According to the 2014 Population Census Final Report by Uganda Bureau Of Statistics (UBOS), Uganda's total population stands at 37.7m. The number of people between the productive age of 14 and 64 is slightly over 18m. With 58% of this population group unemployed, it means that Uganda's total non-utilized labour potential is 10.4m. The report further indicates that in the age category of 20 to 24, 65% of its members are unemployed; meaning that 11.8m youths are jobless. For those above 25 years, the situation is even worse, with over 90% of them unemployed. To compound the problem, Uganda has one of the youngest and fastest growing population rates in the world with its fertility rate of 3%. Coupled with the fact that the current Uganda job market can absorb only 8,000 out the more than 40,000 young graduates from universities annually, a stronger focus on job creation for this group of people cannot be overemphasized.
The situation is even more difficult for women and girls, who face yet greater challenges in securing productive and fulfilling employment. The 2014 UBOS report indicates that three out of every four unemployed Ugandans were women. The 2005 Gender and Growth Assessment report by the World Bank cites the following barriers, among others as factors impeding Ugandan women from securing gainful employment : - a) Women are marginalized in business ownership, skills development, access to financial resources, non-agricultural employment, and inheritance rights. b) There is a marked gender gap in access to and control over productive resources such as land; and c) Women have lower access to education services - only a third of girls enrolled in primary education continue in school to the age of 18.
Kalangala district (also called Ssese Islands) is located in Lake Victoria with a total of 84 islands. It has an area coverage of 9,066.8 sq km out of which only 432.1 sq km (4.8%) is land. Bugala is the biggest island in the district with 296 sq. km of land, representing 68.5 percent of the district land mass. Sixty four out of 84 islands in the district are inhabited with an estimated population of 66,300 (2012 Estimate).
Although there are no independent statistics on women and youth unemployment for Kalangala district, the situation is even worse when compared to the rest of the country due to the district's geographical location, remoteness, its relative isolation and its uniqueness as a hard-to-reach and islands district. Additionally, the district faces unique challenges that don't favor women and youth in securing gainful employment.
Firstly, the main economic activities in the district of fishing, oil palm growing, lumbering and tourism don't favour direct female and youth participation; hence making them economically vulnerable. Secondly, the district faces the problem of dwindling fish stock attributed to over fishing, pollution and use of illegal fishing practices. This means that even the indirect employment that the fishing sector used to offer to women and youth as employees in fish processing is no longer available. Thirdly, the district's uniqueness as an islands district makes delivery of routine agricultural extension and animal husbandry services very difficult. Hence, these advisory services are unavailable to women and youth who form the bulk of farmers in the district. Furthermore, the introduction of a palm oil growing project in the area by BIDCO Uganda Ltd. in the 1990s that was expected to be another source of off-farm job opportunities; and a blessing in the face of now less lucrative fishing trade, has led to further challenges. To start with, BIDCO maintains a controversial 6,255 hectares of palm oil plantation in the district. With over 65 percent of the available land on Bugala island under palm oil, the project has not only reduced the available arable land but has caused food insecurity and deforestation in the district. These problems have increased the vulnerability of mainly women and youth. There are also concerns that the oil palm scheme has reinforced existing gender inequalities because of differentiated access to land, strong gender division of labour and strong male migration. Women and youth have become even more marginalized; the increased cash-income has reinforced men's power, the reduced capacity to rely on forest and arable land has undermined women's and youth's fall-back position, and labour in the plantations does not represent a viable alternative for these groups.
This project seeks to support women and youth groups in Kalangala to start and strengthen small income generating activities. Given that most women and youth in the district lack adequate access to education, financial services and formal employment, the project focus will be on developing skills that will allow them to succeed in the informal economy and as entrepreneurs. The project will take place on Bugala Island where there is the biggest number of unemployed women and youth. Bugala has also been affected more by palm oil growing.
a. To empower women and youth groups with skills and knowledge in financial, business management and entrepreneurialship
b. To create employment opportunities for women and youths
c. To contribute to sustainable livelihoods for women and youth and their families
a. 100 youths (10 youth groups)
b. 100 women (10 women groups)
c. Families of the recipient women and youths, particularly children
d. General community of Kalangala District who will buy/use the goods and services produced by the women and youth groups
e. Kalangala District Local Government
a. Better job opportunities and financial well being for women and youth in the district
b. Reduced poverty among women and youth in the district
c. Improved and sustainable economic empowerment for women, youth and their families
d. Improved knowledge and skills by women and youth in financial, business management and entrepreneurship
e. Improved productivity of women and youth
f. Improved knowledge of rights for self and others among women and the youth