YOLRED’s Apprenticeship Program

Project: Providing Economic Empowerment for Children Born of War: YOLRED’s Apprenticeship Program

Organization: Youth Leaders for Restoration and Development (YOLRED)

Country: Uganda

Aim: The proposal from YOLRED was partially funded (USD 2,314.00) to support the development of an apprenticeship program for CBOW in Northern Uganda. Many CBOW in this region remain stigmatized and marginalized in everyday lives, but especially with regards to tangible economic and employment opportunities. This project addressed this directly, and established a model which can be replicated by other organizations in the region, and beyond.

Conclusion: The apprenticeship program was able to empower the apprentice to provide for her basic social amenities and counter the irrational thoughts and stereotypes that people say, “CBOW can never do anything productive.” This is a trans-generational trauma that CBOWs have incurred through their parents while in captivity, however Stella (apprentice) is here as a shining example and is able to support not only herself, but her family as well through this program/project.

Summary: YOLRED is an organisation that supports former child soldiers, child mothers, persons with disabilities, and other war-affected communities to obtain a better future through skills development, capacity building, and training to access information on fair justice, agriculture, land rights, and livelihood opportunities. This pilot apprenticeship project created opportunities for socio economic empowerment, professional development and livelihood training to a child born of war. Activities during the course of the project included training the apprentice in administrative and secretarial work including a two-year training in records and information management leading to a certification from the East African Institute for Management Sciences, providing the apprentice with a salary and benefits, psychosocial counseling and family/home support.

The pilot program derived from this project has been instrumental in being able to empower the apprentice to provide for her own basic social amenities and counter the discrimination and stereotypes held against children born of war. As an administrative assistant, the apprentice has been able to achieve an improvement of communication and interpersonal relationships, self-esteem, decision-making and problem-solving skills, and socio-economic status. The apprentice will sit for her final paper by the Uganda Business Examination Board leading to the award of a National Certificate in Records and Information Systems. This will help her to further her career and empower her to be able to compete favorably with others in this field.