Journal of Sustainable Social Change




Youth unemployment remains a global threat to the achievement of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals. It impedes the fight to end poverty in all its forms, limits opportunities to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, and undermines a country’s ability to reduce inequalities. In Sub-Saharan African nations, the unemployment rate is particularly high because the environment is prone to volatility caused by poor governance, chronic conflicts, and corruption. Unemployed graduates who lack effective strategies risk failing to generate income for themselves and their families. Thus, my purpose in this qualitative multiple case study, which was grounded in achievement motivation theory, was to explore the strategies unemployed youths use to generate income for their households. Four unemployed South Sudanese graduates were interviewed and directly observed, and the gathered data were thematically analyzed. Three themes emerged: exploitation of available opportunities including taking on casual work, working for others to get starting capital, and engaging in trade and microbusiness. A key recommendation was developed: i.e., provide training programs to help unemployed graduates change their mindsets, which value white-collar jobs over casual work, trade, and microbusiness; they can then embark on the identification and exploitation of available opportunities that can create anything of economic value. The implications for positive social change include evidence that unemployed graduates are adopting appropriate strategies to improve their household income. The findings also have the potential to help youth empowerment institutions address the gaps in strategies for directing youths to generate income.