USAID’s Building Potential of Youth’ Activity (POTENTIAL)



USAID’s Building the Potential of Youth’ Activity (POTENTIAL) is a five-year initiative launched in September 2015. The activity is implemented in 30 woredas across Afar, Amhara, Oromia, Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ (SNNP), Somali and Tigray regions in Ethiopian.  

The activity reached approximately 36,000 young, unemployed and under-employed youth aged 15 to 29 with life skill training, coaching, mentoring and social capital building for social and economic empowerment to increase their income and self-reliance. It also builds the capacity of national and local institutions to deliver demand-driven soft and hard skills training. 

Operational Area

The Activity is being implemented in geographically dispersed population based on selected criteria set in consultation with the donor, USAID; these includes: 

•Existence of market opportunities offering youth employment opportunities 

•Availability of technical training and business development service providers, 

•Woreda youth population, their education attainment levels,

•Unemployment or underemployment status of the woreda 

•Existence of SC and partner Activities, and other donor funded interventions, particularly Feed 

            the Future 


Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC)

Facilitator for Change Ethiopia (FC). 

HUNDEE-Oromo Grassroots Development Initiative (HUNDEE), 

Professional Alliance for Development in Ethiopia (PADet), 

Relief Society of Tigray (REST) 


  • To identify and integrate market relevant needs and opportunities through conducting community, labor market and individual assessments. 
  • To provide tailored Transferable Life Skills trainings and enhance the employability of the target youth 
  • To strengthen local service provider networks and youth centers with economic strengthening hubs and connect the youth with government and private sector opportunities. 
  • To Engaging ministries, technical and vocational education and training institutions, small and medium enterprises, and micro finance institutions for coordinated delivery of services. 

Major Outcomes 

•Approximately 36,000 young women and men (47%F) have received Transferable Life Skill 

        Training (TLS) and career guidance. 

•24,360 youth are in new or better employment. 

•73% youth reported better saving habits. 

•Over 35,000 youth obtained coaching support (44%F) 

•1,106 YESGs with more than 10,000 members (51%F). 

•157 formal partnerships formed with public offices including MoWCY, MoE,TVETs, MFIs 

         and private entities with global companies such as PVH and local businesses such as Genesis 


•160 radio programs broad casted reaching communities with tailored messages covering over 

         a million population. 

•A knowledge sharing platform (M4CD) created at YES centers to enhance youth information 

         access and employability. 


Community engagement in POTENTIAL involves working collaboratively with and through the community to address youth unemployment and underemployment. The Activity designed strategies that engaged communities and their representatives at all stages of implementation. 

Pre- training activities 

•Community mobilization / awareness

•Assessment / research  

•Recruitment of local staff / officers, facilitators / 

•Establishing local target selection committee 

•Youth recruitment/Selection 

Training related                     

•Community meetings /e.g. on gender participation / 

•Providing training venue /YES centers/ 

•Providing Transferable Life Skill training 

•Training graduation ceremonies 

•Advisory Service /YESCs/ 

Post-training supports

•Providing technical support through youth facilitators, volunteer mentors / business owners, 

            community leaders etc.

•Providing linkage to material, work- place and financial support 

Consortium lead

Save the Children in Ethiopia 



United States Agency for International Development (USAID)