BAMAKO, MALI-- A national workshop was held during August 2002, as a final part of a major FAO Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) project, Training and the Insertion of Young People into the Agriculture and the Rural Sector. The project, carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Sport, was implemented to find ways to enable young people to make a satisfying and financially rewarding life for themselves and their families in rural Mali. A plan of action was also discussed and agreed upon. They include: (1) Volume I: The Diagnosis and Analysis of Problems Associated with Young People Finding Meaningful Employment in Rural Area; (2) Volume II: A Strategy for Empowering Young People to Find Meaningful Employment in Rural Areas; and (3) Volume III: The Action Plan.

A good part of this 12-month project was devoted to gathering relevant information that was used to develop a strategy and subsequently design a plan of action. The analysis took into account the macro-economic situation of the country; the demographics of young people in the target age range, 8 to 35; existing relevant education and training opportunities; access to resources; current perspectives for employment in terms of supply and demand; and special problems facing young people seeking employment in rural areas.

Given that the age range is fairly broad within the definition of youth by the Government of Mali, the Strategy sub-divided the target population into three categories: education for the youngest, professional training for adolescents and actually finding employment opportunities for the older age group. The strategy includes six areas: (1) building the capacity of young people through education and training; (2) supporting the development of essential rural infrastructure, (3) promoting the employment of rural youth, (4) facilitating the access to land, water, financial resources and new technologies, (5) reinforce the private and informal sectors; and (6) improvement of the political, institutional, legal, social and cultural environment for youth in rural area.

The Plan of Action includes seven sub programmes and includes a detailed description of objectives, priority actions, expected results, activities, indicators of accomplishments and collaborating organizations. The three principal documents produced by this project will be available soon in French through this web site.