For young people like Resty, Nololo and Sarak in Uganda, learning to start their own business means life-changing independence.
A Working Future is a youth economic empowerment program in Uganda supported by Plan International and our partners. The program connects young people with access to financial services while teaching them critical work skills and lining them to job opportunities. Since it was first implemented in 2012, over 12,000 young people have benefited, increasing their income by an average of a massive 621%.
Resty Nansubuga, 23, has three young children. Forced into marriage before she turned 18, she used to be very dependent on her husband. "Before, I had to ask for my husband's support for everything”.
She joined A Working Future in 2014 and became the treasurer of her savings group. After attending training sessions, she decided to start rearing pigs: "We did a cost benefit analysis where I learnt that running a piggery is a lucrative business".
Resty also runs a small shop in her home that is used by the whole neighborhood. She is now able to pay her children's school fees using money she has earned herself. Resty is planning to grow her livestock business to include poultry and is currently constructing a new chicken coop to house them!
Nololo Asuman, 21, is chairperson of the Kiyunga Youth savings group. Before joining A Working Future in 2013 he had no source of income and was dependent on his parents for financial support.
After receiving training, Nololo became a sales agent of a consumer goods company. By saving his earnings and taking out a loan, he was able to open a shop.
But Nololo didn’t stop there. He took out another loan and used the profits from his shop to produce chili and hot peppers for a food exportation company.
"I took a loan of 200,000 UGX (60USD). Now I make 600,000 UGX (180USD) per month. It has changed my life. Before I was depending on my parents, now I want to pay them back."
"My future plans include expanding the chili farm and opening a wholesale shop within two years, where I can employ many more young people."
Sarah Muzaale and Ronald Bogere
Sarah Muzaale and Ronald Bogere are a young couple that have undertaken a tremendous journey since they joined the program. Sarah says: "Before A Working Future I was a housewife. My only role was to look after the children and wait for my husband to support me."
Ronald used to mine sand from the river, which was a hazardous job as the contaminated river would often infect him, and the money he earned was not enough to sustain the family.
After receiving training in business skills and entrepreneurship, Sarah became a youth mentor, teaching young people business skills: "I feel so proud and happy to stand before my fellow youths. I used to be scared to speak in front of a crowd, but now I feel happy to share ideas with them. The community looks at me as a role model".
She continues: "I used to sit around and wait to be given things, but now I have business mind-set; I can start a business and watch it progress. I can support myself today. As a woman, that makes me proud".
Sarah and Ronald recently opened a shop, which started as a street stall. They have also expanded their business to chili production and piggery rearing. Sarah is now the chairperson of her savings group and Ronald the treasurer in his savings group.
"The biggest change A Working Future brought about, was the relationship with my wife. Now we join hands to support the family. Without this project I was struggling on my own to sustain the family." Ronald says with a smile.