March 10, 2015

A Measure of Success

This post originally appeared on EDC’s website here. Reposted with permission.

Success didn’t come overnight for Euphrasie, a 23 year old in rural Rwanda. But with hard work, this former seed farmer has built a small business selling non-alcoholic sorghum beer—an enterprise she intends to keep growing.

For Euphrasie, it’s more than just a change in career. It’s a change in quality of life—from subsistence to sustainability—that was made possible by EDC’s USAID-funded Akazi Kanoze program.

A new study shows just how important the project is. EDC’s Annie Alcid, who authored the study, says that the data show what Euphrasie and other Akazi Kanoze graduates have been telling her: the program’s approach is making a difference.

Q: What kind of work is typically available to young people in rural regions of Rwanda?

Alcid: Subsistence agriculture is common. There are also some jobs in building construction, but those jobs are often temporary. Young people really have to be entrepreneurial to make a good living. We found that a lot of young people were drawn to Akazi Kanoze because they were interested in starting their own businesses, but they knew they had to develop better financial and entrepreneurial skills to achieve their dream.

Q: What did youth gain from participating in Akazi Kanoze?

Alcid: Akazi Kanoze uses a comprehensive package of services, including work readiness training, technical training, internship placement, and mentorship to train youth in a number of soft skills, such as financial management, leadership, communication, and work conduct. We know these skills are crucial to moving young people from subsistence lifestyles to ones where they have a long-term vision. The project also matches young people with local businesses that already exist in the community. We have even had employers ask for all of their employees to be trained through Akazi Kanoze!

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