Reframing TVET to capacitate youth for employment in Botswana


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Institution: Young Africa Botswana

Botswana struggles to produce high levels of skilled and productive manpower. Human resources development in the country is inadequate and there is a lack of specialized skills; declining learner performance; inconsistencies in skills demand and supply, and little or no synergy between industry practices and training institutions.

Young Africa Botswana (YAB) is an affiliate of Young Africa, registered as an NGO in 2016. Young Africa was established to tackle youth unemployment in Southern Africa and is operating in six countries throughout the SADC Region. In 2017, Young Africa received the award of Most Promising TVET Practices from UNESCO-UNEVOC and, in 2018, Young Africa was a runner up for the Pan Africa Award in Entrepreneurship.

YAB trains young Batswana to create jobs for themselves in the Tourism and Hospitality industry. The combination of vocational training, entrepreneurship development and life skills education underpin the overall intentions of the programme. YAB’s operations are governed by a local board and financed through rentals of vocational training departments to local entrepreneurs. 


Good Practice Approach

YAB’s approach includes TVET and life skills training, and entrepreneurial skills development. Like all affiliates of Young Africa, YAB’s training centre achieves financial sustainability through the Young African Franchise Model, whereby vocational training departments are rented out to local entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs deliver paid courses to our students and mentor them, while running their businesses on-site, in order to remunerate Young Africa Botswana for the facilities they use. This income contributes to the operational expenditure of the training centre. 

The approach includes:

  • providing youth with the space to develop their talents and innovation skills, inspiring their interest and passion as these are key elements to having successful careers

  • investing in the development and production of high quality local arts and crafts to aid job creation efforts, in line with current Pan African endeavours to create regional chains and enter international markets

  • Entrusting young entrepreneurs  with leading projects and campaigns from inception and mentoring them to run our organisation

  • Focusing on imparting soft and entrepreneurial skills in every aspect of our work


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Key Results
  • This is the first collaboration of this magnitude between the government and civil society in Botswana, with YAB being tasked with revamping the three most relevant governmental projects aimed at youth empowerment.

  • In it's first year, YAB trained 75 students through empowerment workshops

  • YAB provided internships to nine graduates; six of them found employment after six months.

  • Maintaining a close relationship with our donors and international partners that goes beyond reporting, in which we continuously work together to ensure the success of the project .

  • Beyond our core work of training, we successfully invested time  in positioning our organization as a bridge between the most relevant partners and decision makers, including the government, corporate organisations international donors, the University of Botswana, the community and the media.

Lessons Learnt (Success Factors & Challenges)

Challenges include

  • Ongoing distrust and a lack of collaboration amongst NGOs  in the region

  • Donors who support the training side of the programmes because they are interested in newsworthy statistical changes but are not willing to pay for operational costs and overheads nor sustained advocacy.

  • Being passionate about our work and being pioneers, the expectations are beyond our capacity in a high intensity environment, which can lead to disappointment and failure.


Success factors include

  • Acknowledging and balancing the two primary components of the youth unemployment task in Botswana: long-term advocacy and development efforts versus the training of the students.

  • Identifying and including young local entrepreneurs to manage projects from inception, giving them the platform to learn about, and gradually take over to expand our work.

  • Integrating soft skills training and application through every element of our work: training, mentoring of the students as well as of the running of the organization.

  • Learning to share and delegate, impart lessons and constantly strive to make bridges among the relevant partners



In light of the fact that there has never been an NGO/Government partnership of this magnitude in the country, there is a need to sustain the listed success factors, while unrelentingly seeking further funding and acceleration of exposure and experience through shared platforms. The following are required:

  • Constant innovation to remain attractive and relevant to the society as a whole, the media and the corporate sector.

  • More attention on capacity building in civil society, on an on-going basis

  • Intensifying and sustaining the collaborative interest of the government and the corporate sector is vital.