Attached is a document for your information.
Additional personal opinion.
· How can policies and programmes overcome the challenges faced by rural youth in a cost-effective manner? If they target older youth, how could we apply them to support those under 18? Please share relevant examples and lessons from your experience.
· What are the most binding capacity constraints that you or your institution/organization encounter when designing, implementing and evaluating policies and programmes aiming to address the issues affecting rural youth under the age of 18? What are the data gaps regarding the challenges affecting rural youth employment and livelihoods that you periodically encounter?
Exclusion and information gap
Data and profiling of rural youths between 15-17 years in the 60,000 villages in localities is inadequate and or not accessible. Information on who 15-17 year age group are, who they will be in the near future, what they are doing, what they would wish to do, challenges/opportunities they face and solutions to them are either lacking, inaccessible or not exploited.
Nations/Regions and the world are now global villages where shortfalls in one area are opportunities for another area and vice versa. Understanding such dynamics regularly can also inform policy so as to avoid giving blanket solutions that may trigger more challenges. There is thus need for regular information at different scales to inform the age group on change in opportunities over time and the need to persist even where times are bad. In Uganda a drop in prices of commodities discourages many from engaging on the same in the subsequent production seasons, yet those who persist are rewarded with fair prices.
It would need studies and reports to inform on such questions over time. In Uganda, policy is more focused on how to address unemployment concerns of the 400,000 plus University graduates from public and private Universities. Such discussions on the FSN forum and associated publications may awaken leaders at all levels not to ignore the rural (15-17) age group.
Service delivery concerns
Advances in ICT and the low cost to access associated services have changed rural areas. Radios, Televisions (DSTV & Star Times-in Africa) that broadcast live football in Uganda among other programs are deep rooted in rural communities. They have exposed the rural folk to the real world of sport and entertainment. Telephones have also exposed the youths to social media from where they learn a lot more except farming and other employment opportunities! The rural youths now want more, that one cannot access in the rural areas. They wish to enjoy a life more than what a rural area offers, even if it meant sleeping in a makeshift structure in an urban area and having a meal a day.
Deliberate investments in other services including housing, electricity, health, recreation, and transport among others should be improved where appropriate in rural or peri urban areas where that age group is likely to be found, to motivate the youths to keep and work in rural areas. Facilities to inform the age group on good practice, employment among other opportunities may be established where they are with a message, “work in the village, stay where you desire”. The pressure to keep their livestock and or crops from thieves will force them reside next to their wealth.
How can education and vocational training in rural areas be improved to support rural adolescents and youth to productively engage in agriculture or related activities? What are the skills and support they need? What does the school-to-work transition for rural youth aged 15-17 look like and what works to effectively support rural youth during this transition?
Climate change and associated impacts in all sectors is known. The curricula in all public and private institutions are not reviewed to include the remedies to climate change and associated impacts on Agriculture. Secondly, entry to vocational institutions has been limited to candidates that meet certain requirements/qualifications. A review of the curricular should be thought of as well as unconditional admission of candidates to selected vocational institutions in the proximity of a mass of 15-17 age groups. Projects may be encouraged to establish demonstrations that are climate smart to address adaptation, mitigation and food security concerns. Most in that age group, drop out schools for a number of reasons. Such should not be ignored. Systems should be put in place to track drop outs wherever they are and reasons for it. Support to them wherever they are may then be tailored to their interests, circumstances and available opportunities.
· What approaches are most effective in overcoming the additional challenges rural youth under the age of 18 face in accessing decent jobs, including (decent) green jobs (e.g. skills mismatch, health and safety conditions, discrimination, exclusion) or becoming entrepreneurs (e.g. barriers in access to finance, producers organizations and markets)?
Selected participatory approaches and associated tools including but not limited to seasonal calendars may be applied to understand the activities and challenges faced by the (15-17 year) age group in their farm/food systems. Secondly, though a study may be required to understand the impact of the approach whenever tried out, Junior Farmer Field and Life Schools offer an opportunity to understand the target group, understand their challenges in the community and inform them on remedies to a number of problems they face in the community. The study is centred on a crop or animal around which other livelihood and or life concerns including human health, nutrition are integrated and discussed. Its success is however hinged on the capacity of the facilitators to mobilize, train and follow up youths. Upon graduation in process, follow up actions on farming as a business, cooperatives and marketing of farm products may be addressed with other stakeholders. Its major concern has been the coverage in a locality where the number of vulnerable youths may be high compared to the number of the vulnerable youths (15-17 year) target.
In the event that pests and disease are a challenge to selected crop or livestock enterprise, Plant-wise(Plant clinics and or Animal clinics) targeting youths may offer additional knowledge and skills to youths upon good sensitization on their value to their livelihood activities. It would be great to learn other approaches as innovations are coming up in many locations.