YouLead Beneficiaries upon completion of technical training in mushroom production

The YouLead Project

The YouLead Project provides youth with valuable skills & technical training, inspiring them to take action & bring about change by becoming involved in environmentally sustainable employment and entrepreneurship in the natural resource sectors of agriculture, forestry, aquaculture and eco–tourism.

The Youth Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Access and Development (YouLead) project is a five–year capacity building initiative, established in 2014 with the aim of promoting environmentally sustainable and market driven employment and entrepreneurship for young women and men in Cross River State. Funding for the YouLead project is provided by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada.

The project seeks to reduce youth unemployment by improving entrepreneurial and labour force capacities of young women and men, as well as the policies, regulations and enabling environment required to create jobs and economic opportunities in the natural resource sectors of Cross River State.

Ultimate Outcome

Enhanced sustainable economic growth and prosperity for women, men and children in NR sectors in 18 Local Government Areas in Cross River State.

Targets for Cross River

  • To train 12,000 young women and men in entrepreneurship by the end of January 2019.
  • To create 4,500 youth–owned micro and small scale businesses by 2019.
  • To expand 500 existing micro and small scale businesses by 2019.

Project Duration

February 2014 to January 2019

How We Work

YouLead provides technical assistance using Canadian and Nigerian professionals and working with local partners to support natural resource value chains, helps provide access to markets, and identifies alternative and additional business opportunities for young women and men producers. It also builds the capacity of micro and small enterprises to scale–up and ensure fair process and better working conditions for youth and provides that the appropriate policies and enabling environment are established.

Gender Equality and Social Inclusion

YouLead recognises gender equality as integral in achieving sustainable economic growth for women men and children; the project works to reduce gender inequalities in access to, control over, and benefits from, natural resources while advancing young women’s equal participation with young men as decision–makers in natural resource management.

Environmental Protection and Sustainability

The YouLead project recognises the vulnerability of the natural environment in CRS such as deforestation, gully erosion, bush fires, biodiversity loss, and depletion of forest resources. Therefore, environmental considerations are important to incorporate in YouLead to ensure that partner activities and youth–led businesses do not have a negative environmental impact.

Training of Trainers Workshop

What We Do

Empowering youth, CSO partners, training organizations and private sector partners, through information, activities and technical support, the YouLead project is a collaboration of people working together towards a common goal … promoting “Green Jobs in a Green Economy”.

1: Developing Young Entrepreneurs

YouLead project promotes increased equitable participation of young women and men in entrepreneurship and associated economic activities in targeted natural resource sectors through providing capacity building trainings.

This will result in:

  • Increased equitable participation of young women and men in entrepreneurship in targeted natural resource sectors.
  • Enhanced institutional competencies of civil society organisations for better delivery of entrepreneurship training to aspiring young entrepreneurs.
  • Mobile training teams established that deliver entrepreneurship training in all 18 LGAs.
  • Community extension volunteers who are engaged to provide young entrepreneurs with skills on new production methods and business development.
  • Improved capacity of Youth Resource Centres that provide information on the labour market, job counselling and placement services for young job seekers and undertake outreach with the private sector.

2: Improving Access to Finance

The YouLead project is enhancing equitable access to finance for young women and men in Cross River State by strengthening the capacity of selected micro finance banks to develop youth friendly, gender responsive and environmentally responsible financial products and services for new and expanded youth–led enterprises.

This will result in:

  • Credit linkages between youth and microfinance banks.
  • increased knowledge and awareness among youth, on available financial products and services.
  • Improved capacity of microfinance banks to deliver more appropriate and cost effective financial products and services to youth.
  • Start–up funding for youth–entrepreneurs who demonstrate their potential to communities, banks and investors, through the Youth Entrepreneurship Business Support Plan (YEBSP).
  • Improved access to finance for youth through policy discussion by the Access to Finance Task Force.

3: Strengthening Policies on Natural Resource Management

The YouLead project strengthens the implementation of sustainable Natural Resources Management policies by local and state institutions, civil society organisations and the private sector in Cross River State, through the creation of “Green Jobs in a Green Economy” framework.

This will result in:

  • More responsive implementation of Natural Resources Management policies and practices by local and state institutions, civil society organizations and the private sector in Cross River State.
  • Increased knowledge among state institutions, civil society organisations and communities to develop policies, regulations, and approaches for implementation of a “Green Jobs in a Green Economy” framework.
  • Enhanced capacity of the State Planning Commission to coordinate policy development on “Green Jobs in a Green Economy” with relevant Ministries, Departments, and Agencies.