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High Level Panel of Experts open e-consultations

Re: Promoting youth engagement and employment in agriculture and food systems - e-consultation on the Report’s scope, proposed by the HLPE Steering Committee

Mahesh Chander
Mahesh ChanderICAR-Indian Veterinary Research Institute India

Ariane Genthon’s comment on rural girls under 18 inspired me to write, how assets as small as bicycle can empower rural girls in developing countries

When I see girls now cycling to schools in rural areas, I see them empowered, since in my young age, only a few boys had access to cycles, while girls were not allowed to ride bicycle in my village.

Tremendous efforts are being made worldwide to reduce the gender gap in education, yet It’s true there are still significant barriers to girls’ education and empowerment—particularly for adolescent girls. For instance, In India, due to continued dominant patriarchal norms, the birth of a girl is still a cause for mourning. India has a long way to go to ensure that every girl has the opportunity to complete secondary school. Fortunately, simple interventions, like the humble bicycle, which can promote accessibility to distant schools, and providing life skills education can increase school retention rates, improve learning outcomes, and reduce early marriages. Bicycles have proven to be wheels of change and evidence suggests they can successfully boost rural girls’ enrollment in secondary school.

Despite the many efforts made by the Indian government and nonprofits, the high drop-out rate of girls, particularly in rural areas, leads to 47 percent of girls getting married before the legal age of 18, and 20 percent before their 15th year. In addition to child marriages, some of the major barriers to educational attainment for adolescent girls are a lack of access to secondary schools in rural areas and social mind sets among parents that do not value the importance of educating daughters as compared to sons.

Bicycle- reduce dependency on male members of home, boost self confidence, facilitate going to schools or skill learning centres, work place. Girls can do many tasks without waiting for men to help by giving a ride for these place which is a obligation and subject to their availability.




Some of the the most recent references that should be considered in this report, in context of employmenetExtension, & Advisory services for youth

FAO. (2018). Youth employment in agriculture. Conference report. Rome: FAO.

Flink, I., Vaast, C., Jacobs, J. (2018). Youth in Agricultural Cooperatives: Challenges and Opportunities. Amsterdam: Royal Tropical Institute (KIT)

Franzel, S., Kinyua, H., Rucibigango, M., Davis, K., and Makh, S.(2019).Youth in Extension and Advisory Services: Rwanda. Developing Local Extension Capacity Project.USAID, Washington D.C.

McNamara, P. and Bohn, A. (2017). Opinion: 3 ways extension services can engage and empower rural youth. Global Views. Champagne-Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois

McGill, K. (2018). Cultivating Youth Entrepreneurs in Rwanda’s Agriculture Sector. Research Triangle Park,North Carolina:RTI International

USAID Youth Power Program. (2018). What works in Youth and Agriculture, Food Security, and Nutrition. Retrieved from Youth Power: securit...

Yami, M., Shiferaw, F., Abdoulaye, T., Alene, A.D., Bamba, Z. and Manyong, V. (2019). African rural youth engagement in agribusiness: achievements, limitations and lessons. Sustainability, 11:185:1-15.