Akazi Kanoze: Youth Livelihoods Project

Akazi Kanoze is a flagship USAID-funded youth livelihoods project in Rwanda, implemented by Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC). The approach is representative of a body of youth WFD programming that seeks to reach a target population, such as marginalized youth, and link them to improved employment opportunities.

A six-year project (2008-14), Akazi Kanoze targets youth aged 14-35. Akazi Kanoze’s goal is to improve youth access to economic opportunities (defined to include part-time and full-time employment, paid internships, income generating cooperatives, micro-enterprises and self-employment). It is designed to help disadvantaged youth develop skills for employment and achieve sustainable livelihoods, through interventions including life skills and work readiness training and support, hands-on training opportunities, and employment.

Guide to Infographic

The key challenge addressed (presented on the left) is the limited education youth have received, which is a barrier to employment. In response, EDC’s first step was to conduct a labor market analysis with the private sector to determine the appropriate skills and job placement opportunities for youth. EDC then developed a Work Readiness Curriculum, delivered through multiple training vehicles including education institutions, training providers, and government TVET programs. Throughout, EDC has built the capacity of partner institutions and engaged stakeholders including civil society organizations. The final step is to link youth training graduates with the private sector and potential employers. The outcomes, listed on the right, depict the project’s major achievements. 

Key Results

Important accomplishments include the development of a customized Work Readiness Curriculum for the Rwandan context, and the design of skills training informed by industry demand. The government of Rwanda has adopted the Work Readiness Curriculum for use in secondary level TVET institutions. Akazi Kanoze and partners also built the capacity of local organizations, such as education and training providers as well as community-based organizations.

Other notable results include:

  • The majority of Akazi Kanoze graduates found an economic opportunity (as defined above).

  • Employers expressed appreciation for the soft skills developed through the Work Readiness trainings.

  • The project established cooperatives and a network between the providers, private sector and government to build capacity for sustainability and success.

To Learn More

The project achievements and key results above are drawn from the Midterm Evaluation, completed by Iain McLellan and Jackson Bamwesigye. A randomized control trial conducted (RCT) by EDC measured whether youth show a measurable change in employability and employment outcomes as a result of the project.

Links to the midterm evaluation, the RCT results, and the project website are provided below:

Midterm Evaluation

Randomized Control Trial

Project Website


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