Formulation of the EU-funded Empowerment of Disadvantaged Youth and Women in Vulnerable Situations project
On 3 January 2023, CANGO, alongside various stakeholders attended a consultation workshop on the formulation of the EU funded Empowerment of Disadvantaged Youth and Women in Vulnerable Situations project. A significant percentage of young people in Eswatini, both men and women, are unemployed, including those who have graduated from the national Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system. Social and economic exclusion is entrenched in the economy, which makes it extremely difficult for the population to improve their lives. With a majority of people living below the poverty line (almost 70% in rural areas), most people are socially and economically excluded, which also affects their ability to access government services.
Poverty is also associated with the high burden of communicable diseases. Furthermore, the HIV/AIDS prevalence of 31 per cent of the population remains the highest in the world. High dropout rates for boys and girls at secondary school level affects their future employment, income, health, and social prospects. Children from rural areas and girls in general are more vulnerable where 18% of girls drop out of primary school and 35% of girls drop out of junior secondary school due to unplanned pregnancies. High vulnerability to natural disasters and economic shocks also undermines economic growth and contributes to poverty and economic inequalities.
Vulnerability to drought, in the context of heavy reliance on smallholder agriculture, is in particular associated with high incidences of food insecurity. In this regard the role of local government, the private sector and CSO stakeholders, who have extensive experience in this field, cannot be over emphasized as potential partners in addressing youth vulnerabilities in Eswatini. With support from the EU Delegation to Eswatini, the International Consulting Expertise (ICE) team is undertaking to formulate a project under the EU-Eswatini Multi Indicative Programme (MIP) 2021-2027 and to develop specific Action Plans for approval by the EU.
This half-day meeting is expected to foster project ownership and collaboration among national stakeholders and accelerate implementation of project activities to support empowerment of disadvantaged youth and women in vulnerable situations in Eswatini.