BUJUMBURA November 8th (ABP) – Skills development training programs must be adapted to take into account the specific constraints women face, to increase the number of women enrolled, maintained in training and obtaining certification, underlined the World Bank (WB) in its document relating to the Grant Agreement for the financing of the Support Project for the Improvement of Skills and Employability of Women and Youth (PACEJ) in Burundi, signed as of August 16, 2021.
According to that international banking institution, the first constraints for women, as regards access to skills development training, are located in the favorable environment where the aspirations of women and decisions relating to their education are dictated and influenced by social norms.
Women also face time constraints because of the household chores they have to perform, and may fear harassment or violence, at training or employment sites, the WB noted.
To overcome these constraints, the WB emphasizes that the project incorporates the best practices established by Africa Gender Innovation Lab. This involves carrying out community awareness campaigns to tackle social norms that limit women’s participation in skills development training and the labor market. It is also about encouraging young girls to enroll in training in sectors traditionally dominated by men by revealing them about wages in those sectors.
Other established best practices are to hire female trainers when possible and to offer trainers bonuses for female students who complete their training, to provide young women with loan constraints with funding access allowing them to engage in entrepreneurial activities, to provide training in socio-emotional skills as well as skills of interest in the labor market, and finally to set up peer groups and create mentoring opportunities for the participants.
The WB pointed out that the PACEJ takes advantage of and complements the skills development and job creation initiatives supported and financed by the partners in Burundi. These include the High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the African Development Bank (AfDB), ENABEL, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, All African Unions (AFU), the European Union (EU) as well as the governments of the Netherlands, Germany and the United States.
UNHCR initiatives and UNHCR-supported programs inform the design of component activities for young refugees, the WB said, adding that the design of the project incorporates several lessons taken from national and international experience in skills development, as well as previous WB experience in that area.
According to that worldwide banking institution, young refugees must be equipped with skills that enable them to make a contribution to host communities. Those skills should also be responsible in the event that young refugees choose to return to their country of origin or travel elsewhere until they find their final destination.
In accordance with best practices, the above-mentioned project responds in an integrated manner to the skills development needs of young people through formal and informal skills development training, and entrepreneurship.
The WB underlined in its document relating to that grant agreement that the project capitalizes on the lessons taken from successful interventions in Burundi and elsewhere to develop the digital skills of young refugees and enable them, as well as young people from the host community, to use ICT to seek training and income generation opportunities.
Recall that this project, which emphasizes innovative skills relevant to the modern world, will be implemented under the auspices of the Ministry of National Education and Scientific Research for a period of 5 years and will be closed on October 30, 2026.