Please describe how your project has been successful and how that success is measured
Since opening in 1997, the Vocational School has graduated 834 young men and women in basic electricity, manual water pumps, solar energy, civil engineering, commerce and administration, and agriculture. A study of the graduates in the first 5 years revealed that 50% found jobs, 10% continued their studies, 25% were unemployed and seeking employment, and 15% had emigrated to other countries in search of better living conditions. In 2010, 56% of graduates found employment. Of the most recent graduates in 2011, 53% are working but 89% are either working or continuing their studies: 12% are engaged in the informal economy, 47% in the formal economy, and 41% are continuing their studies. The College also currently trains 138 children, between 14 and 20, in pre-vocational training. The school therefore has a proven success in empowering the majority of its students to find employment or to create their own employment.
As a result of the students studying water pumps, 1,000 family members gaining access to potable water in Bissorã, Oio Region, and in Sector Canchungo, Region Cacheu. The students graduating in civil engineering have built 4 houses and worked in 3 areas to provide decent living conditions for 160 households in the area. Two area-wide cleaning campaigns have been made in the hospital in Bissorã Sector and in the local market. In addition, gender empowerment has been essential for the School: 189 girls out of the total 825 students graduated by the end of 2010. In one of the newest courses in solar energy technology, 64% of the students are women. In 2009 the whole construction course team participated in a social responsibility action in Djabicunda, Bafata region to rebuild the houses for families, who had lost their homes in a fire.
How will your project evolve over the next three years?
The School hopes to reach more students with new courses, the curriculums of which have already been created. A sewing course of 11 months will be targeted at girls and housewives of all ages. This course will empower women with the training, skills, and materials needed to become professional, seamstress entrepreneurs. New courses in carpentry and motor mechanics will enable graduates to begin work directly after completion of their training. Courses in re-training and in master degrees will also be offered to ensure that the graduates of the School have the same training and certification as other individuals from other countries who secure employment in Guinea-Bissau, assuring the competiveness of the graduates.