UGANDA AMERICAN SKILL FRIENDSHIP TRAINING CENTRE – MAYUGE DISTRICT
The Uganda American Skill Friendship Training Centre (UASFTC) was established in 2014 in Mayuge District. To date the skilling centre in Mayuge is working towards her sustainability in line with the strategic goal of ensuring peace and security. The skilling centre recruits youth through working in allies with community leaders including local council authorities and Imams at community development centres.
The skilling centre enrolls both youth and community leaders for skills enhancement. The enrolled youth are former victims of human trafficking, unemployed youth due to lack of appropriate skills, child mothers and those out of school due to lack of social and economic prospects and relative deprivations resulting from injustice and rising inequalities. The local and radical community leaders including Imams, Madrasah Owners, and Teachers in Madrasah Schools who are identified from potential community development centres in Eastern Uganda. The skilling centre is expanding beyond Mayuge district to serve the eastern region in the districts of Mbale, Tororo, Iganga. The skilling centre has a firm sustainability strategy that provides positive alternatives to formally redundant youth who are potential recruits and susceptible to violent extremism and terrorism practices. The skilling centre supports the rehabilitation and reintegration of former violent extremist offenders.
The skilling centre is one of the reputable skilling centres of Excellency in eastern Uganda. This has been realized through improving her legal operating environment (now registered by the Ministry of Education and Sports under number ME/VOC/231. It is under accreditation with the Uganda Business, Technical and Vocational Examinations Board (UBTEB) and the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT)) to produce skilled human capital at a youth stage for the local market.
UASFTC is currently developing and continuously improving her marketing strategy for its consumable products like well designed and finished clothes, bags, confectionery products and ICT services. In addition to these products and services, from a simple market survey with leaders and community consumers (guardians, parents and youth), they indicated that there was need for introduction of new and more viable (quicker returns) skilling courses in the practical aspects. Since October 2016, the Skilling centre has expanded and provides skills in Welding and Metal Fabrication, Hair dressing and saloon for manicure and pedicure, shoe making and leather tanning, motor vehicle repair and maintenance among others. Basing on feedback from the community, the new courses are also likely to have a shorter payback period in terms of returns for sustainability of the skilling centre in Mayuge. By end of November 2016, over 500 youthful beneficiaries were equipped with different skills.
Among other skills acquired by trainees at the skilling centre include Letter writing, proposal writing, Public speaking and information sharing on reproductive health rights and HIV/AIDS as an integrated part of their life skills. The training centre has scaled up its work and integrated communication skills in Marketing and Sales Promotion, Customer Care, Book Keeping, Records Management and Kiswahili Language, as well as provision of general information on Hygiene and Sanitation.
The skilling centre majorly addresses the causes and drivers of violent radicalization, and develops a common understanding of how Vocational Skills Development and employment promotion can foster resilience to violent extremism. The focus is on aspects such as conflict sensitive targeting, training content and labour market integration in the particular context of an alternative to violent extremism.