Meaningful youth engagement

ILO's Youth-to-Youth Fund to tackle youth unemployment in Ethiopia

Youth-led organizations in Ethiopia participated in a competition to secure financial and technical support for their proposals to promote decent work and economic inclusion of young people from the host and refugee communities.

News | Addis Ababa | 12 January 2024
Martha Mamuye, one of the competitors for ILO Y2YF making presentation to the panel of judges ©ILO/Zelalem Desta

Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA (ILO News) - Youth-led organizations in Ethiopia contended for the ILO Youth-to-Youth Fund (Y2YF) on 4 January at Addis Ababa and on 8 January at Jigjiga in Ethiopia. The organization showcased their innovative ideas to tackle youth unemployment and promote decent work opportunities for both refugees and host communities.

The ILO Y2YF is a competitive grant scheme designed to support youth-led organizations, including the ones led by refugees, with funding, capacity building, and direct technical assistance to implement innovative, small-scale projects on youth entrepreneurship to create decent employment for youth.

Set up through the Government of the Netherlands supported Partnership for Improving Prospects for Forcibly Displaced Persons and Host Communities (PROSPECTS) programme in Ethiopia, the International Labour Organization (ILO), in partnership with Edukans Foundation are leading the implementation of this fund.
Representatives of the youth led organizations at the competition in Addis ©ILO/Zelalem Desta

In response to the call for proposals, 46 youth-led organizations submitted their project ideas to compete for the ILO Y2YF. In the pre-selection phase and following a series of review process, 16 strong proposals were shortlisted, which underwent a proposal writing workshop and organizational capacity assessment process. The process helped qualifying organizations to refine their project ideas and design a youth entrepreneurship project aligned to the objective of the ILO Y2YF.

In the final stage of competition, the selected organizations were invited to pitch their project ideas to a panel of judges comprising representatives from the Ministry of Women and Social Affairs, Entrepreneurship Development Institute, International Labour Organization, Edukans Foundation, Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Union, and Ethiopian Employers Federation.

Worash Dabele, one of the participants thanking organizers for the opportunity ©ILO/Zelalem Desta
The participating organizations were appreciative of the opportunity and the process followed by the competition. Worash Debele, representative of the Alliance for Integrated Development and Relief Organization, one of the participating organization said, "Unlike the usual project proposal submission processes, this competition educated us with the essential proposal development, organizational capacity assessment and presentation skills. Such guidance is important for smaller youth organizations, which often struggle to secure funding for their development programmes. More than funds, skills are the most crucial take away for us from this competition.”

Martha Mamuye a representative of the National Young Women Charity Organization (NYWCO) pointed out the importance of inclusive and fair practices in the selection process. “Organizing this pitch competition demonstrates ILO's commitment to transparency. The competition allowed us to hear pitches of other participants, learn from each other. Feedback received from the selection committee will further help us improve our work and presentations."

The judges appreciated the efforts made by the youth-led organizations in drafting proposals and preparing their presentations. Dawit Moges, representing the Ethiopian Employer Federation and one of the judges, shared, “This competition showcases promising potential and ingenuity of young men and women. The pitches made by young people demonstrated their spirit and dedication to make a difference for their communities. I am certain that these organizations will provide exemplary youth-driven solutions for addressing unemployment through their work.”

The panel of judges had a challenging task of selecting the most impactful and feasible projects. Out of 16, ten proposals will be selected for final implementation after completion of further scrutiny in 2024.

Marta Tsehay, sharing ILO's vision for organizing the Y2YF competition ©ILO/Zelalem Desta
Marta Tsehay, National Programme Officer for ILO PROSPECTS in Ethiopia said, “This unique initiative is being piloted for the first time in Ethiopia. The competition underscores the idea that young people, equipped with the right tools and guidance, hold the key to brighter futures for themselves and their communities. The ILO is committed to boosting the meaningful engagement of young people, especially in forced displacement contexts, by harnessing the nexus between youth employment and youth participation.”

The Youth-to-Youth Fund initiative is part of PROSPECTS Opportunity Fund on Advancing Young People’s Engagement and Meaningful Participation. The objective of the initiative is to empower and meaningfully engage young people in forced displacement contexts so that they develop their skills and confidence to lead socioeconomic and cultural activities, start an enterprise, address protection concerns, volunteer in their communities, advocate on issues that are important to them, and provide input to programming, including PROSPECTS.

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