Offering yongsters perspective in difficult environments

By Marten Groen

Copywriter at Wilde Ganzen.

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Burkina Faso, a country in West Africa, is facing a series of serious problems that have a huge impact on both the population and the stability of the country. There is limited business activity, making it difficult for young people to find internships and work. Yet there are projects that offer perspective, such as this one. 

In the town of Ouahigouya, Devéloppement Sans Frontière (DSF) has set up a start-up centre for young entrepreneurs at their vocational school. It is an innovative project that came about after extensive consultations between DSF and the Dutch WOL Foundation. Since closing the gap between graduation and the labour market is a long-term issue, Wilde Ganzen is supporting this fine project for three years.  

Much needed because in Burkina Faso, 65% of the population is under 25. That is a lot of young people who often had a general education with which they hope to be admitted to government training, so that they can become a civil servant. There are now so many young people with a general education diploma that the civil service is saturated. Young people with vocational training, on the other hand, are few in number. Local businesses are often unable to provide proper training for these young people. And young people lack sufficient skills and financial resources to set up legal and viable businesses themselves.  

Teaching entrepreneurship and leadership 

The start-up centre set up employs teachers trained in entrepreneurship. They pass on their knowledge to young people and guide students in setting up their own businesses. In 2022, the first year of this centre, 20 out of 26 students successfully completed the training. These young people all already had jobs (often thanks to their training at the vocational school) and came to the centre several days a month to be taught entrepreneurship, leadership, accounting, communication and marketing. 

All 20 graduates are in the process of starting their own businesses and have applied for microcredit. This year, they will be guided in setting up their businesses. The aim is to eventually set up at least 75 viable businesses and help at least 150 young people into decent work.   

Young people enthusiastically seize opportunities 

In that way, this project is already partially demonstrating that it is possible to offer young people the prospect of good jobs, even in a complicated country like Burkina Faso. With the right knowledge, guidance and some financial help, one can see that young people enthusiastically seize the opportunities that are available. Another great thing is that the partners involved have already thought about how this project should continue after the agreed three years. The start-up centre will then become a general part of the vocational school in Ouahigouya.   

 A sustainable and innovative project, providing dignified work and economic growth: that’s what we at Wilde Ganzen are happy to support!