Kyamanywa sits in her workshop where she mixes different substances to
manufacture soap. It is gratifying to know that a physically challenged youth
is making a living by making bar and liquid soap.
Mwajuma, a mother of 3 who hails from Masindi, a district in Western Uganda, has had to overcome stigma and discrimination to get to where she is. In November 2019, she enrolled for a 6-day instant training course in liquid detergent and bar soap making at SafePlan Uganda, a local livelihood partner that implements development programs in the district. Instant training is a short competence enhancement training adopted by Enabel to enhance a particular skill.
Before this opportunity presented itself, Mwajuma previously sold tomatoes in the market and made Ugx 30,000 (USD 12) per week which was not enough to sustain her family and their needs. The training has helped her multiply her earnings 3 times over to make Ugx 100,000 (USD 28) weekly. “I was able to pay for my son who recently completed his Senior Four studies and joined an institute to study Electrical engineering. I was also able to buy him a computer for his studies,” she says with pride.
Mwajuma reveals that she personally chose this path because she prefers to fend for herself than keep begging for help from people.
Just like Mwajuma, Aggrey Ahumuza Myrrh is among the many youths in Uganda that benefited from skills training.
Aggrey Ahumuza, 24, enrolled for liquid and bar soap training at the same time with Mwajuma. In the past, Aggrey earned his income from small contracts where he carried out short trainings for disabled youth interested in making soap. He sought to improve his skills and decided to join the instant training supported by Enabel.
“I have been able to better my soap making skills and now, I sell my soap confidently to my clients because the quality I make meets Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) criteria,” remarks Aggrey. He also adds that he carried out some research and discovered a mentor who helped him improve on his skill. He is now able to make 6 pieces per every 3 days.
With the introduction of the lockdown and emphasis on hygiene due to Covid -19 and frequent washing of hands with soap by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the demand for liquid soap skyrocketed in various places.
This development provided an opportunity for Aggrey to supply jerrycans of liquid soap to various clients. This earned him Ugx 1.5m for three months (USD 395). With this money, he has been able to buy baby supplies for his 5-month old baby and take care of the household.
Aggrey is looking at the prospect of opening up a soap manufacturing business in Masindi where he produces quality liquid, bar, and bathing soap as well as train people who desire to acquire this skill.
As part of the speeches to mark the International Youth Day (IYD), Daniel Akena, Program Manager at SafePlan Uganda encouraged youth like Mwajuma and the needy, to encourage others to enroll in the Skills for jobs training. Akena also said that the IYD should be used to review what young people are doing in terms of skilling and its benefits and if there is need for more resources to support skilling programs.
Skills training among the youth has proven to be effective in improving the lives of young people in Uganda. Such interventions lay a foundation for young people in Uganda to be able to look after themselves, make income and look after their households, thus making life better for them.
Youth unemployment is an underlying issue in Uganda but with the provision of formal and non-formal training, young people are able to make a living for themselves to overcome this.