Youth Employment Initiative Kicks off in Northern and Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile

In recognition of the importance of saving as a driving force behind family stability, community development and economic progress, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) - through its microfinance capacity building mechanisms for boosting youth self-employment, is promoting the formation of an Autonomous Savings and Credit Association (ASCA) via a comprehensive Training Programme that targets youth in Northern and Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States. The first ACSA training was organized in the State of Northern Kordofan on December 20, 2011.

Supported by the Millennium Development Goals Achievement Spanish Fund, the ASCA training aspires to create opportunities for the employment of Sudanese youth in the states of Northern and Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, as part of the Joint Programme ‘Creating Opportunities for Youth Employment in Sudan’-which is currently being implemented by eleven UN agencies in collaboration with national and international NGOs. The inaugural and concluding official ceremonies were honored by Northern Kordofan Wali representative, H.E Mr. Humaida Ismail, and Head of the Higher Council for Youth and Sports H.E Mr. Al Haj Ahmed Eissa and a number of Northern Kordofan State officials.

Mr. Ismail addressed the opening session of the ASCA training where he expressed his gratitude - on behalf of Northern Kordofan State to UNDP and the government of Spain “This is but one of many fields in which UNDP’s impact is strong and valuable,” He further attributed the spread of poverty in Sudan to the lack of training and skills development confirming that the training presents a real opportunity for human resource development, leading to an increase in productivity and economic progress. Mr. Ismail concluded by pledging to assist in facilitating loans for the trainees but stressed that the training certificate will be a prerequisite for applicants to receive the loans.

Head of the Higher Council for Youth and Sports H.E Mr. Al Haj Ahmed Eissa attributed the uniqueness of this training to the fact that it does not target only graduates but includes drop- outs with entrepreneurial potential “I strongly believe that the savings and credit associations are the only way towards the success of microfinance efforts in Sudan,”

Youth present at the training made several statements on the outset of this initiative. Ibtihal Mohamed Ahmed, a 26 year old female who is currently unemployed, described her participation in the training as “The first step on the entrepreneurial path,” She further stated that the training programme provides her with the necessary skills to manage a small emerging business “My expectations were indeed met; I am very satisfied and very eager to start my own small business,”

Ibrahim Hassan Ahmed, a 28 year old construction worker has found the training to be very useful and motivating, he proudly stated “Before the training, the idea of applying for a loan and having my own business seemed impossible to me, but now with the right training and know- how I can not only apply for a loan but I can start a successful business, repay my loans and generate enough profit to expand,”

Hamid Mohamed Salih, who is hoping to start a small poultry business, described the ASCA training certificate as the “Golden Ticket. I thank UNDP for this ambitious idea and I am hopeful that being part of a working group will help facilitate this training much better since creating new businesses is all about exchanging ideas about market needs.”

Phase one of the ASCA commissioned by UNDP Sudan has completed a targeted total of 203 participants divided into 8 groups mainly from the youth. Particular attention was given to migrant youth, including ex-combatants, returnees and demobilized soldiers, especially females.

The ASCA training was provided in a manner which identified youth target groups focusing on building capacities of financial institutions on credit management, and creating institutional linkages for concrete facilitation of loans and credit. For the purposes of enhancing organizational capacity and self management, well trained local trainers through ToT and training manuals will be availed from within the targeted groups. The training team was supported at both the Federal and State levels by youth members from the Youth Employment Units attached to the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

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