Eswatini Youth Empowerment Programme (EYEP) is a partnership between the government, the private sector, tertiary institutions, and civil society organizations, supported by UNDP. The Programme supports young graduates between 18 and 35 to gain work experience, skills, and job access while earning a monthly stipend. It also reaches out to young people with little or no tertiary education for artisanal skills training and entrepreneurship for business start-ups. Cabinet endorsed the Programme in August 2022, after which His Majesty King Mswati III launched it in November 2022. This Programme seeks to address youth unemployment through two components:
1. Graduate Placement and Mentorship
Under this component, the Programme engaged the government, private sector, UN Agencies, and civil society organizations to match and deploy about 250 graduate interns during 2023, the first year of the five-year pilot phase. Host institutions provide professional mentorship and coaching. With the country producing about 4000 graduates annually with less than half being absorbed by the job market, EYEP aims to grow into a fully-fledged graduate placement programme that can support these graduates to access jobs.
2. Artisanal Skills Training and Mentorship
This component targets 360 non-graduates or out-of-school youth across the four regions annually and trains them with basic vocational skills through an accelerated three-month training programme. The youth acquire skills in sewing, upholstery, electrical installation, plumbing, metalwork, and building and construction. The programme also focuses on business development and mentorship. On graduation, this group receives essential tools and business training to support self-employment.