Embassy of the United States of America, Niger
For immediate release March 30, 2022
USAID Launches Youth-Focused Program
Niamey – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched the Youth Connect Activity, locally known as “Sa’a Matasa”. Youth Connect is a five-year program that will support young people in the Tillaberi and Maradi regions of Niger. The goal of this program is to help young people to achieve their potential through technical and soft skills training, career coaching, business development support, financial services, and opportunities to engage with local government officials to advocate for their own development needs.
The challenges are multifold: lack of access to quality education, few economic opportunities, and systemic exclusion from community life combine to push youth to the fringes of society. Youth Connect is based on the premise that when young people are equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to economically contribute to their communities, their livelihoods will improve and social cohesion within their communities will be strengthened.
The USAID-funded $26.6 million program in Niger will equip youth with relevant market skills to prepare them for livelihoods, provide them with access to education and income-generating opportunities, and actively engage them with local governance structures to advocate for their own development needs.
At the launch event, Mr. Jim Barnhart, USAID’s Assistant to the Administrator for the Bureau for Resilience and Food Security stated, “All of us here are betting on a better future. We are choosing to provide tailored and inclusive support to the needs of young people in Niger. This program will help more than 48,000 young people. It will facilitate their access to economic opportunities through customized technical training, connection to finance structures, and better access to markets.”
USAID’s Youth Connect starts with youth and puts youth at the center of the program, ensuring their aspirations and motivations are captured and understood.