Global Farmer Field School Platform

Youth and Junior Farmer Field and Life Schools 

Junior Farmer Field and Life Schools (JFFLS) teach vulnerable children and young people more than farming; they focus on life skills, social tools, problem-solving and self-confidence. JFFLS use theatre, dance and role-playing to approach sensitive topics (e.g. abuse and child labour), often showing productions in public to further discuss these issues at community level. JFFLS promote progressive attitudes, including gender equality.

JFFLS: a response to the HIV and AIDS orphan crises

FAO first developed JFFLS in response to the growing number of orphans and vulnerable children during the HIV and AIDS crises. Based on FAO-pioneered FFS and on an adult life school tackling the rapid spread of HIV in Cambodia, JFFLS was born in the same decade. The methodology was field tested in Mozambique and Kenya in 2004. After a successful pilot, FAO and other partners introduced similar JFFLS initiatives in other sub-Saharan African countries suffering from the AIDS and HIV crises. JFFLS was born and by the end of 2009, more than 20 000 children and youth had graduated from over 500 JFFLS in 12 countries and territories.

Innovations in the JFFLS approach

JFFLS adapts to local needs, incorporating a wide range of life skills in the curriculum and shifting the targeted group according to the context. In addition to orphans, JFFLS have targeted demobilized child soldiers and young combatants (e.g. Sudan and South Sudan), young refugees and IDPs (e.g. Kenya, Uganda and Mali), young migrants (e.g. Tunisia) and children and youth returning to their homes after conflict. The methodology has also been used in contexts of protracted crises (e.g. West Bank and Gaza Strip), working with youth who have learnt no farming or other survival skills from their parents, enabling them to earn a living and avoid risky behaviour that could increase their vulnerability and food insecurity. JFFLS continue to innovate and new life skill topics relate to youth employment, youth migration, green jobs and climate change, job creation and farming as a business, targeting young people up to 35 years old. To date more than 25 000 young women and men have participated in JFFLS in over 20 countries.