Investing in Youth through TVET: An Alternative Solution to Child Trafficking and Pro-Growth Strategies in Uganda

  • Johnson Taremwa PEVUS Project, Plan International, Kampala,
Keywords: Alternative livelihood, empowerment, holistic TVET approach


Youth unemployment remains a serious policy challenge in many sub-Saharan African countries, including Uganda. In 2013, youth aged 15 to 24 in Sub-Sahara Africa were twice likely to be unemployed compared to any other age cohort. For Uganda, in 2012, the Uganda bureau of statistics revealed that the share of unemployed youth (national definition, 18-30 years) among the total unemployed persons in the country was 64 percent. Causes of youth unemployment are believed to be multifaceted, ranging from an inadequate investment/supply side of jobs, insufficient employable skills and high rates of labor force growth at 4.7% per annum. It is estimated that around 18,000 girls/young women are forced into commercial sex work in Kampala’s slums as result of increasing youth unemployment in the country. These girls/young women are found to be trafficked into the practice especially those under 18 years, or forced to join the trade because they cannot earn a living. This has resulted into many negative consequences, including high rates of HIV/AIDS at amongst commercial sex workers, backstreet abortions and mental health disorders. This paper examines the causes of exploitation and high rates of youth unemployment, and successes made by Plan international Uganda in partnership with Uganda Youth Development Link (UYDEL) in providing alternative sustainable livelihoods to exploited girls and young women through promotion of TVET programs in slums of Kampala. This study employed longitudinal methodology and using vocational and apprenticeship model, Plan Uganda in partnership with Uganda Youth Development Link (UYDEL) identified sexually exploited girls and women, between the ages of 13 and 24, enrolled them into the project and attend vocational and apprenticeship training in alternative income generating skills. The girls and young women are recruited through collaborating with community leaders, moon light outreach, bar and hotel owners field visit to sex workers’ spots and peer educators. The results from the longitudinal evaluation indicated that girls and young women who acquired vocational and apprenticeship skills have experienced tremendous changes in their lives; 43.5% girls/women reported having completely abandoned sex work, out of 232 who were followed up and 62% indicated having gained confidence to speak up about their rights to practice safer sex especially with their partners among others.

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How to Cite
Taremwa, J. (2017). Investing in Youth through TVET: An Alternative Solution to Child Trafficking and Pro-Growth Strategies in Uganda. Africa Journal of Technical and Vocational Education and Training, 2(1), 64-74. Retrieved from