More than 1,000 youths from 41 districts in Northern Uganda have been empowered with crucial vocational skills to create new sources of livelihoods following three months of intense training in agriculture and agribusiness related areas. The training was conducted from November 2022 to May 2023 by eight Technical Vocational Education Training Institutes and it was fully sponsored by Office of the Prime Minister under the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU) Youth Skilling Programme supported by the European Union. Many of the trained youth are practicing the skills and knowledge acquired: –

I used to be idle but I’m now busy, says Prudence

Prudence Vasta Yoo-acel, 27, is now a proud poultry farmer; rearing mainly local chicken. A resident of Afere Village, Tha Tha Division in Nebbi District, Prudence used to sit home idle after completing Senior Six in 2015 since her parents could not raise tuition for her tertiary education.

Born to Mr. George Okechagiu Ladegi and Ms. Jane Joyce Ayo, Prudence is one of the 1,300 youths who have been empowered with crucial vocational skills to create new sources of livelihoods following three months of intense training in agriculture and agribusiness related areas.

The training in courses that included beekeeping, vegetable farming, goat rearing, poultry and piggery, was fully sponsored by Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) under the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU) Youth Skilling Programme supported by the European Union.

DINU beneficiary Ms Prudence feeds her chicken at Afere Village in Nebbi District on June 6, 2023

“I saw the advert for the DINU training programme pinned on a noticeboard in Adraa. I contacted the academic registrar of Franciscan Brothers ADRAA Agriculture College for details after which I applied. I felt blessed when I was selected,” says Prudence with a smile.

Prudence was born sixth in a family of 10 children. Her mother is a primary school head teacher while her father is a retired agriculture field officer.  Until now, Prudence says none of them had ever dreamt of falling in the footsteps of their father.

“My father was shocked when I told him that I was going to study a course in agriculture. He could not believe it. But here I’m, now practicing what I used to dislike before,” she says while pointing at her chicken as they feed at a designated area under a mango tree in the compound where she sprinkled the feeds on the ground.

She so far boasts of 20 local chicken, which she rears mainly on free-range system and supplements with chicken feeds. She says she bought the chicken using part of the stipend that DINU provided to each of the selected learners. She hopes to multiply them and expand her business. Already, she has set up a poultry house where the birds sleep at night. The one-roomed house is plastered, roofed with iron sheets and was built with bricks and cement, both the window and door were made of iron to safely secure the birds from the preying eyes in the darkness of the night.

In future, she plans to expand her business by adding more chicken, especially Kroilers “since they are easy to manage.”

Her main challenge is buying chicken feeds, which she says are currently expensive since she has just started the business with very limited working capital.

Prudence advises other youths in the area to emulate her if they are to live meaningful lives.

“I advise youths to wake up and get started. They should start small. It is easy to a start a poultry. Personally, I have got to improvise the drinkers by cutting small jerrycans as I wait to get better ones,” she explains.

Isaac reaping from poultry

Isaac Toga, 29, from Elupe Village, Apala Town Council in Alebtong District is an enterprising youth who has embraced poultry farming. The Shs200,000 stipend propelled him into action after completing a three-month DINU – sponsored training at Ave Maria Vocational Training and Youth Development Centre in Lira in February 2023.

Isaac Toga feeds his chicken He rears both kroilers and local breed

I started with 20 cocks that I reared for three months before selling them for a total sum of Shs560,000 with a profit of 360,000. I used the money to build a poultry house and for restocking. I’m now a better youth. I’m not idle,” he says.

Isaac dropped out of Senior Three in 2014 due to lack of school fees. He is married with two children.

He currently has 80 chicken of which 60 are local breed and 20 kroilers. He has since trained more than 20 other farmers including youths in the area. He plans to turn his project into a training centre. To actualize his dream, Isaac is building a four-roomed brooder house.

Isaac Toga and his wife stand in front of a brooder house under construction

His advice to the youth: “There is money in agriculture once you get serious. Start with local birds. I advise them to join this business.”

Isaac’s hard work has inspired many of his equals in the area. Nineteen-year-old Bernard Awio, is one of the youths in Elupe Village who have embraced poultry and are earning from the enterprise.

“I have learnt a lot from Isaac. His training has empowered me with the skills to rear chicken. I have 50 birds so far,” says Awio who could but only manage to complete Primary Seven in 2018. Bernard has also ventured into goat and sheep rearing.

Training other youths

Harrison Bayo, 18, the last born in a family of eight children, didn’t further his education after completing Primary Seven in 2019 due to lack of school fees. A resident of Enzeva Village in Ajia Sub-county, Arua District, Harrison has ventured into vegetable growing after completing a three-month training in vegetable production at ADRAA. He currently plants tomatoes, cabbages and green pepper, which he sells to a ready market in the area. He has since trained two other youths in the area thereby enabling them to engage in productive economic activities. Harrison plans to further his education by saving part of the earnings from the sale of vegetables.

