Finnish Diploma for Entrepreneurs provides paths to self-employment

In 2017 Omnia Education Partnerships and Finn Church Aid began an ambitious program in Uganda. The aim was to help refugees to become skillful entrepreneurs and prove that TVET has an impact. First, a selected group of Ugandan completed the Finnish Further Qualification for Entrepreneurs while they were also trained to be trainers. The program was funded by UNHCR.

Many of these trainers have now established their own companies and eight of them work for Finn Church Aid in various projects. From summer 2018 to spring 2019, the Ugandan trainers continued to train 60 participants; 40 were refugees and 20 Ugandans. The program was a success. A total of 32 participants received the Finnish Further Qualification for Entrepreneurs and 77% of the participants (44/60) are now self-employed. In addition, five graduates have already hired workforce.

One of the success stories is the story of Ruth Faraja. She is a Congolese refugee, aged 23, who left Congo due to insecurity. She trained at the Finn Church Aid Training Centre in 2015-2016 in a horticulture program. After the training, Ruth started to grow vegetables for sale. Later she enrolled for the entrepreneurship program where she gained more skills in business. With this knowledge, Ruth decided to put her savings from agribusiness into the tailoring business that is very marketable at the settlement. She bought two sewing machines and hired two FCA graduates to work for her.

She has managed to invest in two more sewing machines and now has four. She employs two FCA graduates to work for her and rents out the other two machines. This has greatly improved her income and life at large. She can now support her sick mother with medication and her other siblings with school fees and basic needs. She is also able to save up some money for herself to expand her business. She is also able to change the lives of her fellow graduates as they earn by working for her in her workshop.