Scott Isbrandt: “We would like to see youth in Mali gain entrepreneurial skills”

World of Work January 18, 2014

The Mali Support to Youth Entrepreneurs Project (known also by its French name Projet d’Appui aux Jeunes Entrepreneurs or PAJE-Nièta) accompanies out-of-school youth on the path to becoming more educated, economically productive, and civically engaged in their communities. 

The PAJE-Nièta program aims to provide 12,000 rural out-of-school youths with improved basic education, work readiness and technical training, social and leadership development, as well as assistance with livelihood activities. Young Malians are offered seven technical-training options that can help them earn a livelihood in the Malian rural market. 

The project is managed by the US-based nonprofit Education Development Center

Listen to the audio interview with PAJE-Nièta Project Director Scott Isbrandt to find out more about this initiative. 

1. WISE:  What are the education challenges in Mali?

Scott: “Mali is a resource-scare environment. Delivering basic education and technical training in remote rural areas is one of the key challenges.”


2.WISE: What has been the response of Malian youth to the program?

Scott Isbrandt: “The participation has been very high and so far there is quite a lot of excitement”

3. WISE: What is the role of youth volunteers in this program?

Scott Isbrandt: “We’ve a Malian volunteer corps. Our program is delivered through and supported by existing youth associations at the community level”

4.  WISE: Can you expand on EDC’s mobile learning initiative for youth in Mali?

Scott Isbrandt: The youth project in Mali is working to accompany 12,000 youth towards entrepreneurship, to help them create their own micro enterprises to help enhance their livelihoods. A key component of achieving this is not just working in the traditional education – formal and informal – training centres but also using the leverage and power of low-cost mobile technology.