The African Development Youth Group is a local initiative in Butebo Parish in Northern Uganda. It was founded after the Afrinspire's Young Leader's Conference in Mbarara in 2014 and a successful application for a small grant from the Young Leaders Fund. The Group aims to equip local youths with employable skills to help them raise themselves out of poverty.
In May 2015, the group carried out its first training session which taught twenty one local participants how to row mushrooms. They also learnt enterprise skills such as how to package, brand and market their crop. Overall, the programme was a success with 44 out of the 84 planted gardens maturing. Approximately 10kg of mushrooms are currently being harvested from the gardens per week. A garden is actually an indoor space in the dark! New groups who are keen to learn the same skills have also been identified, and there are plans to deliver training sessions to them.
The programme ran into a few challenges but worked to overcome them. One initial hurdle was that some of the targeted young people weren't interested in learning at first, but when they saw the results of the programme they changed their minds and came back!
The ADYG now hopes to scale up its programme to train many more youths in the area, and to link the programme to entrepreneurship groups in schools. The ultimate goal is job creation for unemployed youths and once the growers have some income from mushrooms they can invest in other crops and move up the production chain.