Foto: Kunle Olawoyin

Work in progress

The Work in Progress! Alliance aims to enable young people from diverse backgrounds to generate sustainable living wages and create optimism about their future in Egypt, Nigeria and post-conflict Somaliland.

Our focus

  1. Building young people’s skills for today and the future to find paid jobs or set up their own enterprises.
  2. Accelerating startups and offering business development services (BDS) to impact-driven small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) so they can employ more young people – improving the demand side of the market – and deepen their social and environmental impact.
  3. Improving the enabling environment for youth and enterprises by influencing actors including government, the private sector and citizens to change policies, laws, practices, attitudes and beliefs concerning youth and work.

Alliance partners

The Work in Progress! Alliance is a collaboration between Oxfam (Novib), Butterfly Works, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Venture Capital for Africa (VC4A).  

In Nigeria, Oxfam partners with Poise for employability skills training and Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) for BDS and improving the enabling environment for SMEs and youth. Butterfly Works also partners with Poise to support the Bits digital design schools, Ekobits and Edobits. VC4A facilitates accelerator programmes and investor events in Nigeria with She Leads Africa.

In post-conflict Somalia, we partner with Shuraako for BDS and Havoyoco for employability skills trainings and creating an enabling environment. In cooperation with Shaqodoon, Butterfly Works supports the Bits digital design school Hargabits. IOM, providing services and advice to governments and migrants, works in cooperation with the Somaliland Skills Training Association, SOSTA, to train youth in various vocational and technical skills. Together with Innovate Ventures, VC4A connects startups to knowledge, mentorship and finance through its online platform.

Ahead of the Curve is our BDS partner in Egypt, where since 2019 we have partnered with The Community Hub to create an enabling environment. We have also partnered with the National Employment Pact (NEP), which was created in response to demands from Egyptian youth for fair employment opportunities following the 2011 revolution and is committed to providing opportunities for technical and low-skilled work. VC4A offers its infrastructure, network and expertise to design and implement startup support initiatives with Innoventures in Egypt.


The project started in 2016 with a budget of EUR 10.4 million, and is now completing the last of its four years. WiP! is financed by the LEAD (Local Employment for African Development) programme of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. For the latest information about the project and its achievements, have a look at the Work in Progress! Popular Report 2018.


  • Project name:     Work in Progress!
  • Project period:    Four years, from 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2019
  • Target group:      Young women and men
  • Location:            Nigeria (Lagos and Edo State), Egypt (Cairo and Alexandria), Somalia (post-conflict Somaliland)
  • Budget:              10.4 million euros


For more information please contact Mirjam Horstmeier Global Project Manager.

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Country overviews

For more information about our work please consult our global overview.


WiP! aims to improve the enabling environment for youth and enterprises. Building on the relationships we have established since 2016, we engage with actors including governments, the private sector and young citizens to improve the implementation of policies on decent jobs and supporting startups and SMEs. Oxfam Novib’s youth team kicked off the multiyear campaign #IWASTHERE on International Youth Day 2019. It links different programmes from the Youth as Active Citizens Community, aiming to support their national influencing work by joining forces with local role models and exploring regional possibilities. 

Annual reports

The Work in Progress! Alliance publishes yearly reports. Since 2017 these are the result of a joint effort with students from Bits, a digital design school set up by Butterfly Works that operates in Nigeria and Somalia.

Learning and evaluation

The Work in Progress! project is continually monitored and evaluated by Oxfam specialists in the country offices and partners, and supported by Oxfam (Novib). In 2018, we decided that our planned qualitative evaluation would be youth-led, as the project targets young people. Both quantitative (baseline, mid-term and end line) and qualitative (youth-led) evaluations indicate positive changes for youth: they report a rise in employment and improved expectations about their future. The qualitative evaluation uses the “stories of change” methodology, part of Oxfam’s research approach that aims to get insights into the why and how of the changes of people’s lives.

Inception 2016

In March 2016, the Work in Progress! Alliance – consisting of four global partners: Oxfam Novib, Venture Capital for Africa (VC4A), Butterfly Works and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) – held a kick-off meeting that brought together more than 30 participants including staff, youth and partners from the three target countries, Egypt, Nigeria and Somalia. The aim of this meeting was for participants to familiarize themselves with all aspects of the project, get to know one another and the different contexts in which they work, and further develop the project in the three countries.




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