Ground report

Satellite vocational training center brings hope to displaced and local communities in Ethiopia

ILO and its partners are tackling the challenges of limited income generation in Ethiopia's arid eastern region by constructing a satellite vocational training center, providing new job opportunities and essential skills, benefiting both host and refugee communities.

Article | 19 July 2023

Jigjiga, ETHIOPIA (ILO News): With arid landscapes, the eastern region of Ethiopia has limited income generation and skill development opportunities. Over the years, the region has been receiving an influx of forcibly displaced people from neighbouring countries, putting pressure on the local resources and institutions.

The International Labour Organization (ILO), through PROSPECTS Partnership, is supporting the creation of decent employment and livelihood opportunities in the region to ensure inclusive socio-economic growth for both host and refugee communities.

Jean Yves-Barba, Chief Technical Advisor, ILO PROSPECTS Ethiopia, explained, “In these remote regions, access to skills development institutions and in-demand skills is a challenge. Our assessment also indicated an immediate need to stimulate the labour market using labour-intensive approaches as the job opportunities are few.”

To address this challenge, the ILO partnered with Lutheran World Foundation to construct a satellite vocational training centre in the district of Kebribeyah, Somali Regional State of Ethiopia.

Kebribeyah is a town 55 kilometres from its regional capital - Jigjiga, the only city in the Zone with a public vocational training college. The new satellite vocational training center has been built within the premises of the Kebribeyah district administration office.

The ILO introduced the Employment Intensive Investment Programme (EIIP) approach in the construction of the satellite centre, where contractors were trained to engage with refugee and host communities to develop work opportunities.

The construction of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Centre created many new job opportunities where both refugees and host communities were able to participate in.

Ustaz Umar, Deputy Mayor of the City Council of Kebribeyah

Ustaz Umar, Deputy Mayor of the City Council of Kebribeyah, said, “The construction of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Centre created many new job opportunities where both refugees and host communities were able to participate in. More importantly, they acquired new on-the-job skills that will help them to find other similar jobs in future. In addition, the local contractors have been given a chance to participate in this big project which is building their capacity and skills.”

Umar is optimistic that when the project is finished and the vocational centre is operational, it'll help greatly in reducing unemployment in the town.

Mahammad Ali is one of the construction workers who got a job opportunity through the construction of a satellite vocational training centre. He said, “Because of the drought in our area, there are no farm produces and many of us were unable to feed our families. Now since I start to work here, I'm able to earn well and provide for my family,” said Ali.

For him working at the EIIP site was different. He said, “Previously, I have worked at the construction site as a labourer but this one was different. I learned a lot of technical skills here, which could help me find a better job in the future.”, added Mahammad.
The satellite centre in Kebribeyah under construction ©ILO

The project is in line with the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) and the Ethiopian Government's pledge to improve the self-reliance of both refugees and their host communities by facilitating access to land, education, jobs and socio-economic integration.

Explaining how the project is benefiting the local community, James Agingu, former Employment-Intensive Investments Specialist at the ILO, said, “In addition to awarding the project contract to local constructors, the labour force as well as the construction materials for the project are from the local market. The approach significantly contributes to the local economic development.”

The satellite centre will, among others, have woodworking and metal workshops, a latrine, classrooms, a cafeteria, a guardhouse, water supply and drainage, an access road and landscaping facilities, and a cobblestone shed. The center is planned to be inaugurated and enrol its first batch of students in September 2023 when the academic year in Ethiopia begins.