The Youth Employment Skills Training Program (STEP) conducted in the Kolda region in southern Senegal came to an end in October 2020.
Launched in 2017 by World Vision Canada with funding from Global Affairs Canada, this major project aimed to improve the employability of young people in a region with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. To meet this objective, the project focused on 2 areas: improving the offer of vocational training establishments so as to be better aligned with the needs of the local labour market, and providing young people with a range of services related to entrepreneurship, mentoring, financial education and financing, enabling them to acquire the know-how and soft skills to integrate into the labour market or start a business.
Développement international Desjardins’s (DID) role was to facilitate access to financing for young people by strengthening their entrepreneurial and financial management skills and by supporting 2 financial institutions in developing and implementing financial products and methodologies adapted to the socio-economic realities of young people.
The project's most significant results included the following:
- DID assisted 11 vocational and technical training establishments in integrating financial education modules and training trainers. A total of 79 teachers acquired the skills to disseminate these educational modules (600% of target).
- 14 savings groups were created among students in educational institutions and out-of-school youths (155% of target).
- 344 young people joined these groups (152% of target) and saved a total of 4,138,000 CFA francs (approximately CAN$9,500). 85% of the businesses created by the young project beneficiaries were financed using their own resources.
- 416 young people were connected with a partner financial institution (180% of target).
This project made it possible to awaken young people to the importance of rigorously managing their finances to succeed in business. Thanks to the financial education they received, they now consider saving as a way to invest in the development of their microbusiness. They also feel more confident about financial institutions when negotiating credit. In general, young people are now better able to contribute to the development of their community and actively participate as agents of change.