Empowering futures: the LEAD II initiative’s closing event

December 5, 2023

This November in The Hague, a vibrant community dedicated to positive change celebrated LEAD II’s closure at an event that brought together program partners to share achievements and lessons learned.

The first phase of Local Employment for Development in Africa (LEAD) was initiated in 2015 by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Its aim was to generate sustainable income for youth by creating sustainable, decent jobs offered directly to young people in many countries, including Algeria, Egypt, and Tunisia. LEAD sought to stimulate entrepreneurship among youth and enhance their employability with a special focus on women. It supported young entrepreneurs through business and social skills training, mentoring and local coworking spaces, incubators and innovation labs.

Across Algeria, Egypt, and Tunisia, 6,078 young people found employment, while 340 enterprises received invaluable support.

I’m convinced that GreenWorks is not just a program. It’s a force of positive change.

Then the second phase of LEAD leveraged more than 10 million euros in funding for social enterprises, creating a sustainable ecosystem of support. And it gave rise to our GreenWorks program, which fostered a culture of entrepreneurship by engaging with local entities and stakeholders to strengthen existing entrepreneurship structures and pave the way for a greener tomorrow.

A time to celebrate and reflect

Now seven years later, as one of the program’s four implementing partners, Hivos took center stage during the closing event. On the first day, Noha El Sebaie, GreenWorks’ program manager, shared highlights, success stories, and achievements during four years dedicated to youth empowerment and sustainable development.

The second day of the event saw a deep dive into shared insights, reflections, and partnership discussions. Consortium members and local partners shared lessons learned and explored the path forward. The discussions were not just about looking back; they were about paving the way for sustained impact and scalability in the future.

Remarkable results

GreenWorks’ results paint a picture of true impact. The program trained over 7,000 young people, with 3,628 securing employment through job placement initiatives. GreenWorks maintained a 51% gender breakdown across most activities, fostering inclusivity and diversity.

“I’m convinced that GreenWorks is not just a program. It’s a force of positive change, a journey that changed many lives which we’re privileged to be a part of,” Noha said. “I’ve also been very inspired by the work our partners have done throughout the years. They are truly the fuel that keeps us moving, and we couldn’t be happier for them. Here’s to the dreams we’ve ignited and the sustainable future we’re building together!”

Closed but not over

LEAD II has closed, but its impact resonates, echoing a commitment to shaping a green, more sustainable future. The journey also continues, and with each step forward, the legacy of LEAD II will always be present in the achievements and contributions of the young people it empowered.