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Foro Global sobre Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición • Foro FSN

Re: Call for experiences and effective policy approaches in addressing food security and nutrition in the context of changing rural-urban dynamics

Morgane Danielou
Morgane DanielouPrivate Sector MechanismFrance

Proponent 
Private Sector Mechanism of the CFS

Main responsible entity
TechnoServe

Date/Timeframe
STRYDE 1: 2011 -  2014
STRYDE 2.0: 2014 - 2019

Funding source
The MasterCard Foundation

Location
East Africa: Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda + Tanzania (phase 2).

Background/Context
Sub-Saharan Africa has the world’s youngest and fastest-growing population. The median age has dropped to 18 and there are 70 million more Africans under the age of 14 than there were a decade ago. In addition, the rural population of sub-Saharan Africa will increase by an estimated 150 million people by 2050.

Between 2000 and 2008, about a third of the 74 million (24.6 million) jobs created in Africa were for people ages 15 to 24. However, the number of youth ready for employment far outstrips the jobs being created.

While a growing number of rural youth are migrating to cities, 70 percent remain in rural areas. Those who stay often lack the skills and knowledge necessary to capitalize on the opportunities available to them. In the long term, youth unemployment can hinder economic growth and lead to political and social unrest.

Focus/Objectives
The Strengthening Rural Youth Development through Enterprise (STRYDE) was a four-year, $11.5 million partnership between TechnoServe and The MasterCard Foundation to help rural young women and men in East Africa transition to economic independence, mainly by delivering services including skills training, business development and mentoring to young people. Based on the successes and lessons learned from the first phase, a second phase of the program will run until July 2019 targeting additional youth and including new geographies (Tanzania and the Northern region of Uganda).

Key characteristics of the experience/process
Agriculture in East Africa is a significant and growing sector of the economy and has the potential to create sustainable employment and income opportunities both on- and off-farm. Through the STRYDE program, young people in rural areas learnt about opportunities in agriculture and gained the market-ready skills to benefit from this demand. Participants in this program took part in a three-month training program to develop life, entrepreneurship and career skills, and they received an additional nine months of mentorship and counseling from a youth trainer. Participants also gained practical business exposure through an experiential business exercise. Young women and men had the opportunity to participate in program-sponsored business plan competitions and local job fairs featuring community businesses. The knowledge they gained from STRYDE helped them to identify the best economic opportunity for their skills and interests.

STRYDE 2.0 is focusing especially on sustainability. The program will develop the capacity of system actors – local public and private sector partners – to enable them to take on key functions of the model so that the impact can be sustained after the end of the five-year program.

Key actors involved and their role
The MasterCard Foundation: provided funding, experience and expertise in helping people living in poverty to access opportunities to learn and prosper.
TechnoServe: provided extension and training services.

Key changes observed with regards to food security and nutrition and sustainable agriculture and food systems

  • Increased wealth: most STRYDE alumni increased their incomes by an average of 133 percent, with 90 percent now saving regularly.
  • High share of engagement in on- and off-farm activities: among who have completed training, 37 percent are engaged in farming, 30 percent are currently running micro- and small enterprises, 11 percent have found wage employment and 6 percent have returned to school.
  • Improvement of youth’s skills: participants became better equipped to find employment, to establish or enhance businesses, and to provide reliable sources of income for themselves and their families.

Challenges faced

  • Negative perceptions of agriculture as an employment option.
  • Lack of technical skills among youth
  • Adapting to the extremely broad variations in education level among rural youth
  • Extending the program to the most vulnerable youth.

Lessons/Key messages

  • An unprecedented portion of rural youth is leaving the agricultural sector in search of other employment in urban areas. This has serious implications for agricultural productions and, therefore, food security. Ensuring that the agri-food cultural sector provides viable and attractive career prospects for young people will be key to avoid excessive migration of youth to urban areas. This could be done by developing agricultural industries and promoting entrepreneurship.
  • Access to educational resources and more opportunities for post-graduate entrepreneurial and technical training related to agriculture are key to make agriculture attractive to youth.
  • The main factors of STRYDE’s success in achieving this were:
    - Private sector engagement: Business Plan Competition sponsorship, employment opportunities and technical skills development
    - Significant support and engagement from Rwanda’s Ministry of Youth and ICT and district authorities
    - Participatory training methodology using real life examples
    - Exchange visits to learn and gain hands-on experience,
    - Personalized mentorship and coaching for entrepreneurs
    - Personal effectiveness training