The USAID Rwanda Huguka Dukore Akazi Kanoze (HDAK) project provided vulnerable youth with workforce readiness skills through enhanced training by local implementing partners in 25 of 30 districts across Rwanda. In partnership with Education Development Center (EDC) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Connexus improved the ability of private sector firms in Rwanda to engage youth in new jobs and in structured contracts.
At the conclusion of Connexus’ work, HDAK reported that over four years, 4,334 youth (61% female) were linked to agribusiness opportunities; 65% of HDAK participants received a job within six months; 5,780 youth businesses were created; and youth developed partnerships with over 1,300 (60% rural) private companies. With input supplier Holland Greentech (HGT), Connexus helped develop a “last mile entrepreneur” network of 40 youth agents to provide product-related training and sales of HGT agricultural products and services to rural farmers at HGT-sponsored demonstration farms.
Connexus also worked with Rwandan formal finance institutions and CRS savings and internal lending communities to help them engage more than 13,000 additional youth in formal and informal financial services and help youth transition to the formal financial sector. Connexus worked with Rwandan microfinance institutions, RIM and Goshen, to create innovative new finance products targeted to youth to promote savings and business loans. By the end of 2020 more than 8,600 youth (40% female) had saved approximately $3 million and 618 youth entrepreneurs, including 254 young women entrepreneurs, had borrowed approximately $1.46 million to create or expand businesses.