Transition from unemployment to supporting family – new jobs in processing agricultural products in Ethiopia

Published: Sep 5, 2023 Reading time: 3 minutes
Transition from unemployment to supporting family – new jobs in processing agricultural products in Ethiopia
© Photo: Tereza Hronova, Mihiret Wasihun

A lack of job opportunities is one of the biggest challenges in Ethiopia. Together with the Czech Development Agency, we support job creation in agriculture processing. College students in Aleta Wondo are employed in newly established enterprises, such as Ghion Candles and Danchoma Juice.

Aschalew Tesfaye was an unemployed youth living in Ethiopia until he got the chance to attend a training course, which filled him with hope and energy for his future. Aschalew, with 4 team members, took a short agricultural product processing course from Aleta Wondo Vocational Training College. The training covered avocado oil production, coffee roasting, juice extraction, and beeswax candle production. The training taught young people new skills and supercharged their creativity.

Aschalew is now the coordinator of the Ghion Candles Association, established in 2023. He spends time leading and coordinating the association's daily business. In their workshop, they produce 2-3 thousand candles daily. They purchase bees wax from the local community. They supply various candles and a locally known as "tuaf", usually used for church rituals. Their customers are small merchants and churches in Aleta Wondo. At PIN, we donated a candle moulding machine and office equipment to the association. Additionally, Aschalew created his own moulding machine.

Aschalew and his team completed a business competition to be awarded a PIN grant. The Aleta Wondo TVET college arranged a workshop place. After eight months of hard work, Aschalew and his team secured a monthly income of 3000 Birr (€50) for each team member. They save 5000 Birr (€84) monthly at the association level.

Aschalew and his team aspire to expand their small business into a potentially significant industry. The community and government have acknowledged their efforts and invited them to share their experience. Aschalew is proud to say they started sharing their knowledge and experiences with 40 unemployed youths from different Woredas and wanted to start their own associations. Aschalew is also very happy. His life has been transformed; he has gone from an unemployed youth to a supporting son to his mother.

"75 youths were trained in two rounds. And after the training, they established enterprises. PIN provided equipment. The project helped the unemployed youth to engage themselves in job creation and transformed them into entrepreneurs," says Tagese Mamo, coordinator of the Aleta Wondo TVET College Agro-processing Department.

We also distributed seedlings to local farmers and donated tools and equipment necessary to deliver the agro-processing training in this TVET college, alleviating the squeeze on limited training equipment.

Aschalew is not the only Ethiopian youth transforming his life with our support. Biskut Bogale and her friend Denchuma founded another business preparing juice. Biskut (20)and her 4 friends got a chance at skills training and undertook a one-month juice-making course. Then they formed a group, started their own business eight months ago and named it "Denchuma".

We donated the necessary equipment to prepare juice, such as an oven, juice maker, shelves, and generator, and the town's job creation office arranged a place for them to work. Now they make juice and have also added fast foods and hot drinks such as tea and coffee to their work.

The skills training gave unemployed youths vital job creation skills and equipped them with the knowledge to motivate them to start their own businesses. The project is funded by the Czech Development Agency.

Autor: Hassina Ousman, PIN

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