Sustainable Livelihoods

Overview

It is widely recognized that youth unemployment is a significant problem in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), one of the main drivers of young people’s desire to emigrate and go to Europe or the USA. Despite international donors’ attention to the issue, there has not been any significant improvement in the rate of young people employed in the region. The literature shows that this failure is due to inappropriate development practices, such as the neoliberal approach to entrepreneurship. To help surmount youth un(der)employment, Jeune Espoir takes youth through the road map of the Guinea Mandela Washington Fellows (a group of youth who succeed to find or create decent employment despite the adverse economic situation of the country) and the capability framework to entrepreneurship. To learn more about this approach read Mansare (2019). The first round of this program will start soon. Your support will be much appreciated.

Guinean youth, like most youth in sub-Saharan countries, usually find themselves in environments and situations that are not in favor of their social, cultural and economic development. The +60% university graduate unemployment rate noted by the Guinean National Institute of Statistics (2016), means that youth have a lack of opportunity to thrive in their country. This situation is causing a sense of hopelessness and desperation in Guinean communities, incentivizing thousands of Guinean youth to jeopardize their lives by trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to get to Europe in pursuit of economic opportunities. Ironically, Guinea, sometimes referred to as the water tower of West Africa because many rivers including the Niger originate from there, is one of the wealthiest countries in the world in regard to natural resources.  In addition to its rich hydrography, Guinea has thousands of square miles of arable soil and significant deposits of gold, iron, diamonds, and bauxite. Guinea ranks number four on the list of bauxite-producers and number two on the list of bauxite-exporters. Also, Guinea borders the Atlantic Ocean to the west, which acts as both a means of transportation and a source of fish for the country. The paradox between Guinea’s natural resources and its youth’s lack of hope for prospering in place signals a further need for investigating the lack of, or what creates, economic opportunity for youth in Guinea.

The Sustainable Livelihoods program takes groups of youth through "The Holistic Framework to Youth Decent Employment" by Mansare (2019). The framework first shows how youth can follow the road map of the Guinea YALI Fellows discovered in the study (see the overlapping circles on the framework on the image) to develop personal and interpersonal capacities as essential elements of their total endowments. Then the framework shows how individual or group endowments are turned into capabilities, in other words, opportunities to undertake diverse livelihoods (see light and medium green circles).  Finally, the framework shows how youth can choose and carry out livelihoods valued by them and their communities given all the capabilities they have (see dark green circle).

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