Vocational skills training is one of the best strategies to equip people with employable knowledge and skills and also away of equipping people with skills of innovation and creativity.
It’s a strategy that helps people to not only get employed but also to be in position to identify opportunities and initiate projects within their immediate localities using local resources thereby assisting to address their social-economic needs as well as the needs of their families and other people in their communities.
Integrated Community Development Initiative (ICODI) partnered with Mbarara Business and Vocational Institute and Mbarara Institute for Social Development to train a total of 155 beneficiaries who included disadvantaged youth and women in rural and semi-urban communities as well as women in prisons in Mbarara District-South Western Uganda. The beneficiaries were trained in Liquid soap and candle making, making African sandals, hand bags, wallets and other crafts products; they were also trained in hair dressing, tailoring, welding, carpentry and joinery, Tie and die making for clothes and other relevant vocational skills.
The outcomes for this project were tremendous. According to our follow-up study made on our trainees, 93 (60%) of our trained beneficiaries were able to initiate their own small sustainable income generating activities using the local resources hence improving their individual incomes as well as the incomes of their families; the beneficiaries in turn have also contributed to the local and national economy. 62 (40%) of them were employed by other business/institutions or organizations; A further follow up analysis on the 62 beneficiaries was to investigate their level of productivity/performance. This was entirely interviews conducted with their employers and most of them revealed that those employees were highly innovative and creative and hence they were highly productive and important to those institutions.
The project helped to overcome inequitable gender norms and barriers to girls’ and women economic advancement. ICODI also knows that educated mothers normally have fewer children, invest more in the health and education of each child, thereby raising the productivity of future generations and contribute to sustainable growth.
With this analysis, ICODI and its implementing partners saw it important to provide the beneficiaries with vocational knowledge and skills.