RESET PLUS Youth Empowerment for Successful Transition to Decent Work in Amhara and Somali Regions of Ethiopia



Youth employment presents a particular challenge to Ethiopia; 25 million people are between 15 and 29 years-old, a figure that is expected to grow to over 35 million in the next 20 years (CSA, 2016). The economy will need to produce approximately 2 million new jobs per year to keep the pace of this growing young workforce. New job creation is currently well below this. The country faces growing youth landlessness in rural areas and insignificant rural job creation. This leads to an increase in migration to urban areas (World Bank, 2007) and outside of the country, and can trigger social instability. This, combined with practical challenges of moving to urban areas from poorer rural areas, presents particular barriers for youth employment and economic development. Ethiopia is at risk of not being able to harvest a demographic dividend from its youth bulge.  Youth unemployment therefore is a significant socio-economic challenge in Ethiopia that has been recognized and prioritized by the Government of Ethiopia and development partners.

Description of Operational Area

The project is implemented in eight (8) woredas: four (4) woredas in Sitti zone of Somali region and four (4) woredas in Waghimra Zone of Amhara region. In the two zones, youth face many of these challenges. Among them are:

  • continuous rural and urban poverty and rural communities heavily dependent on the PSNP supports
  • higher levels of landless populations and many youth transitioning out of pastoralism and agriculture
  • vulnerable to frequent droughts of increasing intensity
  • high level of unsafe migration, with particular vulnerabilities for young women and girls who move to target domestic work 
  • strong cultural barriers against wage employment and lack of skills keep permanently migrating to urban areas despite strong job growth in nearby cities such as Dire Dawa, Jigjiga, Dessie, Kombolcha, Mekele and Bahir Dar
  • Low levels of education and skills, and cultural and practical barriers to certain types of employment 

Consortium Lead, Implementing Partners and Other Stakeholders 

The project is implemented in consortium and Save the Children is the lead agency. 

  • SC Funding Office:  Italy
  • Lead Implementing Office: Ethiopia Country office

Key external stakeholders include:

  • Parents, families, and community and opinion leaders
  • Vulnerable youth from targeted areas who are interested in gaining skills and seeking wage-based employment inside or outside of their communities  
  • Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) institutions which could adopt work readiness approaches or provide additional, relevant training opportunities for youth
  • The private sector, including job brokers  
  • Various public sector entities including but not limited to woredas and zonal administrations, the Bureaus of Women, Children and Youth Affairs, Labour and Social Affairs, Bureau of Agriculture that implement the Rural Job Opportunities Creation (RJOC) initiative and Micro finance institutions

Project Goal and Objective

Goal/ purpose: to Contribute for youth Empowerment for Successful Transitions to Decent work in Amhara and Somali Regions of Ethiopia

Impact:the action will support vulnerable young men and women (aged 15-29) in the operation areas to successfully transition to decent jobs.

Objective: Targeted vulnerable young men and women are better prepared with relevant skills to access safer and un-discriminatory wage based employment opportunities

Major Anticipated Outcomes 

  • 9000 young women and men improve their economic opportunities.
  • 3500+ young women and men transition to decent, wage-based work. 
  • 9000 young women and men improve their assets and improve their financial literacy.
  • Community attitudes change positively towards wage employment in ‘market-sheds’. 
  • 3500+ young women and men benefit from increased access to entry-level work opportunities including on-the-job training and mentoring mechanisms. 
  • Increased private and public sector participation in supporting transition to work in urban areas.
  • Improved transparency and functioning of the job market. 

Guiding Principles 

  • Private Public Partnerships (PPP): Active engagement and contribution of pertinent stakeholders in both public and private sectors
  • Achieving Scale: The Action will bring multiple actors to work in a coordinated manner to ensure efficiency and bring desired outcomes
  • Adaptive management: The Action will learn from its implementation phase and where appropriate take timely corrective measures to improve quality of implementation through continuous learning process. 
  • Innovation and Learning to Achieve Impact: 
  • TheConsortium will develop information gathering systems (inception phase assessments, regular monitoring, and operations research) that are dynamic, adaptable, and flexible. 
  • Coordination and complementarity: Integrating/complementing the action with existing Government and private sector programs and strategies is an important element for success.
  • Gender Integration: The initial information provided disaggregates differences among migratory patterns of girls and boys, women and men.  


Unemployed and underemployed young men and women (aged 15-29) from eight woredas of Sitti and Wag Himra Zones will be the target groups of this action. Landless youth, school dropouts, out-of-school youth, some unemployed TVET graduates, any returned migrants, and violence-affected youth will be the focus of this action. 

The project beneficiaries will be poor and marginalised youth from rural kebeles (villages), and all have in common the interest/openness to migrate within Ethiopia for economic reasons. Overall, 9,000 marginalized youth aged between 15 and 29 will be targeted by this project (50% each for both operational areas). Out of the total targeted beneficiaries:

  • 3,500 male and female young adults (aged 18-29 years old) to transition to wage employment livelihoods- mostly in urban, ‘receiving’ areas. 
  • 5500 youth, of whom 2250 adolescents between 15-17 years old, 3250 youths of age 18-29 years old will build skills and assets by accessing youth economic empowerment services including resilience building sessions, relevant life skill trainings packages and services 

Systems/Structures: the project proposes close coordination and leveraging with multiple formal and informal systems and structures. This will allow for longer-term sustainability and continuation of many of the pilot systems implemented and validated through this project. The following are some of the main systems and structures that will play important roles in the project:

  • TVETs and training institutes, which will provide training opportunities for some youth and scale-up the work readiness curricula to produce more employment-ready youth.
  • Public-Private Partnerships to facilitate opportunities for more youth to access jobs.
  • Effective mechanisms for young people to connect with peers and increase knowledge of job and training opportunities to facilitate their transition to work. These will be delivered through the One Stop services and implemented with the support of relevant Government structures.
  • Engagement and support to the program by community and opinion leaders to support the project and create more favourable household/community attitudes towards wage-based employment.
  • The establishment of local government-coordinated collaboration and dialogue forums on youth employment and empowerment.  

Donor and Funding

  • Donor: The European Commission's -International cooperation and Development /EC DEVCO/, 90% of the fund is donated by EC-DEVCO with 10% matching fund from implementing agencies.  

Consortium members: Organization for Rehabilitation and Development in Amhara (ORDA), United Society for Sustainable Development (UNISOD) and Oxfam