Decent Rural Employment

G5-Sahel Regional Learning Route - Strengthening the resilience of the G5 Sahel region through the creation of jobs for rural youth


The week of 15November 2021 marked the start of the FAO-PROCASUR Regional Learning Route in the G5 Sahel, which will continue until February 2022. The learning route is a travel itinerary that allows exchange of knowledge among participants, organized thematically around successful host experiences in which local actors become also trainers.

The initiative is part of the project Building Resilience in the Sahel Region through Job Creation for Youth, funded by the Federal Government of Germany, Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). The ultimate goal of the project is to work together with rural youth to find solutions and innovative job plans for greener and decent rural employment opportunities, while bridging the humanitarian, development and peace nexus in the region.

Nowadays, the Sahel region faces many challenges:  climate change impacts, rising extremism and insecurity, lack of economic prospects and employment opportunities, poor access to education, vocational training and basic services.  The countries of the Group of Five for the Sahel (G5 Sahel) - namely Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger - are experiencing a demographic transition characterized by a growing population and a “youth bulge.” The region has a population of over 75 million, of which about one third is aged 15-34 and over 60% is under 25. Two thirds of these young people live in rural areas. In this context, enhancing decent and greener employment opportunities for young people is central to breaking the cycle of poverty and boosting social inclusion and resilience in the region.

The Regional Learning Route contributes to this objective. Organized by FAO and PROCASUR in collaboration with the governments of G5 Sahel countries, the Route is an interactive capacity-building activity - a continuous process of training in the field and exchange of knowledge among participants.In particular,the Regional Route consists in a planned travel with learning objectives structured around two main components: i) Exchange of knowledge with development agents; and ii)  identification of successful experiences in which local actors have solved specific problems in an innovative way. Overall, the Route promotes analysis and reflection throughout a continuous learning process, before, during and after the Route itself, while providing an appropriate space for peer-to-peer exchange between learners and their local hosts. The aim is to develop and identify innovations in terms of resilience and creation of jobs tailored to the different contexts of rural youth, which can be adapted and applied within the participants' organizations or activities.

The activity has gathered so far more than 80 participants from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, 50 of them were young rural women and men from different regions and constituencies of each country. The experience was also enriched by the presence of around 30 representatives of government institutions, mostly ministries of agriculture and employment and coordinators of youth projects in the region.  The first week of the event had a hybrid method with on-site attendees in Mauritania and online attendees in the other G5 Sahel countries.

Participants have exchanged about two main case studies in Mauritania : ‘la Promotion de l'Emploi et de l'Insertion Professionnelle en Milieu Rural’ (Pelimir) and ‘Programme Sécurité Alimentaire - Formation - Insertion - Résilience - Emploi’ (Safire-Brakna region) conducted by the GRET-Caritas. Furthermore, the presentation of government’s projects such as Mon Projet, Mon Avenir’ and the `Marathon de l’Enterpreneur’ (led by the World Bank), and ODI’s contribution focused on youth radicalization in the region have brought important perspectives to the discussion.

The Mauritanian stage of the Route allowed a rich exchange between participants, the coordinators of the above case studies and their beneficiaries in four different cities, Nouakchott, Boghé, Thila and Ari-Haara. These discussions spotlighted an approach that links market demands to the diverse aspirations of young people. In addition, young participants from all the G5 Sahel countries highlighted the need to have not only training courses, formal certifications and market linkages, but also a long-term strategy that would provide them with a platform for support and dialogue on their new agribusiness plans.

The ongoing process will allow for further exchanges in December 2021, focusing on access to land, the creation and strengthening of youth organizations/networks and information and communication technologies to support agricultural initiatives, with case studies in Mali and Burkina Faso. In January, participants will again travel to analyze the last case study of the Route, La Maison de l’Enterprise in Burkina Faso.

Watch the video news in Arabic of the Learning Route Launch: دورة تكوينية لصالح شباب دول الخمس بالساحل تقرير العربي زيدان - YouTube