Invisible Lives: A Research On Rural Youth Livelihoods In Uganda
On February 16th 2017, The Mastercard Foundation published Invisible Lives; A report to help better understand the main drivers and influences of the behavior, income, and activities of young people in Uganda.
The recent decades of improved economic prosperity have created uneven opportunities for youth across Sub-Saharan Africa. Economic opportunities exist, but formal jobs and waged employment are still largely elusive.
The reality is that few of Africa’s young people currently find wage employment in the formal sector; the vast majority undertake a mix of informal sector employment, self-employment and agriculture-related activities, just like Beatrice. The foundation refers to this combination of livelihood activities as “mixed livelihoods.” This approach to income-generation illustrates the employment and livelihood patterns that many African youth encounter.
The research report: Invisible Lives: Understanding Youth Livelihoods in Ghana and Uganda documents how rural young people pursue “mixed livelihoods” to generate income, combining temporary and seasonal work in the informal and formal sectors by working for themselves and others, in household agricultural production, and on social and reproductive activities, such as cleaning, cooking, and looking after children.
The research was conducted using a diaries approach, whereby young people met regularly with youth researchers over a yearlong period, enabling a more robust longitudinal understanding of livelihoods, cash flows, and the nature of rural work. 240 young people from rural Ghana and Uganda, aged 18-24, took part in the research, illustrating the varied activities that young people undertake to generate income and create livelihoods.
We trust that by utilizing this report and its conclusions, policymakers and development actors can make better-informed decisions on how targeted interventions could improve the lives of millions of Africa’s vulnerable young people. Understanding young people’s daily lives is key to designing realistic, timely and effective interventions.
For more on this, download the report below:
Author (Tricia Williams)