Decent Rural Employment

Scaling-up the MIJA trainings for young agripreneurs in Senegal


In Senegal, after piloting it in 2017, ICA has further consolidated the Modèle d’Insertion et d’installation des Jeunes Agripreneurs (MIJA), a network of rural hubs for training and incubation services in the agri-food sector, in partnership with the Agence Nationale pour la Promotion de l’Emploi des Jeunes (ANPEJ).

Over the past two years, the programme has focused on consolidating the MIJA approach by operationalizing three platforms (Mbilor, Leona and Silane), setting up MIJA local committees, and completing the MIJA training package in partnership with the Institut de Développement de l'Esprit d'Entreprise (IDEE). In addition to the technical modules on poultry farming, cattle fattening, aquaculture, and horticulture (corresponding to the MIJA prioritized value chains), new modules have been developed on agricultural transformation, decent work, entrepreneurship and marketing.

20 MIJA Trainers have been selected and trained in November 2020, which have subsequently formally registered their network in April 2021 as REFORMA -Réseau des Formateurs du Modèle d’Insertion des Jeunes en Agrobusiness.

Through the programme, a cohort of 18 return migrants and 65 local youth beneficiaries have been trained for two weeks in December 2020 on the basis of the revised training package. Furthermore, the members the Réseau Africain pour la Promotion de l’Agriculture (RAPEA) and the Confédération des Réseaux de Jeunes Agripreneurs du Sénégal (CRJAS) also received a dedicated training on the MIJA tools in December 2021, to equip them for the future replication of the approach.

Further, a dedicated one-week training on agro-processing has been conducted from 27 to 31 October 2021 to strengthen the capacities of 75 young women on the main techniques for processing and packaging of cereals, fruits, vegetables, and milk in order for them to carry out their businesses in accordance with agrifood standards.

A gender assessment of the overall MIJA approach is ongoing, with the aim to analyze the reasons for the limited representation of young women in the cohort of MIJA trainees (25%), and suggest a strategy for enhancing the gender-sensitiveness of the approach. Capacity building sessions will also be organized by the gender consultant in the first quarter of 2022 for MIJA stakeholders, trainers and MIJA local committees.

In addition, entry points for collaboration have been identified with the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Senegal, which will support the cooperative development component of the MIJA approach, while the ILO PROMEFI project could benefit from the MIJA network of trainers and training package.

Following the interest generated by the MIJA model, the Government of Senegal has requested the technical support of FAO to accompany its replication and scaling-up. The recently approved Programme d’Accélération du Modèle d’Insertion des Jeunes Agripreneurs (PA _ MIJA) will start in January 2022, with a duration of three years. The 3,5 million USD programme is funded by the Fonds de financement de la formation professionnelle et technique (3FPT Fund) under the Ministère de l’emploi, de la formation professionnelle, l’Apprentissage et de l’Insertion (MEFPAI), thus demonstrating the significant commitment of the government of Senegal to continue boosting young agripreneurship in the country.