ZOMBO. The Agency For Accelerated Regional Development -AFARD and Self Help Africa, NGOs working towards youth empowerment have phased out the three-year Maracha, Nebbi, Zombo (Manzo) youth empowerment project (Mayep) amidst testimonies from beneficiaries.

The project funded by the European Union to the tune of shs3 billion sought to create livelihood employment opportunities for the youth in the agricultural value chain.
The project's catchment areas included Maracha, Nebbi, and Zombo where the 3000 youth beneficiaries were trained.

The beneficiaries were trained from various agricultural colleges in the region with practical skills in horticulture and piggery.

Ms. Grace Freedom Kwiyocwiny, the minister of state for Northern Uganda who spoke at the project's closing ceremony held at GAF hotel in Nebbi municipal council on Thursday commended AFARD and Self help Africa for thinking of training the youth with good agronomic practices which will go a long way to eradicate poverty among the youth.

Kwiyocwiny implored the beneficiaries to form groups in a bid to benefit from government programs like the youth livelihood fund among others.

"I want to thank you for supplementing government efforts in poverty reduction among the youth and I want you to make follow up to ensure the beneficiaries form groups so as to get government support," Kwiyocwiny advised.

She urged AFARD and Self Help Africa to value transparency for their programs to meet their intended goals.

Ms Grace Freedom Kwiyocwiny 02 02 19Ms Grace Freedom Kwiyocwiny, the minister of state for Northern Uganda.

Mr. Kevin Ibgorok, the director Self-help Africa said they are committed to supporting smallholder farmers to increase productivity, nutritional and food security.

He said the closure of the Mayep- program is a recommitment for continuous monitoring of the activities of the beneficiaries.

"We are closing but it is not getting to an end completely because this is ceremonious and besides that, we shall continue to monitor these beneficiaries to ensure they are practicing what they learned," he said.

Ingorok said the project seeks to encourage the youth to take agriculture as a business so that it becomes their source of employment and income.

Ms. Catherine Adowa, the project manager said they went low to engage the beneficiaries in their enterprise selections without imposing on them.

She said building the capacity of the beneficiaries was instrumental in seeing the project succeed.

"We have left the beneficiaries with practical skills which is a sustainable strategy the project has imparted in the youth," she said.

Two of the beneficiaries from Maracha gave their success stories counting acquisition of property and regular income they are realizing from agricultural skills imparted into them under Mayep.

Under the 3-year Mayep project, the youth acquired skills in horticulture and piggery and were given start-up kits to enable go hands on.