Youth unemployment is one of the most urgent challenges for sustainable development in Africa. Empowering young people to gain employment is considered a key strategy for achieving the Africa Union’s Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals. In 2018, Ethiopia had the highest rate of youth unemployment in Sub-Saharan Africa with a figure of 27%, compared to an average of 11.2% (ILO, 2017). The program area, Addis Ababa, not only has a particularly high level of unemployed young people, it also has a high rate of under­employed individuals. One reason for this is that the rate at which new jobs are created is lower¬ than the growth rate of the working population. There is also a discrepancy between the skills required by employers (the market) vis-à-vis the skills people actually have. Both of these factors have resulted in a high rate of unemployment in Ethiopia, especially among young people and women.

The rising unemployment rate is a challenge for the government. In fact it is hindering the development of the country as a whole. The employers’ desire to recruit workers with higher productivity levels at the same low wages, combined with a high availability of young workers has only exacerbated the problem. The problem is particularly evident in the capital Addis Ababa, an attractive destination for migrants from the rural areas across the country. Chronic unemployment, on the one hand, and the prevalence of low wages, on the other, have had an adverse effect on the income as well as the morale of young people. The project therefore aims to approach the problem from the perspective of young people, while taking the requirements of the private sector and employers, as well as of society as a whole, into account. It will contribute to achieving the goal of the country’s Growth and Transformation Program (GTP II), which is “to promote the autonomy of women and young people, to ensure their participation in the development process and their participation in the profits of the development processes” so its acceptance is indispensable.

As a result, Selam Children’s Village has been implementing a project called “Pathways for Sustainable Employment for Women and Youth in Ethiopia” (PASEWAY) in partnership with Plan International Ethiopia. The project is aimed at both young women and young men (60/40) between the ages of 15 and 29 years with a total of 1,050 young people to be reached. The number of indirect beneficiaries – people who will be reached through the changes made at a higher structural level – is estimated at around 300,000. With this proj­ect, we intend to focus, not just on unemployed young people, but also young people who are underemployed or who find themselves in precarious employment conditions.

From SCV’s side, the project has concentrated on two districts of the city in particular: Woredas 3, 4, 6 and 7 of the Addis Ketema sub-city, and Woredas 9, 10, 11, 12 and 14 of Yeka sub-city. The life span of the project is from August 2019 to December 2022. We are addressing the unemployed and under-employed young people through our TVET College by delivering quality short-term and level II training freely in five selected sectors such as Metal Works, Furniture Making, Hotel kitchen Operation, Catering Services and Garment.

The overall objective of the Project is to contribute to enhanced employment opportunity and safe working conditions.

Expected outcomes

The project has two expected outcomes or results:

  1. Young people are successfully employed and/or self-employed.
  2. Strengthening capacities of the local partners in the implementation of projects to promote youth employment and entrepreneurship for young people in Ethiopia.