Amagara Youth group is among the many groups of young women and men in Kampala central Kisenyi III ward that subscribe to the National Slum Dwellers Federation of Uganda. The group which boosts of 22 members with 14 young women and 8 young men and current group savings of 1.5 million shillings, started three years ago with the main objective of harnessing vocational livelihood opportunities to help in addressing the growing youth employment crisis in Kampala which was already affecting many of its members.
According to the group chairperson Mr Najib, before the group participates in the youth inclusion project which supports them with a micro-grant, the group’s tailoring activities were carried out in a tiny room with limited equipment for making shoes which significantly limited their productivity. With the micro-grants facility, the group was able to expand its operation space, “we rented an extra room which became a production store that houses the tools and production materials.” Additionally, the group bought an industrial sewing machine for making shoes, sandals, and bags.
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, several urban livelihoods especially the informal kind were decimated leaving a great number of urbanites suffering unimaginable poverty. This got us thinking to diversify our income-generating opportunities says Najib, at which point liquid soap making was selected as a viable business venture to kick start. Another part of the funding was used to procure raw materials for making liquid soap to sell to the existing market within the community.
Despite the expansion and achievements realized, Najib says that they still face challenges especially in marketing their products. “We used to move door to door marketing our products but currently, KCCA has enacted laws against hawking and vending on streets which has affected our sales. Nevertheless, we are adapting to the situation by reaching out to shop dealers that now sell the products on commission.” Additional measures such as social media marketing and open space exhibitions have been adopted to support the group gain a bigger market.
We remain strong and committed to the vision of promoting vocational skills among young women and men as the most viable path to addressing the youth employment crisis.