27 February Feb 2013 1607 27 February 2013

EU Delegation visits the Excite project in Northern Uganda

On January 21-22, a Delegation of the European Union,  led by Mr. Stefan Lock, Head of the Economic and Social Section and Mr. Peter Ashton, Program Officer Economic and Social Sectors, visited the Vocational Training Center in Gulu District.  Thanks to the EXCITE project, the Center provides training to young people, with a particular attention to the connection with the labour market and businesses.

According to Samuele Otim Rizzo, AVSI Program Manager, “EXCITE is a creative and innovative project, designed to develop capacity in order to create job.The main point of the project is accompanying  young people of Northern Uganda to achieve their potential and recover hope after the war in order to become lead players in their life”.
For over 20 years Northern Uganda has been plagued by a devastating civil war.  More than 90% of the population has been evacuated and about 70% of people live below the poverty line. About half of the country’s poor people live in Northern Uganda. Increased access to quality vocational skills education for youth and improved access to skill training through apprenticeship programs are key to achieve a sustainable and economic development of the country.
Education, employment and empowerment  are the three main goals of theEXCITE (Expanded and Comprehensive Informal and Technical Education) project, funded by the European Union and implemented by AVSI, together with its local partner Companionship of Works Association (COWA), in the districts of Gulu, Kitgum, Lamwo, Agago and Pader in Northern Uganda.
In this context, Vocational Institutes have many weaknesses, are poorly equipped, lack of human resources, methodology and creativity and don’t have a link with the private sector to absorb apprentices. The great innovation of the EXCITE project is bridging the gap among vocational institutes, youth and the private sector/labour market. That’s why the main actions implemented by the project concern on the one hand the improvement of the quality of education provided by vocational training centers and, on the other hand, a close relationship with businesses offering internships.
According to EXCITE’s experience, those who are trained in good vocational training centers can be easily introduced in the labour market, that means the training received is in line with the market demand and businesses appreciate the quality of their work.
Furthermore, accessing vocational training education gives hope to those people whose formal education have been interrupted due to death, disability, low income or war.
The Delegation had also the opportunity to meet some young beneficiaries involved in the project like Evaline, who started up a restaurant and has been managing it for two years, and other two boys who work today as technicians at S&M Motor Spares. Mr. Lock and Mr. Ashton appreciated and encouraged the work of these young people and the capacity of the project for providing training, education, employment and skill oriented programs.

Some figures of the EXCITE project (October 2010-September 2013):

600 youth at risk, between 14 and 18 years,supported through vocational training,apprenticeship/mentorships 6 vocational training centers restored and equipped with school supplies and tools 90 teachers trained 2 additional courses to improve professional skills implemented 30 apprenticeship/mentorships agreements with businesses