FAO in Kenya

FAO, IOM strengthen partnership to boost job creation for Kenya’s rural youth and reduce migration

Michael Pillinger, Chief of Mission, IOM Kenya and Gabriel Rugalema, FAO Representative in Kenya sign agreement. Photo Credit: ©FAO/Neema Mutemi

The growing rate of rural out-migration by Kenya's young people has complex implications for the development of counties, particularly in the agricultural sub-sectors. If well managed, migration can significantly contribute to boost rural development through financial remittances and transfer of knowledge and ideas. However, it can also have negative impacts that need to be minimized.

The agreement between FAO and IOM in Kenya (May, 2019) sets out a framework for technical collaboration between the two UN agencies to support the National and County Governments to address the challenges and opportunities that lie at the intersection of migration, rural development and food systems.

This UN-UN agreement follows a global MoU between FAO and IOM signed in 2016, and ensures further complementarity and maximized impact of the organizations’ efforts in supporting Kenya in the implementation of Global Compact for Migration (GCM). The agreement takes into account the agriculture and rural development perspectives, when dealing with migration issues and will seek to harness the potential of migration for rural development through improved policy coherence and inter-ministerial dialogue as well as strengthened coordination mechanisms.  Strengthened policy coherence & inter-ministerial dialogue are key dimensions to be addressed by policies and programmes addressing Migration, and the two agencies will work towards:

  1.  Developing a guidance tool to integrate migration considerations in policies and programmes at county and national level. The tool will guide the two tiers of Government (and other stakeholders) in integrating migration, social protection and agriculture in rural development planning;
  2. Providing technical assistance to policy makers and practitioners to maximise synergies between migration, social protection, food systems and rural development;
  3. Contributing to the achievements of the objectives of the Global Compact on Migration to make migration a positive option so that no one is left behind.

Some drivers of rural out-migration include, high rates of  youth unemployment, rural poverty, lack of social protection, inequality and environmental degradation. Where youth populations are high, as in Kenya, strategic investment in their empowerment, education and labour market opportunities are needed to give them the opportunity to live to their full potential at their places of origin.

Migration also presents unique opportunities for contributing to more resilient livelihoods, territorial development and stronger food systems by fostering remittances investments and contributing to the transfer of knowledge and skills in agriculture and agribusiness. FAO support to the Government of Kenya through the Country Programming Framework (2018 - 2022) contributes towards creating an enabling policy and investment environment for job creation and increasing the resilience of rural households to make the process of structural  transformation more pro-poor and inclusive.