Young people assert themselves in work life

In many places in northern Mozambique, there is a lack of job opportunities for young people. Helvetas helps young people from rural and peri-urban areas to find entry points into the work force – and thus addresses several problems at once. 

  • Project Name
    Skills for Youth in Mozambique SIM!
  • Project Phase
    2023 to 2026
  • Funding
    Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
  • Thematic focus
    Education and Vocational Skills

New perspectives

The province of Nampula is considered the economic center of northern Mozambique. New job opportunities are being created in many places, for example in agriculture and around the Nacala Corridor, a railroad line that runs through southeast Africa. However, only part of the population is currently benefiting from this potential economic growth. Young people in rural areas and on the outskirts of towns often find it difficult to enter the workforce because they lack formal training, vocational guidance or good job opportunities.

The project Skills for Youth in Mozambique (SIM!) supports young people in gaining a foothold in professional life and increasing their income and career opportunities. This creates a lasting perspective for them and the region.

Support in three steps

To achieve this, the project uses a three-step approach: Helvetas connects young people aged 15-35 to relevant training, supports them during the transition to working life, and makes an effort to ensure that they encounter fair conditions in the labor market.

In the training courses, the young people acquire skills in the technical, social and entrepreneurial and business management fields that enable them to find (self-) employment. People who have not had a basic education – often internally displaced people – can also acquire skills in reading, writing and math. The young people are informed about these courses via radio. Women in particular are targeted; they should make up at least half of the participants.

Information and vocational counselling also help to prepare young people for work life. Additional coaching supports those who want to start their own business or cannot find a job.

Ultimately, however, the best preparation does not help if the labor market is weak, local training companies are poorly positioned or the job offerings are limited. Helvetas is committed to ensuring that these training courses are high quality and take place frequently. To achieve this, the organization works with various actors, including public authorities, private and public educational institutions, small and medium-sized enterprises, and civil society organizations.

«As a woman, I chose the carpentry course to learn, practice and develop skills in an area traditionally dominated by men. I want to learn what men learn and be able to inspire more young women in my community to do the same.»

Sara Assane Ibraimo, apprentice on the carpentry course

Tackling several problems at once

The SIM! project is targeted at specific professions, and thus addresses other prominent challenges, such as climate change. While Mozambique’s coastal regions must deal with more frequent cyclones and floods, droughts in the interior are increasingly affecting agriculture. Occupations with employment potential related to the circular economy (e.g., repair and maintenance), the green economy (e.g., energy, better construction), and waste management (e.g., solid waste, collection, recycling) are particularly in focus. At the same time, topics such as ethical business practices, ecological production and conservation techniques, and responsible consumption are addressed in the training of craftspeople, local associations and companies.

An additional challenge is the flare up of armed conflicts again and again in the region –in part due to the discovery of natural resources (i.e. gas) in the north of Mozambique. Above all young jobless people do not see a perspective and are easily attracted to fight for fundamentalist armed groups. If young people have long-term job prospects, whether as employees with fair salaries or as microentrepreneurs, then this reduces the risk of them joining extremist groups – which is important for establishing and securing peace in the region in the long term.

SIM! started in 2023 and will initially focus on the Nampula and Niassa province. Later, it will expand to other provinces in the north, such as Cabo Delgado.

Education and Vocational Skills

Lack of education perpetuates inequality because poor countries cannot compete economically without a skilled workforce.

How Helvetas Supports People in Mozambique

Helvetas has been active in Mozambique since 1979, supporting local communities in building wells and other potable water facilities as well as latrines.