A Strategic Alliance for Agribusiness Expansion
In a transformative collaboration, Heifer International, a global nonprofit dedicated to eradicating poverty and hunger, has joined forces with the Mastercard Foundation, a Canadian charity organization. Their collective mission is to amplify agribusiness opportunities for more than 250,000 youth in Uganda. This strategic partnership marks a significant step toward fostering inclusive economic growth in the region.
Stimulating Agriculture for Youth Employment (SAYE)
The Heifer-led 'Stimulating Agriculture for Youth Employment (SAYE)' project targets youth across nine districts in eastern Uganda's Busoga sub-region. These districts include Mayuge, Jinja, Kamuli, Iganga, Bugweri, Kaliro, Buyende, Namayengo, Namutumba, Bugiri, and Luka.
Spanning from 2023 to 2029, the SAYE project aims to empower young individuals aged 16 to 35. The focus is on skill enhancement, expanding market access, and providing inclusive financing in key sectors such as poultry, horticulture, oilseed, dairy, and beef value chains.
Diversification, Technology, and Climate-Smart Agriculture
The SAYE project adopts a holistic approach by diversifying value chains, integrating technological solutions, and promoting climate-smart agriculture practices. This multifaceted strategy seeks to create a resilient market ecosystem that nurtures inclusion and economic sustainability for the youth involved.
Heifer International's Vision
Heifer International's President and CEO, Surita Sandosham, envisions transforming the market ecosystem in Busoga to offer dignified and fulfilling work opportunities for the youth. The SAYE project, with a budget of $48 million, builds upon the success of Heifer International's East Africa Youth Inclusion Program (EAYIP).
Success of EAYIP
EAYIP, a previous collaboration with the Mastercard Foundation, generated 33,000 new jobs for over 25,000 young people between 2016 and 2022. Leveraging an agri-hub model, it facilitated access to technical, business, and financial products and services for the youth.
Agri-Hubs, Skills Training, and Financial Inclusion
Under SAYE, Heifer International takes the lead in forming and strengthening youth- and farmer-led agri-hubs. Local partners complement this effort by focusing on business incubation, skills training, promoting micro, small, and medium enterprises, and enhancing access to financial services.
Mastercard Foundation's Commitment
Adrian Bukenya, the Country Director for Uganda at Mastercard Foundation, underscores the foundation's commitment to creating opportunities for Ugandan youth through the Young Africa Works strategy. The goal is ambitious—to enable 4.3 million Ugandan youth, especially young women, to access dignified and fulfilling work by 2030.
Bukenya emphasizes that the initiative will equip youth with the necessary skills and resources to engage in various aspects of the agriculture value chain. This comprehensive approach aligns with the foundation's broader vision for sustainable economic empowerment.
Heifer International's Legacy in Uganda
Having commenced operations in Uganda in 1982, Heifer International initially delivered cattle to rural communities. Over the years, Heifer Uganda has supported over 6 million families across the country through agriculture and environmentally-sound economic development programs. Presently active in 19 districts across different regions, Heifer Uganda continues its legacy of driving positive change.
Future Outlook: Nurturing Sustainable Growth
As the SAYE project unfolds, the collaboration between Heifer International and the Mastercard Foundation emerges as a beacon for nurturing sustainable growth in Uganda. Beyond empowering youth in agriculture, this initiative sets the stage for long-term economic resilience and inclusivity, echoing the ethos of transformative development.