Goat rearing and piggery giving Christine a ray of hope

To implement the skills and knowledge acquired at Lokopio Technical Institute, Christine Amaniyo, 25, has started rearing goats and pigs. A resident of Alugburu Cell in Leju Town Council, Terego District, Christine has 13 goats and 14 pigs which she rears at home.

Christine attending to her goats

Christine Amaniyo with her piggery which she hopes will boost her capacity to start poultry farming

Christine is a hardworking young woman who handles manly work with energy and efficiency. She manages both enterprises and domestic chores with ease. She has set up a goathouse and plans to multiply the animals, sell and raise money for establishing a poultry project.

“I want to venture into poultry. Goat rearing requires much land, which I lack currently. Piggery is equally challenging since I lack vaccines and materials for building a pig sty,” says a mother of two children.

 Vuni to DINU: You have given me chance to be relevant

After failing to get employment, 29-year-old Ashraf Vuni realised the need to acquire vocational skills to keep himself germane. His choice of tree nursery operation is paying off.

“I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering in 2021. Since then, I have been doing voluntary work. I embraced the DINU YSP because I felt the need to get relevant skills in agriculture to enable me do business since I have vast land,” he explains.

To realise his dream, Ashraf has completed a three-month training in tree nursery operation at Lokopio Technical Institute where he acquired skills such as raising seedlings from a nursery bed to planting them and agribusiness. He mainly deals in raising seedlings for species such as pine, jackfruit, and avocado, which he says have a ready market in the area.

Solomon Acot attending to his cabbage garden with some of the youth he trains

Agriculture is profitable – Acot

Getting money to start a business has always been such a challenge for many youths in Uganda largely due to a high unemployment rate. As such many youths end up not actualising their dreams. It’s against this backdrop that Solomon Acot, a resident of Barowelo South, Agulu Division in Apac District, has creatively thought of growing vegetables as a quicker way to raise money for his dream poultry enterprise.

After completing a training in poultry farming at Ave Maria Vocational Training and Youth Development Centre in Lira, Solomon has established vegetable gardens in Apac District where he grows improved varieties of cabbages and tomatoes. Born 26 years ago to Mr. George Can and Ms. Eunice Akole, Solomon hopes to get Shs2 million in the harvests. He plans to use the money to establish a poultry project.

“My plan is to open a poultry farm. I want to be an established farmer who will supply the district with quality chicken and vegetables,” says the last born in a family of three boys.

Solomon, who dropped out of school in Primary Six, says he wants to integrate the enterprise for better returns.

Solomon Eyoo and Vicent Owiny harvets tomatoes from their garden

He has since trained three other youths; enabling them to engage and earn from a sector that hitherto didn’t attract many youths in the area. 

Solomon’s wisdom has also been embraced by Solomon Eyoo, 23, and Vincent Owiny, 21, both residents of Otorongole Village, Abongomola Sub-county in Kwania District. The duo trained in piggery and poultry respectively. However, they decided to start growing vegetables such as tomatoes and eggplants since they have a ready market and would enable them to raise the required money to start their dream enterprises.

Ashraf Vuni explains the progress of a seedling that he planted recently

“We started vegetable growing as a starting point. I plan to start a piggery project. The DINU YSP has inspired me to go commercial to earn a decent living,” says Eyoo.


The Office of the Prime Minister contracted eight Technical Vocational Education Training Institutes (TVETs) last year to train a total of 1,300 youths selected from 41 districts in Northern Uganda in agriculture and agribusiness areas for improved employability and income-generating opportunities in the agricultural sector. The TVETs include ADRAA Agricultural College, Amelo Technical Institute, Lokopio Technical Institute, Amugu Agro Technical Institute, Ave Maria Vocational Training and Youth Development Centre, Kotido Technical Institute, Nakapiripirit Technical Institute, and Northern Uganda Youth Development Centre.

With an intake of 160 youths to be trained for two cohorts from November 2022 to May 2023, each TVET was awarded a grant contract of approximately 50,000 EUR or Shs220 million to conduct the skills development and training programmes in key areas such as: horticulture, crop & animal husbandry, beekeeping, agro-input supply management, tree nursery operation and carpentry etc. The short-term vocational training programmes also include an apprenticeship and delivery of a set of start-up kits for the trained youth, enabling them to practice their skills and to set-up and create small businesses.

Further details on the DINU programme can be found at Twitter: @OPMDINU1 and OPM website: