Education for All through Youth-Led Agricultural Entrepreneurship


The A-Factor Project™ is part of UMECS Education-for-All strategies, a developing programme designed to shift the paradigm from dependence on donors to fund secondary, vocational and technical school to sustainable self-sufficiency through youth-led agricultural entrepreneurship. Youth fund their educations through viable agricultural enterprises they run, with a host of multiplier effects that improve food security and nutrition, enhance local economies, conserve the environment, reduce the exploitation of girls and eradicates poverty.

Project Rationale

Throughout sub-Saharan Africa including in Uganda, secondary, technical and vocational school costs are prohibitive for the majority of youth, deferring the overall advancement of African society, perpetuating syndromes of poverty and gender inequity and laying the groundwork for future conflicts. Moreover, donor dependence to fund secondary, vocational and technical school in sub-Saharan Africa neither serves the majority nor is sustainable on a broad scale.

As Universal Secondary Education policies and programmes become more developed in sub-Saharan Africa – a process that will take time to include all – innovative programmes that shift the paradigm from donor dependence to self-sufficiency to fund secondary, vocational and technical school for war and poverty affected youth need to be developed and implemented now – so that youth become skilled and educated while they are young.


  1. To pilot and scale up a systematic means for out-of-school youth who cannot afford the costs of secondary, vocational or technical school – this is the majority of youth in most sub-Saharan Africa societies – to earn the full costs of their education through training and organized, well-managed small and medium size agricultural enterprises.
  2. To shift the paradigm of dependence on donors to fund secondary, vocational and technical school education to sustainable self-sufficiency through youth-led modernized agricultural entrepreneurship.
  3. To create a generation of youth entrepreneurs who combine modernized technology-based agriculture with environmental conservation and land/natural resources management to build a ladder to prosperity, increase agricultural profitability, fortify food and nutrition security, and generate local economic development.

Project Description

Cohorts of out-of-school youth are trained in entrepreneurship, modernized agriculture, environmental conservation, land and natural resources management, leadership and as peer mediators and peer counselors. Project cohorts are organized into small and medium size enterprises (SME’s), business plans are developed, marketing surveys conducted, project administrations set up. SME’s are implemented, e.g. poultry, small livestock, crops, gardens, brickmaking, tree plantations. Project proceeds are invested into the projects to sustain and grow the business enterprises. A percentage of the proceeds are allocated to secondary, vocational and technical school costs for project youth. Project youth are mentored throughout life of project, M&E conducted, assessments and technical assistance provided. Multiple sectors participate as stakeholders and implement scale up strategies as pilot is being implemented.

Who benefits

Out-of-school gender-balanced youth with a focus on conflict-affected orphans and vulnerable youth living in poverty who need to complete secondary, vocational or technical school are the direct beneficiaries and target groups of this pilot project.

The project will include former child soldiers, formerly abducted children, other youth affected by conflict and poverty and disabled youth.

Indirect beneficiaries include families and communities of direct beneficiaries and districts.

Expected Outcomes

  • War and poverty affected out-of-school youth fund their secondary, technical and vocational school costs they earn from proceeds of agricultural enterprises
  • Paradigms and mindsets shift from dependence on donors to fund secondary, vocational and technical school to self-sufficiency through youth led agricultural entrepreneurship
  • Scale up strategies led by key stakeholders, including local government, communal land leaders, and schools are implemented as the UMECS-led pilot launches
  • The benefits of education are joined with the benefits of improved local economies, increased agricultural production and environmental conservation, combining to eradicate poverty, empower the youth generation and accelerate sustainable prosperity
  • Youth are personally developed through education, life skills, mentorship, pride of self-sufficiency and teamwork.

Multiplier Effects

  • Environmental conservation and land and natural resources management helps to avert hunger, malnutrition, drought and floods
  • Gender-based approach creates secondary school-level educated girls who avoid being exploited as child labour, in early marriage and human trafficking
  • Educated girls have more access to quality health services, family planning and reproductive health services
  • Increased agricultural production, food and nutrition security
  • Creation of a generation of youth entrepreneurs and jobs creators
  • Key stakeholders become active participants in education for-all strategies
  • Rural transformation progresses, which stems the tide of urban drift

Cultural preservation and rural transformation

Youth will not stay in static rural areas where agriculture is not modernizing and there is no economic future. Their departure is draining rural areas of the very stakeholders and population that are at the heart of keeping rural areas vibrant, viable, dynamic and sustainable. Modernized agriculture provides economic opportunities and social benefits that can combine rural traditions with the benefits of education and prosperity. As youth become enthusiastic stakeholders in economically developed, technology-connected rural areas, rural culture and strengthened family and community support systems will flourish – and rural areas will transform from static to dynamic.

For more information, read our A-Factor Project Working Document

The A-Factor Project™ is part of UMECS Broadening Education-for-All Strategies. Read more about our Broadening Education for All Strategies

How Change Happens

TOC - AFactorWebsite