“Life is never easy growing up during the civil war, but with STRYDE, I managed to create and grow my business. My future is brighter!”
– Rose, a young refugee from northern Uganda and participant in the STRYDE program
For 50 years, TechnoServe has enabled many resilient young people like Rose to achieve their entrepreneurial aspirations. Our organization, the Mastercard Foundation, has partnered with TechnoServe since 2011 in East Africa on the Strengthening Rural Youth Development Through Enterprise (STRYDE) program. In that time, the program has equipped 55,000 young men and women with the skills they need to transition into dignified employment or start small businesses, primarily in agriculture. I am especially proud that, through this collaboration, we have helped some of the most vulnerable youth, particularly rural young women, as well as young refugees and prison inmates.
Many young people have shared with us how STRYDE has brought “light into the darkness.”
Francis Kihara, a young man from Kenya, pointed to the new carpentry skills he acquired while in prison as well as the business and savings training he received through STRYDE. When he was released from prison, Francis started a motorcycle taxi business and subsequently invested his profits in poultry. After six months, he was able to save enough to build his own house using the carpentry skills he learned in prison. His life was transformed.
The benefits of programs like STRYDE go beyond those who participate. Young STRYDE graduates are giving back and transforming their communities. For example, one brick-maker, Gloriose Nduwayezu in Rwanda, now employs 40 people. Steven Kazungu, chairman of an agricultural cooperative formed in Rwanda during STRYDE training, is enabling others to access funding that will change their lives. “Fifty young people accessed funding from the business plans I wrote for them. I am also teaching them,” Steven told us.
An initiative that started as a skills training program has since evolved into something more powerful. It is strengthening local institutions and communities. This results in sustainable, positive impact on the lives of young people. To date, 85 local organizations are delivering the STRYDE curriculum in Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya. In Kenya, the Nyeri county government has fully funded and is conducting the STRYDE training in 32 new institutions. This is just one example of how STRYDE continues to grow.
The STRYDE program’s impact goes beyond a job or a business. In TechnoServe, we found a partner who shares our belief that a steady, stable income can transform a young person’s perspective. Now, they can dream and have aspirations for their future.
Congratulations, TechnoServe, on your 50th anniversary. We wish you much success and impact in the future.