Flexible Multi-Partner Mechanism (FMM)

The entrepreneurship factory: harnessing the talent of rural youth in Guatemala

Key impacts

  • 700 rural young women and men increased their skills, connected to networks, and accessed land, finance and employment services.
  • 36 (out of 60) youths  trained by la Factoria in Guatemala had established solid processes in their communities and 498 started a business or obtained paid work through employment services piloted with the Ministry of Labour (The VUMErural).
  • 60 youth were trained in agrientrepreneurship in Senegal.
  • 90 youth were trained in agricultural production techniques through the MIJA platforms.

In Guatemala, rural youth often hold precarious jobs in the informal economy, earning half of the minimum wage. Increasingly, they are trying to migrate to urban areas or abroad, as a last resort.

To address this challenge, FAO implemented coordinated initiatives in migration-prone areas of the country. One of these is the Factoria del emprendimiento y la Mipyme, a training and incubation lab helping youth start up community-centred agrientrepreneurial activities.

The initiative provided a three-month training on entrepreneurial skills and local development to 60 rural youth. In parallel, the initiative supported youth in assessing local markets and formulating financially viable project proposals.

“In my community there are often tough decisions to be taken, such as sending children or even babies abroad,” said María Chum Pastor, 26, one of the youth involved in La Factoria. “Everyone migrates: young boys and girls, young women and even entire families.”

Thanks to this initiative, she and her community – Climentoro, in the Municipality of Aguacatán – have designed a multi-sectorial business project that focuses on cattle rearing, production and commercialization of cheese, potatoes and green vegetables and the elaboration of organic fertilizers.

“Agriculture is part of our culture; it is a gift from our predecessors,”
she said. “So we need to preserve it by making it more sustainable. The project is generating a change in my life and in the life of my community, of which I now feel proud.”

Meanwhile, Manuel Antonio Figueroa Pérez, 20, from the Municipality of Tacaná, is establishing an eco-touristm centre called Linda Vista, which will involve the entire community by commercializing local products such as mushrooms, fruits, medicinal plants and coffee. “Thanks to the training offered by la Factoría, I am able to see that there are endless resources that have never been put to use and from which it is now possible to benefit,” he said. “I believe that in five years I will be part of an enterprise or an ecotourism complex that is productive and generates decent job opportunities.”

 Manuel and Maria are two of the 60 “Rural Youth Champions”, trained from March to August 2017, to become agents of rural development within their communities.

Around 50 of these champions are actively collaborating with public and private institutions, including local authorities, to give visibility to their projects. Many of them have already mobilized financial resources (microcredits) and support (including technical assistance and land access granted by Municipalities in more than 10 cases) to initiate the implementation of their business ideas. Around 20 community groups are formalizing cooperatives, which will be crucial to access available public incentives and market opportunities, such as the renewed school feeding programme. The cooperative established by Manuel was the first one to be formally registered (in April 2018).

FAO also collaborated with the ministries of Agriculture, Labour and Economy, development partners and non governmental organizations, to launch the webplatform www.Chisparural.gt. This site will further increase the visibility of these and future initiatives. It will also facilitate youth access to crowdfunding and other forms of investment, including diaspora funding and remittances.

FAO is now working with public and private stakeholders to identify innovative solutions for the youth to leverage investment capital and formalize their businesses.

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