The project aims at contributing to the elimination of poverty of youth between 16 and 30 who work in the informal sector in Rwanda.
8,000 youth (16-30 years) depending on the informal sector, of whom 3,000 live in urban and 5,000 in rural areas, 70% women. The project recognizes the diversity of the informal economy. In this project, three major distinctions have been made: urban/ rural, women/ men, and self-employed/informal employer-employee relationships. More specifically, the project will work with different sub-groups of informal workers, including but not limited to street vendors, taxi bicycles, domestic workers, workers in hair salons and restaurants, and workers in tea plantations and mines in two urban districts of Kigali City (Nyarugenge and Kicukiro Districts) and five districts of the Northern and Western Provinces (Rubavu, Nyabihu, Nogorero, Gekenke and Rulindo Districts). These districts have been chosen in order to have a mix of urban districts, where unemployment is highest, and rural districts to contribute to limiting urbanisation and decrease dependency on the overstretched agricultural sector. The two urban districts are those where most of Kigali’s informal workers work. The five rural districts are districts that have a high concentration of tea plantations and/or mines, which use many informal workers. 70% of the direct final participants will be women, thereby recognizing the extent of female participation in the informal sector as well as the additional challenges faced by women.
The Rwandan informal economy is large, both in absolute and relative terms: almost one million people depend mainly on the informal sector. Especially young people are excluded from reasonably paid formal employment and rely on the informal economy for their livelihood. Work in the informal sector in Rwanda implies a much higher likelihood of poverty and underemployment. Close to 50% of those who work in the informal economy earn less than 0.5 USD/day; women earn significantly less than men.
The Youth Employability in the Informal Sector (YEIS) project has been designed to contribute to the elimination of poverty of youth (16-30 years) dependent on the informal sector in Rwanda. Indirectly, through evidence-based advocacy for a more appropriate legal and policy framework and its efficient implementation, the project will have a positive impact on all youth currently dependent on the informal economy. Directly, the project will improve the situation of 8,000 youth (70% women) in the informal sector by increasing their technical, financial and entrepreneurial skills, ensuring access to information and financial and business services, facilitating them to unite in Voluntary Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs), cooperatives and trade unions, and enabling them to take steps towards the regularization or formalization of their activities. As such, the project builds on and contributes to the Government of Rwanda’s Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (EDPRS) 2, specifically its pillar on ‘productivity and youth employment’ and the two priorities under this theme of ‘critical skills and attitudes for services and industrial sectors’ and ‘entrepreneurship, access to finance and business development.‘
A1.1 Facilitate the formation and functioning of 320 VSLAs
A1.2 Through a peer educator approach, train 8,000 VSLA members on financial literacy; life skills; entrepreneurship skills; relevant laws, policies, social protection programs and rights of informal workers; gender equality & restrictive gender norms
A1.3 Support 6,000 VSLA members’ access to financial services (micro-finance institutions, mobile financial services)
A1.4 Support 7 TVET centres (one per district) to provide more relevant services
A1.5 Support 910 VSLA members in benefiting from TVET services
A1.6 Raise awareness on laws, policies, and social protection programs, and share success stories of successful youth entrepreneurs, through radio talk shows, booklets
A2.1 Based on evidence on the effectiveness of policy implementation for youth in the informal sector and challenges that these youth face, advocate for more appropriate laws and policies governing youth in the informal sector
A2.2 Build the capacity of and work with the National Youth Council to advocate for youth in the informal sector
A3.1 Facilitate the formation of 200 cooperatives of TVET graduates and/or VSLA members engaged in similar business or value chains
A3.2 Raise awareness among 4,000 cooperative members on existing labour unions and facilitate linkage between 150 cooperatives and labour unions
A.3.3 Facilitate linkage of 150 cooperatives with existing support services like BDS (Business Development Services) based in the districts
A3.4 Link 80 cooperatives to private sector actors relevant to their value chain and trade fair events
A4.1. Advocate for and support easier requirements/ access for small businesses and cooperatives to become and remain registered as formal businesses
A4.2 Awareness raising among youth and employers in the informal sector on the advantages & process of moving towards formalization (through booklets, radio shows and direct targeting of TVET centres, VSLAs and cooperatives)
01.02.2015 – 31.01.2019
This project is funded by the European Union and the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) (with funds of Austrian Development Cooperation).
AJPRODHO (Coordinator in this project), YWCA
European Union, Austrian Development Agency (with funding from the Austrian Development Cooperation)
R1 – 8,000 youth dependent on the informal sector have increased their productivity, employability and market access.
R2 – The legal and policy framework is improved to be more appropriate for and more efficient in reaching youth dependent on the informal economy.
R3 – 4,000 youth dependent on the informal economy are able to successfully engage with duty bearers and private sector actors through cooperatives and other representative organizations.
R4 – 8,000 youth dependent on the informal sector have been enabled to take steps towards the regularization or formalization of their enterprise or working relationship.