Approximately half of the Afghan population is underemployed or unemployed and one of the greatest challenges is to create jobs and or business opportunities for the nearly 400,000 people entering the labour market each year. This lack of work particularly affects women, who, along with young people, face specific obstacles and barriers to starting new businesses.
For young people living in fragile states, seeking decent employment or entrepreneurial opportunities is an even greater challenge. Demographic pressure in Afghanistan, particularly the ‘youth bulge’, is affecting levels of underemployment and employment. One strategy is enabling young citizens, through entrepreneurship, and with support, to create new business activities, which
enables them to meaningfully engage in their country’s civic and economic affairs.
Entrepreneurship development can come in many forms. However, without adequate support and follow-up, training alone rarely produces the desired results. Even in countries not currently designated as fragile, building and maintaining a business can be challenge, with survival rates of businesses reaching their third birthday ranging from 35% – 50%.
Coaching and follow-up services can play a critical role in aiding entrepreneurs and in particular young entrepreneurs in dealing with the challenges they will inevitably face in starting a new business. This is especially true for young entrepreneurs and women in rural settings where the provisions of business development and business coaching services are even harder to find.
However, it is not always easy to find and access good quality business coaching and in fragile states these services are even scarcer.
The Coaching Programme
The ITCILO, in cooperation with the ILO “Roads to Jobs” project and the Balk Chamber of Commerce, is offering a coaching programme for Youth in Fragile State Settings – Promoting Entrepreneurship. This coaching programme:
• has been designed for the specific context of coaching young entrepreneurs in a rural setting in fragile settings
• is designed to provide a high degree of follow-up and support, with the intention that not only the targeted young entrepreneurs will be more successful in starting and growing their business, but also the coaches will have the opportunity to increase their own business activities by providing high quality and sought after services, promoted through the local chamber of commerce
• addresses gender, with women and men trainers providing the training to the participants and discussing some of the cultural boundaries faced by coaches
• considers the issue of the psychological impact of stress and anxiety facing entrepreneurs living and working in high degrees of risk and uncertainty characterized by the conditions in fragile states
Content and Structure of the Coaching Programme
The programme will consist of three parts: one face-to-face training event in May 2017, followed by a distance-learning component which will last until the end of October, and finally a second face-to-face in November 2017.