Integration of population education into programmes for out-of-school rural youth: a review of pilot activities in Africa, Asia and Latin America

Table of Contents


Günter Hemrich

Agricultural Extension and Education Service Research,
Training and Extension Division FAO Sustainable Development Department


Rome, 1996

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The following points summarize some of the key lessons learned through the INT/92/P94 pilot activities and issues to be addressed by FAO and UNFPA with regard to population education for out-of-school rural youth.

Lessons Learned

1. The pilot activities demonstrated that population education curricula can be effectively introduced through training and the provision of prototype materials, provided that: a) local resource institutions are involved in the planning of the pilot activities; b) partner organizations have the technical capacity to set up and carry out training activities; c) sufficient resources for training are made available; d) the curricula address the felt needs of out-of-school young men and women determined on the basis of training needs assessments; e) population education leader guides reflect local agro-ecological and socio-cultural conditions; and f) national capacity in material development and training programme preparation, implementation and evaluation is available when further adaptation of the prototype materials to local conditions is necessary.

2. Population education training curricula based on an integrated approach, that is, combining training in population and agriculture, the environment, employment, income, nutrition, and health with the imparting of life skills (such as negotiation, decision-making and leadership skills) and with the creation of income-generating opportunities were particularly relevant for out-of-school rural youth. Adolescent health and family planning education were most effective when placed in a context reflecting the daily lives of out-of-school young men and women. Thus, it is important that population education does not only address issues related to population growth, but other population variables as well, such as migration. In view of the above, the FAO leader guide definition of population education needs to be revised.

3. The strategy for the institutionalisation of population education curricula in non-school-based educational settings did not lead to the anticipated continuation of population education training after the termination of the pilot activities. This was largely a result of the fact that non-school-based educational institutions faced substantial constraints in terms of institutional infrastructure, financial resources, and the number of permanent staff. Given the limited degree of institutionalisation achieved during the pilot phase, additional resources are necessary for follow-up at the country level. Future institutionalization strategies would also need to place higher priority on the assessment of resources available and resources needed for long-term planning of population education programmes in non-formal settings.

Issues to be Addressed by FAO

1. The definition of population education as used in the FAO leader guide books needs to be revised to reflect the integrated approach adopted by the project.

2. The capacity constraints of institutions dealing with out-of-school rural youth need to be explored further and alternative institutionalisation strategies for population education for out-of-school rural youth need to be devised.

3. The preparation of population education prototype materials on the basis of agro-ecological zoning, socio-cultural specificity and gender variables rather than on a continent-wide basis needs to be explored.

Issues to be Addressed by UNFPA

1. The significance of population education for out-of-school rural youth must not only be acknowledged in principle, but be reflected in programme resource allocation. Given the difficulties encountered in institutionalising educational programmes for out-of-school rural youth, further resources are required for follow-up to the pilot activities.

2. Piloting population education approaches at the inter-regional level requires follow-up at the country programme level. A framework ensuring the early involvement of UNFPA Country Programmes in inter-regional activities needs to be developed to ensure the sustainability of inter-regional efforts.

Finally, a roundtable bringing together FAO, UNFPA and other organizations working with out-of-school rural youth may be useful to capitalize on lessons learned, find solutions to sustainability constraints highlighted in this report and deliberate on follow-up strategies to the pilot activities.

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Table of Contents


1 Introduction

Project objectives, target group and strategy
Terms of reference
Evaluation procedures and methods

2 Analysis of the project approach & of pilot activities

Institutionalisation of population education
The training process
The role of the leader guides
Monitoring and Evaluation
The impact of population education training
Follow-up to pilot activities at the national level

3 Conclusions and recommendations


Appendix 1: Overview of pilot activities in Latin America, Africa and Asia

Latin America

Appendix 2: List of Persons Met