For countries coping with hunger, achieving food security depends on their capacity to manage their own natural resources effectively and design sound rural development policies. FAO's Young Professionals Programme assists developing countries and countries in transition to train young men and women in a wide range of fields relating to agriculture and food security. The programme expands the available pool of experienced professionals that these countries can draw from to reach their development goals.
Through the programme, young men and women from developing countries and countries in transition are given the opportunity to play an active role in FAO's activities. They are given well-defined assignments and their work contributes directly to important projects. FAO benefits from the fresh ideas and enthusiasm that these young professionals bring to their work, and the long-term benefits are also felt by developing countries and countries in transition. With the experience they gain at FAO, the participants in the Young Professionals Programme are able to contribute more effectively to agricultural and rural development in their own countries.
The programme is open to men and women under 35 who have earned at least a master's degree or, preferably, a Ph.D. in a field related to FAO's priority areas. Participants are assigned to projects outside their own countries for a period of one year. The assignment may be renewed for one additional year.
To date, some 130 young professionals have been trained through the programme at FAO headquarters or at its decentralized offices in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Near East.