PRESS RELEASE: MasterCard Foundation and Technoserve Announce New Phase of African Youth Entrepreneurship Program

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

WASHINGTON, March 16, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The MasterCard Foundation and TechnoServe are announcing today a five-year, $25.9 million partnership to generate increased income and economic opportunities for 48,000 young people in rural East Africa.

Building on the success of their Strengthening Rural Youth Development through Enterprise (STRYDE) program, the expanded STRYDE 2.0 initiative will provide young people in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda with the skills to start small businesses, secure formal jobs or explore opportunities in agriculture. The new program is noteworthy not only for its scope, but for its partnerships with local institutions to ensure sustainability. The STRYDE programs address the significant problem of unemployed or unengaged youth in Africa, where more than a quarter of young people ages 15-24 are neither working nor studying. At the same time, since the average age of the African farmer is around 60, there is urgent need to involve young people in agriculture in order to ensure food security.

The first STRYDE program began in August 2011 and this month exceeded its target milestone of 15,000 youth trained. After participating in this first program, young people increased their incomes by an average of 233 percent, with 70 percent now saving regularly – a sevenfold increase from before the training.

To help young women and men take advantage of these economic opportunities, STRYDE 2.0 will provide training and mentoring in business development, agribusiness practices and personal effectiveness and finance. It will also reach more than three times as many youth participants as were trained in the first phase, and will expand into Tanzania and new districts in northern Uganda. Using a “systems” approach unique in the field of youth economic engagement, TechnoServe will train local public and private sector partners to deliver the STRYDE program for 40 percent of the participants, preparing these partners to continue the system once STRYDE 2.0 has been completed.

“Agriculture represents tremendous potential to employ a large number of young people. TechnoServe’s innovative approach has successfully engaged youth in the agriculture sector through relevant skills training and direct links to local markets,” said Ann Miles, Director of Programs, Economic Opportunities for Youth & Financial Inclusion at The MasterCard Foundation. “We are excited to expand this successful program with TechnoServe to achieve even greater impact to transform the lives of rural youth.”

“We are proud to be working with The MasterCard Foundation to address the critical issue of youth economic engagement, particularly in agriculture,” said William Warshauer, President and CEO of TechnoServe. “With a strong track record of success, STRYDE 2.0 will help nurture the next generation of African business leaders, while strengthening local institutions to continue this important work.”

Source: Globe Newswire (link opens in a new window)

employment, skill development