We understand green jobs as decent jobs that promote environmental and biodiversity conservation. These are jobs that support reduction of practices that are harmful to the environment and contribute to creating economically and socially inclusive businesses.
Green jobs are decent jobs that:
- reduce consumption of energy and raw materials
- limit greenhouse gas emissions
- minimise waste and pollution and
- protect and restore ecosystems.
Our programmes design green jobs that protect and preserve the environment in priority sectors such as, organic agriculture, renewable energy, waste management and climate resilience.
Green jobs are able to provide decent working opportunities for young women and men, that considers environmental impact and biodiversity whilst allowing businesses to thrive. We support enterprises that produce goods and services that benefit the environment and create inclusive green jobs for young people.
Despite increased green employment opportunities, youth still experience high levels of unemployment. Youths face many barriers that limit or prevent greater green opportunities. We hope to secure decent employment for young people and successfully establish, manage and grow enterprises that generate green jobs.
Our projects in green jobs
Collective Action for Rights Realisation in Extractives Industry (CLARITY)
VSO’s CLARITY project (2021-23) green jobs component is demanding social protection for informal workers, mainly young women and men and people with disabilities. The project supports the identification of informal workers and provides them with enterprise and business development trainings whilst helping them to access financial support. In addition, the project works closely with Geita District Council to allocate 10% of its total annual revenue to informal workers, mainly youths and people with disabilities. Through the project, VSO supports mobilization of informal workers, formation, training and registration of GSLAs and links them to social protection support provided by TASAF, NEEC and the local government authority.
Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship Project (YEEP)
The YEEP project (2017-20), targeted marginalised youths in Kenya and Uganda, promoting the inclusion of single mothers and youth with disabilities to improve their access to decent work. This project reached 23,959 young women and men, supporting them with business start-up kits and skills development including e-learning in entrepreneurship and IT skills in classroom settings. The project also supported the development of green business plans and provided business coaching to assist young entrepreneurs to transform their ideas into bankable business plans and facilitating their start-ups.
Rural Employment for COVID-19 Economic Recovery (RECOVER)
RECOVER (2021-23), co-funded by European Commission, is improving food security, income and green employment opportunities for fishing and farming communities and returnee labour migrants in the Tonle Sap region of Cambodia.
The impact of COVID-19 brought many challenges to smallholder farmers and fishers including a decline of their sales and revenues due to restrictions of movements and lower consumption. VSO is improving access for 1,500 returnee labour migrants, laid-off worker, youth, and community members, to quality training, so they have the technical and vocational skills needed for the job market. The project provides training to 5 horticulture producer groups with 50 members on agroecology and climate resilient good agricultural practices (GAP) enhancing productivity and market competitiveness.
Challenge Fund for Youth Employment (CFYE)
In partnership with Palladium and Randastad, VSO is implementing the CYFE project, helping create a prosperous future for 200,000 young women and men in the Middle East, North Africa, Sahel & West Africa and Horn of Africa. By supporting youth employment initiatives in these regions, the project aims to create opportunities for youth, particularly young women, to access green and decent jobs that deliver better prospects for personal development, is productive, offers a stable income, social protection and safe working conditions.
Volunteering for development
VSO’s FCDO funded Volunteering for Development (VfD) grant in Kenya supported women farmers, fisherfolk and young women and men in Siaya county through strengthening their Group Savings and Loan Associations to farm sustainably. Community volunteers provided critical skills training on agroecology, circular economy, business skills development amongst others. Women farmers have been able to grow crops without using chemicals and synthetic fertilisers, and the fisherfolk have been engaged in fish farming reviving local community livelihoods through backward linkages through the supply chain, as well as improving food security for the community.
Access to clean energy remains a major barrier for many of the world’s poorest entrepreneurs. Through the Malawi Solar Mama project (2015-6), VSO supported training of 8 semi-illiterate women as barefoot solar engineers in Tilonia, India.. VSO facilitated the distribution of 200 solar equipment to households and conducted follow-up visits after installation by the barefoot solar engineers.
Driving Youth-Led New Agribusiness and Microenterprise (DYNAMIC)
The DYNAMIC project (2015-20) helped to increase employability, income, and resilience for out-of-school youths in Northern Uganda and Karamoja. By strengthening the training quality of vocational centers, the project successfully trained 9,800 young people, resulting in over 2,000 setting up their own green enterprises.
Leveraging Local Economy through Agricultural Development (LEAD)
VSO implemented LEAD project (2016-2020) in Uganda, aiming to improve the engagement of young people in market-relevant and technology-driven agro-enterprises, whilst promoting the adoption of climate resilient agricultural practices in soil and water management and in crop production. Project achievements included the creation of 548 green jobs at the end of the project, (469 secured wage employment and 79 were self-employed).
Trash for Cash
Members of “Trash for Cash” are involved in household, hotels, and office garbage collection. The enterprise identifies and recruit clients using a mobile app. Potential locations for collection of solid waste are identified by their high traffic levels and/or environmental impact in urban neighbourhoods of Kitui County in Kenya, where the initiative built a waste recycling facility. The collection service was provided by the enterprise with its full-time staff and waste pickers collecting waste and transporting it to the recycling facility for sorting and re-use.
Stories from our work in green jobs
VSO e-volunteer Chris Evans outlines how a tiny pilot permaculture scheme in Nepal successfully spread environmentally friendly farming practices and ideas in line with existing cultural traditions.
Fisherfolk living on Cambodia's biggest lake are taking a stand against climate change and overfishing, and finding alternative sources of income thanks to support from VSO.
Climate change, typhoons and poor fishing practices were threatening the way of life of a coastal community in the Philippines. Then volunteers came together to plant mangroves to turn the tide.
Other areas where we work
Decent work means jobs that are productive, respect labour rights, generate a fair income and treat everyone equally.
We believe if young people are supported to earn income and access resources, they can sustain their own livelihoods and actively seek out new economic opportunities.