Two female farmers laugh together as they harvest crops
VSO/Allison Joyce

Green jobs

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.

Capacity Building youth in renewable energy practices
VSO/Nicholaus Jackson
The CLARITY project in Tanzania, is supporting youth to create clean and efficient alternative fuels.

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. 

Find out more about the difference CLARITY is making

Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship Project (YEEP)

Seamstress Rosaline started her sewing business with help from VSO
VSO/Obscura Media
The YEEP trained youth like Roseline, 23, in financial literacy to help her to make her seamstress business profitable.

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. 

How YEEP is helping young mothers like Vivian tackle hunger and feed their children

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. 

How we're responding to COVID-19 in our livelihoods programming

Challenge Fund for Youth Employment (CFYE)

Samngath (left) learned better processing techniques to add value to fish from her friend Thorn (right), who was trained by VSO
©VSO/Sue Turbett
The FCDO funded VfD grant has supported young female fisherfolk to develop sustainable fishing practices.

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. 

Find out more about the CYFE programme 

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. 

How the volunteering for development grant is changing the lives of 2 million people

Solar Mamas

Solar Mama Dines smiles as she stands outside in the sun holding a solar panel
VSO/Peter Caton
Solar energy has transformed lives in Malawi, where just one in ten people has access to electricity.

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. 

Meet the mamas fighting poverty through solar power


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

Himalayan Permaculture Centre
Chris Evans

My permaculture journey: A sustainable approach to small-scale farming

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.

Yu Saret farming in her field.
VSO/Cesar Lopez Balan

Climate change and overfishing in Cambodia in 7 photos

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.

Men planting mangroves on a beach in the Philippines
©Pakigdait Inc

The power of regrowth

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

Josephine working on her road side stall
VSO/Obscura Media

Decent work

Decent work means jobs that are productive, respect labour rights, generate a fair income and treat everyone equally.

Nigeria Mobile Science Lab
©VSO/ Onye Ubanatu

Youth empowerment

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.

Vivian working at her roadside stall
VSO/Obscura Media

Women’s empowerment, control over incomes and right to food

Promoting women’s right to adequate food, women's control over their incomes and developing climate resilient agriculture.

Mangrove planting

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