Decent Rural Employment

ICA Programme: Leveraging ICTs to promote decent youth employment


A common feature of the country-level implementation of the FAO Integrated Country Approach (ICA) for promoting decent rural employment is the active engagement of youth into policy dialogue on agri-food systems’ and rural development. On this purpose, the ICA programme is exploring and establishing pilot models to foster community building and engagement at local level, adopting participatory communication principles and leveraging the potential of ICTs. Such models are demand-driven and fully tailored to local needs.

An innovative labour intermediation service in Guatemala

In Guatemala, one of the dimensions of the territorial approach promoted by ICA is the adaptation of labour intermediation and information services to better target the needs of the rural youth. The National Employment System in Guatemala works through a network of employment windows (VUMEs) established at municipal level, which are distributed across the country and support labour intermediation, orientation and information services. Yet, the service is not easily accessible from remote rural areas and it is often difficult to implement in a context of lack of employers. To address the issue, FAO and the Ministries of Labour, Economy and Agriculture have joined efforts to pilot a rural-friendly window model (VUMErural) in the municipality of Tejutla, Department of San Marcos, focused on providing employment-related services that are more adapted to the needs of the rural youth and that provide locally relevant information.

The model is designed to facilitate rural youth's access to labour orientation and intermediation services, but also to agriculture support services and entrepreneurship opportunities. A rural communication service integrating a web platform and a mobile application is being developed to amplify the information offer and reach of the window. Thanks to the use of social media, highly popular among rural youth in the country, this service will allow a larger number of users not only to receive, but also to request and exchange timely and customized information or tips for enhancing agricultural practices, commercial networks and entrepreneurial skills.

"This model is easily scalable and provides a platform where extension workers, producers and rural youth communities can access information and dedicated services, share knowledge, develop local content, and ultimately improve their agri-enterprises" said Ileana Grandelis, FAO Project Officer and ICA Programme Coordinator.

In four months, since March 2017, 250 youth have benefited from the window's services. 20% of them accessed labour orientation or direct training support, 50% external training offered by partners, 5% found a dependent job and 14% are receiving technical support to start or strengthen their business.

A web-based National Observatory of Rural Employment in Senegal

In Senegal, mobile subscriptions have registered an increase of 116% in the past 6 years. To harness the potential of ICTs in the country, ICA is supporting the National Agency for the Promotion of Youth Employment (ANPEJ) in the development of a web- and mobile-based National Observatory of Rural Employment (ONER).

"The initiative is fully in line with our national priorities", said Amadou Lamine Dieng, Director-General of ANPEJ, which this year has received 1,284,418 USD from the African Development Bank for the establishment of a national information system on the labour market.

The ONER is thought as a dynamic online hub that leverages mobile technology and serves as a platform for rural youth, producers and development partners to monitor the national labour market, get information regarding agricultural products and collect data on the agricultural sector.

The Observatory will benefit from a portfolio of mobile applications that FAO is developing to offer information and advisory services to farmers in the field. The apps will be tailored to the local contexts, with a particular emphasis on the needs of young, self-employed entrepreneurs, taking into account the distribution of languages in the country (Wolof 38.7%, Pular 26.5%, Serer 15%, Mandinka 4.2%) and the national illiteracy rate - which is still at 40% and higher in poor rural communities.

In order to develop the Observatory, a partnership has been established with the local youth-led organization Yeesal Agri-Hub, which developed the technical part of the platform and will update it with information and agricultural data. Yeesal Agri-Hub will be also in charge of disseminating the platform through online networks and media channels, in order to reach the final audience and make the Observatory effective and useful for youth. Furthermore, a Kenyan learning and development center, IRES, is providing training and support to the young developers and data collectors from Yeessal Agri-Hub (29 youth in total), in order to build local capacity and enhance the operationalization of the platform.

ONER is expected to be launched by the end of 2017.

"The Observatory will be an integrated platform that will allow rural youth and producers to exchange and share knowledge on the agriculture sector, making information on the rural labour market easily accessible" said Amadou Lamine Dieng.

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