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Reducing rural poverty through youth employment in Mali

Towards Youth mobility, food security and rural poverty reduction

Photo: ©FAO/Mali

15 March 2016 - The agricultural sector plays a central role in the economy of Mali. Malian youth start working from a young age but lack opportunities for growth due to their limited access to land, market, microcredits and skills development.

In August 2014, FAO and the Government of Mali launched the 2-year project Youth at Work: Reducing rural poverty, which operates in the regions of Kayes and Mopti. The initiative is funded by the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund (ASTF) and aims to generate attractive and decent job opportunities for rural youth, in an effort to increase resilience and strengthen food security. The project is expected to contribute towards the creation of 400 new decent work opportunities and the improvement of 1,000 existing jobs.

The project builds upon a set of FAO’s tools and approaches, involving a wide range of national key stakeholders. In particular, FAO is supporting the Malian Government in the development and implementation of an integrated model for decent youth employment creation within selected agricultural value chains in the country. Strong efforts have been channelled towards private and public partnerships, through the adoption of the FAO’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Model.

The ultimate goal of the Model is to fully integrate youth employment issues into national strategies and programmes in order to guarantee the long-term sustainability of the interventions, while facilitating youth’s access to training, microcredits, markets and land.

The capacity development component of the project is based on FAO’s Junior Farmer Field and Life Schools (JFFLS) training methodology, which has been applied in various countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Thanks to its adaptability and ability to address the multidimensional needs of rural youth, the JFFLS provides vocational training specifically tailored to rural settings, combined with employment promotion and access to markets. 

So far, in the framework of the Youth at Work project, FAO and the Malian Ministry of Rural Development have trained 41 trainers on the JFFLS approach.In particular, from 18 January to 10 March 2015, Mrs. Josepha Mukamana, International Master Trainer from Rwanda, facilitated a vibrant six-week training of trainers and a subsequent two-week refreshing workshop, with the support of FAO national experts. Through an approach that combines theory with practice, the working groups involved have learned how to conduct their own field observations, analyse their ecosystems and exchange experiences to help rural youth identify innovative solutions to the challenges faced in their communities.

“I loved the first training” said Ms. Traoré Fatoumata Coulibaly, Agricultural Field Agent at Direction de l’Agriculture de Kayes. “And the second refreshing session allowed me to improve my capacities and to practice while training the young facilitators”.

In total, the trainers were able to instruct 74 facilitators, who in turn followed 49 groups and 318 beneficiaries in 6 different value chains (fattening, aviculture, milk production, horticulture, rice and aquaculture). Every group was provided with a starter kit and trained to facilitate the startup of entrepreneurial activities.

Mr Abba Kassambara, member of the Youth Regional Council of Mopti said: "This is a pioneering approach, which could bring a change in the vision and future of young people in Mali".

Useful links

Decent Rural Employment (FAO)

 Rural Youth Mobility project

Video is available here: | English | French |

Contact:| Carlo.Angelico@fao.org |Communication and Information Specialist – DRE Team |

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