11 April 2024

11 April 2024Reducing poverty by investing in young people

The problem
In remote, rural areas in the Arusha region of Northern Tanzania, economic opportunities for young people – particularly girls – are incredibly limited. COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine made a bad situation worse. Local Maasai and Waarusha communities have had to cope with huge increases in the prices of food, fuel and everyday items. This is increasing poverty and reducing life chances.

How the project worked
This one year project established four groups, involving 120 young people. They received business skills training, and access to village community banking (VICOBA). This enabled them to set up sustainable small and medium enterprises (SMEs), generating invaluable income for themselves and their families. The project reached 3,947 people.

Soap making

Extraordinary impact
All four groups, and their 120 members, were interviewed at the end of the project. Before the project, none of the participants were involved in (SMEs). After the one year project:

  • 100% of young people who took part lived below the poverty (on £0.33 pence a day) before the project. After one year only 96% were living above the poverty line – with an average increase in monthly household income from £40 to £161.
  • 60 young people in 2 groups were trained in soap making (photo above) and provided with start-up materials. These groups managed to save £1,255 from their soap making business.
  • 60 youth from 2 groups were trained in sewing skills and provided with start-up materials. They saved £778 from their sewing businesses.
  • 120 young from all 4 groups were trained in VICOBA and provided with start-up funding. After the first year the 4 youth groups had saved £4,702.

Long-term, lasting change
This project delivered long-term, lasting change. Financial security means food on tables, and children in school. Below you can read how the life of one participant, Riziki, was transformed. There are many others like her – young people with massive potential waiting to be unlocked.

The funding for this project has now come to an end. We want to work with new investors, who share the enthusiasm of these young people in northern Tanzania. Your investment will generate an incredible, and hugely rewarding, rate of return. If you’d like to discuss how we could work together, you can contact our Tanzanian Country Director john.emmanuel@ace-africa.org or UK Country Director david.evans@ace-africa.org. Thank you in advance for your interest. 

CASE STUDY: Riziki learns to believe in herself

Riziki Thomas is a 19 year old girl from a family of six adults and children. She wanted to join a government vocational training college, but her parents were unable to pay for tuition fees.

In February 2023, Riziki joined the Enyorata youth group. She learnt how to sew school uniforms, leant business skills and became part of a village community banking group (VICOBA).

The youth group made school uniforms and generated a £205 profit. Through the VICOBA Riziki could borrow money to establish a business selling vegetables at the local market, and increased her monthly income by £64. She saved a total of £183 which made a huge difference to her family – meeting the costs of her siblings education and medication. Riziki now takes part in workshops where young people share business ideas and encourage one another.

She explained the difference being part of the project has made to her life: “I believed that having an educational certificate was the only way to move on in life, but with this training I have learned to believe in myself and establish small businesses. I hope that the businesses will grow and enable me to live a good life and through the workshops, other girls will also learn from me.”


“In our community, the majority of girls do not attend or complete secondary school. They are often forced into early, polygamous marriage with older men. This project offers them a skill, an income and independence. We very much hope that Ace Africa can extend this project to reach other young girls in our community.” Community leader