The Youth Employment and Skills Development Project (PEJEDEC : Projet Emploi Jeunes et Développement des Compétences) was launched in 2011, with World Bank support (US$50M). The issue of employment, and particularly the issue of youth employment, is one of the priorities of the Government of Côte d'Ivoire. The objective of this program is to facilitate access to employment opportunities for young people from 18 to 30 years of age. In particular, one of the components of this project, the Labor-intensive Public Works Program (LIPW) (original name THIMO : Travaux à Haute Intensité de Main d'Oeuvre), provides temporary job opportunities for low-skilled youth. The Cote d’Ivoire Emergency Youth Employment and Skills Development creates temporary employment opportunities, while simultaneously introducing and testing a range of strategies to transition into more sustainable sources of productive employment and more productive household enterprises.The target group is youth, defined as 18-30 years of age. THIMO was implemented in 16 localities throughout Cote d’Ivoire, attracting young people from urban and peri-urban areas mainly. The project promotes the participation of women by reserving a percentage of LIPW jobs (30%). 12,693 young people between 18 and 30 benefited from this program between 2012 and 2015.
As part of the labor-intensive public works program, beneficiaries were given temporary employment for six months at a daily minimum wage of 2,500 CFA francs. They are supervised by the National Roads Agency (Agence de Gestion des Routes - AGEROUTE) and perform road maintenance work: earth removal, ditch cleaning, maintenance of green spaces, etc. All participants are paid through bank accounts opened by the project. All participants also take part in sensitization sessions on HIV-AIDS, citizenship and hygiene (around 40h). Through the public works program, youth earn on average 55,000 CFA francs a month for six months, establish a work routine, receive some basic life skills training, and strengthen their social networks by working with groups of peers. This first phase seeks to help youths to stabilize themselves personally, socially and financially, all of which can help overcome constraints to enter self-employment or access wage jobs in the medium-term.
The project also introduces a range of graduation mechanisms to that aim to help them create household enterprises, or to transition into wage employment after graduating from the public works. Youths are paid into a bank account so that they can start savings with the objective to set-up a business after the end of the program. In addition, a randomly selected sub-set of beneficiaries received a basic entrepreneurship training and follow-up support to help them set-up household enterprise. Another randomly selected sub-set of beneficiaries received training that provides sensitization on wage employment opportunities and information on how to search and apply for wage jobs.