UNDP Pakistan in partnership with SMEDA is helping at-risk youth of Karachi run their own businesses

Sep 8, 2016

The Youth Employment Project at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pakistan signed a partnership with the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) to provide entrepreneurial skills training to youth in the neighbourhoods of Lyari, Korangi and Sultanabad in Karachi. These youth do not usually possess the skills to earn livelihoods given their limited education and means. UNDP is therefore providing garment manufacturing skills to help them find work in garment-related trades, although the majority of young women and men continue to struggle to find employment. SMEDA and UNDP are responding to this challenge by helping young people become self-employed.

This six-month partnership is expected to help establish 500 home-based businesses in fashion design, embroidery, sewing machine operations and merchandizing. A three-day training-of-trainers (TOT) workshop on self-employment took place on 6–8 September 2016 in Karachi.

“SMEDA is the principal authority dealing with SME sector development in Pakistan. Led by a participative and market-driven approach, SMEDA will equip Karachi’s vulnerable youth with essential business skills for nuanced career growth to generate sustainable livelihoods”, said Mr. Alamgir Chaudhry, General Manager Outreach, SMEDA.

Harald Thorud, Chief Technical Specialist at UNDP Pakistan added that investments in vulnerable youths’ self-employment and soft skills will bring sustainable change and transformation to Karachi’s local communities and help reduce conflict.

The Youth Employment Project (2015–2017) is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by UNDP. The initiative will train 13,360 young women and men and aims to help at least 70 percent of them secure full-time employment.

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