than most in education and competing in the job market. Those responsible for younger siblings, in orphan-headed households, have extra challenges without family to support them. With a burgeoning private sector and improvements in its economy Rwanda offers increasing opportunity, but competition for jobs and business creation remains fierce.
In 2016, the YETP program took a different, multi-pronged approach to mitigating youth unemployment. Rather than support new beneficiaries to access training, AERG and SURF have been supporting those graduates of YETP who despite great efforts and time, remain unable to find work and income. In addition, YETP Accelerate has a small training component for a vulnerable and homeless class of students at One Dollar Hostel, but the primary focus is on providing support to unemployed youth who have already passed through YETP but remain unemployed. That focus is on entrepreneurship training, business workshops, internship linkages, and employment workshops.
Since its establishment as a pilot project in April 2012, the youth empowerment project has helped 83 youth to start small and medium enterprises, supported 132 youth to secure employment in business, has linked 108 youth to internships and supported 153 youth to access business coaching.