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Strengthening decent rural employment opportunities for youth across different processes in the forest value chain in Uganda. Practices and lessons

This report addresses the subject of decent rural employment for youth in the forestry sector. It is based on case studies carried out across different processes in the value chain within the sector in Uganda, ranging from seedbed development through to plantation management, saw logging and trading.

Findings indicate that a considerable number of Uganda’s legal and policy frameworks emphasize the participation of youth in the labour market, especially given that young people constitute a large majority of the country’s population. However, only a few of these frameworks focus on decent work, whether for young people or the country’s workers more generally. The case studies revealed that efforts to provide decent employment were mixed. Larger and more formally oriented forestry enterprises were more likely to focus on decent work provisions for their labourers. Smaller enterprises, while aware of most of their decent work obligations, were unable to implement them due to resource constraints. The case studies also revealed numerous opportunities for youth to participate in the forestry sector. These included tapping into existing government and NGO programmes ranging from tree planting to plantation management. Additional employment opportunities were provided by businesses in the sector and the management of woodlots for poles and fuel. The limiting factors for youth participation in the sector largely arise from the huge investment cost incurred by such participation, particularly access to and utilization of land and financial resources. Other limitations included a lack of relevant training and skills and poor working conditions. These conditions are compounded by few numbers and limited capacity of officers within the Labour Directorate to administer and enforce labour regulations.

The report proposes decent work indicators and recommends both policy and implementation strategies to increase youth participation and decent work practices in the sector.