Invisible lives: Understanding youth livelihoods in Ghana and Uganda
This report (PDF) by the Mastercard Foundation creates an understanding of livelihoods, cash flows, and the nature of rural work of young people (18-24 years) in Uganda and Ghana. It was found that young people have diverse livelihoods. Both young Ghanaians and Ugandans undertake a mix of informal sector employment, self-employment and agriculture-related activities to sustain their livelihoods. Agricultural production is central to rural young people’s livelihoods, but agricultural incomes were meager. Both formal and informal wage employment is rare and sporadic, or elusive. Entrepreneurship and self-employment remains an important economic activity in both countries. The businesses that young people did engage in were characterized as patchwork, and pursued in reaction to various immediate opportunities. This research confirmed that support networks play an extensive role in young people’s lives, not only providing support in the form of advice, but also proving instrumental in accessing financial resources needed. The research found that mixed livelihoods allow for risk mitigation and help to maximize young people’s economic opportunities within vulnerable geographic areas. Mixed livelihoods are therefore a logical choice and may be the most economically viable course of action for many disadvantaged rural young people in Africa. The report suggests that the reality of young people’s mixed livelihoods may have implications for programmatic approaches that emphasize or encourage specialization in a particular skill or crop.