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DREAMS program to chart economic pathway for local young women, new Labour Market Assessment shows

DREAMS program to chart economic pathway for local young women, new Labour Market Assessment shows

By Clifton Movirongo.

The U.S. government-funded DREAMS program, in unison with the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service this week launched a Labour Market Assessment Report which identifies economic growth sectors, and occupational and entrepreneurship opportunities for adolescent girls and young women in the country.

According to the U.S. Embassy, the report is critical to charting an economic pathway for young women as the assessment identifies seven economic growth sectors in the districts where DREAMS is implemented including wholesale and retail trade, artisanal sectors, and information technology, and hospitality.

“The report also points out specific occupations within each sector as potential employment and self-employment avenues for young women,” said Walter Parrs, the U.S. Embassy’s spokesperson.

DREAMS (Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored and Safe) program is funded by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to keep young women from HIV-free and empower them socially as well as economically.

At the launch, the USAID Country Representative, McDonald Homer, stressed that economic disparity related to gender inequality is an ongoing and complex driver of HIV.

“Implementing robust and evidence-based economic strengthening interventions is a priority for DREAMS to strengthen young women’s self-efficacy and decision-making power in relationships and to decrease their reliance on transactional sex,” said Homer, adding that “this labour market assessment report contributes positively to meeting the economic and development needs of young women.”

According to the 2018 Labour Force Survey, Namibia’s unemployment rate stood at 33.4% with a youth unemployment rate of 46.1% — the average of 43% unemployed young men and 48.5% unemployed young women.

“Guided by the assessment, the DREAMS program offers financial literacy education, skills, vocational and entrepreneurship training, linkages to internships and employment, as well as business starter kits for women entrepreneurs,” Parrs added.

“These interventions are now additionally informed by the Labour Market Assessment commissioned by Project Hope Namibia who is implementing DREAMS together with ACHIEVE.”

Since 2021, the program has supported over 560 adolescent girls and young women to complete vocational training, linked 245 of them to internships and wage employment, and provided 148 with entrepreneurial start-up kits.

USAID Country Representative Dr McDonald Homer (left) and Deputy Minister of Sport, Youth and National Services, Hon. Emma Kantema Gaomas (right), together with DREAMS Entrepreneur Klaudia Kashikuka Ndeshipewa (centre) launching the new Labor Market Assessment Report.


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