Decent Rural Employment

ICA Programme: Promoting rural youth employment in Senegal and Uganda


On Thursday, 3 March 2016, FAO staff and representatives from the governments of Senegal and Uganda gathered together in Rome to share first-hand experiences on the implementation of the programme Integrated County Approach (ICA) for promoting decent rural youth employment.

The ICA programme was launched by FAO in May 2015, in Guatemala, Senegal and Uganda. The programme aims to generate lasting policy change to foster youth employment and entrepreneurship in agriculture. In particular, at country level ICA provides capacity and technical support to enhance the employment content and youth focus of policies and programmes for rural development.

The programme implementation is supported in the field by ICA national coordinators, who are based in the respective FAO Country Offices. The ICA Coordinators from Uganda and Senegal were among the panellists who animated the info-sharing event in Rome. They stressed the importance of making agriculture more attractive to the youth by showing that, when an enabling environment is in place, solid entrepreneurial skills applied to the agricultural domain can lead to successful agribusinesses.

According to the panellists, bringing back the youth to the fields would be an important step towards the double goal of innovating agricultural practices and exploiting the huge potential of the agricultural sector in terms of job creation. "Our main objective is to promote entrepreneurship in agriculture" explained Jean Pierre Senghor, Coordinator of the Programme National des Domaines Agricoles Communautaires (PRODAC) in Senegal. "Thanks to our programme, youth can access land and water and acquire agricultural and entrepreneurial skills. The Agricultural Community Domains are incubators of modern entrepreneurs that can lead the agricultural development in our country."

By accompanying ongoing national efforts, the ICA programme helps national stakeholders to define effective strategies, which address in particular the challenges faced by young people in accessing training, land and markets.

In Senegal, the ICA programme works with the Agence Nationale pour la Promotion de l'Emploi des Jeunes (ANPEJ). "FAO is supporting us in the development of a national policy on rural youth employment and more broadly in creating the enabling environment to make agriculture more modern and attractive to the youth" said Ousmane Seck, Director of the ANPEJ Partnership Office.

In Uganda, with the support of the ICA programme, the Government is developing a national strategy for youth in agriculture, directly contributing to the recently approved National Action Plan on Youth Employment (NAPYE).

Ogwang Yafesi, from the Ugandan Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries stated: "FAO's support arrived timely. They are helping us understand how to integrate youth in agricultural value chains, from production to market, in order to solve the youth unemployment issue". Mr Yafesi also explained that "through ICA, we are mainstreaming rural youth employment issues in the existing strategic documents and programmes. Moreover, a multi-stakeholders technical working group, including representatives from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, will lead the development of a national strategy for youth inclusion in agriculture."

Participants also highlighted that, in the framework of this integrated approach, FAO plays a crucial role in mapping different agencies and initiatives at country level, facilitating synergies and insisting on capacity development and knowledge generation. The ICA programme capitalizes all experiences and integrates existing models to promote youth-friendly and gender-sensitive systems of production and rural enterprises, addressing the multidimensional needs of rural youth.