Youth Empowerment - through the lens
October 26, 2023
In light of the high rate of youth unemployment, at 58% of the age group between 15 and 35, the government, in partnership with the private sector, academia and civil society organizations and supported by UNDP, is implementing the Eswatini Youth Empowerment Programme (EYEP). EYEP is a national programme that aims to contribute towards reducing youth unemployment through two pillars; graduate placement and artisanal skills training.
Following a three-month training at the Manzini Industrial Training Centre (MITC) and upon graduating, the first cohort of 90 artisans under Ezulwini received essential tools to start small businesses. EYEP partnered with municipalities in the four regions to implement the Artisanal Skills Training – Ezulwini, Mankayane, Nhlangano and Siteki – to train the out-of-school youth in sewing, upholstery, plumbing, building and construction, electrical installation, and metalwork.
Women are interested in traditionally male-dominated fields such as metalwork, electrical installation, plumbing, building, and construction. Out of 15 artisans under Ezulwini, eight signed up for metalwork, seven for electrical installation and an equal number for plumbing. While this is encouraging, there is a need to upgrade technology to be user-friendly to women and not heavy.
The artisans acquired adequate skills following their three-month training facilitated by the Manzini Industrial Training Centre (MITC) and are ready to be employed or start small businesses.
By the end of September 2023, 200 graduates were selected from 2800 applicants under the graduate placement component after the portal matched them with organizations interested in their skills. Before deployment to their host organizations, the graduates underwent rigorous induction training to prepare them for the work environment.
About 200 selected graduates were deployed to 46 organizations across the government, parastatals, SMEs, UN agencies and NGOs following certification ceremonies to mark the end of the induction training and the beginning of the placements. The graduates spend six months with the host organizations, gaining skills and experience while earning a monthly stipend.
The EYEP graduate interns gain skills and experience in various fields by carrying out different activities in their host organizations. The host organizations are also benefitting from the young talent and knowledge of the graduates.
The graduate interns' monthly stipend enables them to cater for essentials such as work-appropriate clothes, food and transport. The stipend has also allowed youth graduates from remote areas to take care of accommodation and transport expenses, thus ensuring that no one is left behind.