Want to go far? Move together

For some, international development might be principally connected to NGOs, foundations and missionary organizations. It is only half of the truth, as private sector players are more and more present in current day development interventions. The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development explicitly mentions the private sector as one of the key partners, and so do the Paris agreement to combat climate change, the strategic plan of USAID, and multiple EU policy documents.

This trend is also reflected in the Foreign Policy of the Dutch government. The government chooses to explicitly seek coherence between their development policy and foreign trade policy. Accompanied by the motto ‘from aid to trade’, development programs are challenged to involve private sector players and to create a win-win between poverty eradication, sustainable growth and prosperous development of Dutch businesses worldwide.

In Uganda, EyeOpenerWorks was and is involved in multiple of these development programs, through its Creative Monitoring and Evaluation services. In these, we often come across valuable partnerships with private sector players. For the Agri Skills 4 You program, coordinated by the Dutch ICCO, we specifically looked into the impact of private sector engagement. Based on a qualitative study of 29 written Stories of Change, EyeOpenerWorks concluded that private sector players positively contributed to skilling thousands of youth and farmers in agriculture. And, by that, to the program objective of realizing increased income and improved food security for rural households in Northern Uganda. EyeOpenerWorks documented three of the most compelling stories in this documentary.

At the moment, the Dutch funded Skilling Youth in Agribusiness (SKY) project of AVSI Foundation is also realizing its ambition to skill 8,000 Ugandan youth through close collaboration with private sector players. In the first year of the project, already 18 larger agribusinesses were linked to the SKY project. All of them took up youth into their skilling programs, and some are even aiming to employ up to hundreds of youth. AVSI Foundation deliberately chooses to involve these organizations, because they form a direct link to the labor market and enable the project to skill youth by using state-of-the-art, relevant practices.

If the impact of SKY will indeed be achieved by involving the private sector, will be closely monitored. For the SKY project, EyeOpenerWorks has designed an M&E system consisting of three pillars: mobile reporting, video documentation, and an online results platform. Through these tools, the results of the SKY project are visualized and accessible in one single click. Follow the progress on www.avsi-skyresults.com to discover how far the SKY project reaches by moving together with the private sector.