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

Building young people’s skills for today and the future to find paid jobs or set up their own enterprises.

Accelerating start-ups 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.

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 and partners In Egypt, Nigeria and Somalia

In Nigeria, the project partner Poise works on advancing employability skills training and manages the Bits Schools, Ekobits and Edobits. These are both digital design schools.  

The accelerator partner She Leads Africa focuses on women founded startups and the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) is the partner for Business Development Support for social enterprises. EDC is also responsible for improving the enabling environment for SMEs and youth.

VC4A  will ensure startups improve their operations and have access to business networks, knowledge and finance. They will to this via their online Startup Academy, establish connections with startup incubators and accelerators, and by implementing the Mentor Driven Capital (MDC) programme in all three countries

Butterfly Works supports several TVET centres to improve the curricula. Butterfly Works also supports Hubs in Abuja to improve their services of start-ups and small enterprises.

Hanze University of Applied Sciences has been working with Oxfam partners on the basic foundations of Futures Literacy. This work will be enhanced to fully implement FL in curricula and foster the mindset of FL within students and staff of partner organizations and participating universities. These measures are expected to lead to the initiation of the first Futures Literacy Innovation Hub in Africa.

In post-conflict Somaliland, Shaqodoon, is the partner that manages the Bits digital design school Hargabits, in Hargeisa. In Boroma, the Somaliland Skills Training Association, SOSTA, is offering various vocational and technical skills trainings and soft employability skills advise and trainings. The start-up accelerator is Innovate Ventures, supported by VC4A and focussed on tech start-ups. The project partners with Shuraako for Business Development Services and with Havoyoco for creating an enabling environment.

In Egypt, Icealex implements start-up support initiatives in Alexandria.  Ahead of the Curve is the Business Development Service partner, and since 2019 we have partnered with The Community Hub to create an enabling environment in country.


The 4-year project started in January 2020 and will run until December 2023 with a budget of € 11.2 million. WiP! is financed by the LEAD (Local Employment for African Development) programme of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. The first 4-year phase of WiP! was implemented during 2016-2019 with a budget of € 10.4 million. For more information about the project and its achievements, please see various Work in Progress! reports linked below


  • Project name:    Work in Progress!
  • Project period:   Four years, from 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2023
  • Target group:     Young women and men
  • Location:           Nigeria (Lagos, Nassarawa and Edo State), Egypt (Cairo and Alexandria), Somalia (post-conflict Somaliland)
  • Budget:            11.2 million euros


For more information please contact Haroon Khan, email address  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 start-ups 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.

Second cycle project kick off 2020

In January 2020, the Work in Progress! Alliance – consisting of three Dutch partners: Oxfam Novib, Venture Capital for Africa (VC4A) and Butterfly Works – 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 the 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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