Blog: Tanager finds the “key” to unlocking the potential of youth in Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso, like many countries in the world, is facing a youth employment crisis. 67% of the population is less than 25 years old and there are not nearly enough jobs to provide these young people with a living wage and future prosperity.
Compounding this youth employment problem is a lack of information and education. Although youth, both women and men, show high participation in the informal, entrepreneurial sector, they lack information on access to credit, market opportunities, and access to resources. CULTIVONS L’ESPRIT D’ENTREPRISE (CLE) is a Tanager-led effort to galvanize the entrepreneurial sector for youth in Burkina Faso working to give youth the knowledge and opportunities to allow them to dream big and create financial stability for themselves. Along with our partners in this effort, La Fabrique, Wakatlab, and MediaProd, Tanager is working to make Burkina Faso a viable place for young entrepreneurs.
CLE has two goals: first, to provide job skills and opportunities for young women and men in Burkina Faso; and second, to integrate young women in the job sector to increase their income. To accomplish these goals, CLE works with local partners to increase youth participation in agro-business, street trading, service industries, and renewable energy. These sectors present the best opportunities for young people in the project’s target regions – which include the Cascades, Centre-Nord, Est, Sahel, and the urban regions of Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso.
How does CLE work in practice? CLE’s approach begins with a communication campaign – leveraging social and traditional media – to reach approximately 1.2 million people, including 500,000 young people and women in the targeted regions. This phase casts a wide net, looking to connect as many young people as possible to the program. Once this phase is complete, the program then selects roughly 2,000 aspiring entrepreneurs and invites them to apply for basic entrepreneurship training. CLE then develops training sessions followed by ideation camps to generate, develop, and evaluate trainee ideas. From the 1,500-2000 young people invited to the camp, CLE then chooses the best 100. From these 100 ideas, 25 are then selected for full support. These young people will benefit from technical and strategic support, join a network of entrepreneurs, and access to additional grants in the form of seed funds to launch and develop their businesses.
Tanager has worked in the youth employment and entrepreneurship space before, most notably in Columbia. However, CLE is unique in our portfolio as it brings the full power of social media to reach youth where they ‘live’ – online! From our experience working with young people in Burkina Faso, we know that there is a huge desire to start their own businesses and transform their country. We are proud to be a part of their journey towards prosperity.