Decent Rural Employment

Skills development

Chronic youth un- and underemployment and poverty can be attributed in part to young people’s limited access to skills development opportunities. In many developing countries, standard education fails to equip rural youth with the knowledge and skills needed to seize the few available productive and decent employment opportunities. This also limits young people’s capacities to pursue viable livelihood alternatives, including starting their own rural enterprises.

Meanwhile, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programmes often ignore the specific characteristics of rural labour markets and fail to address specific vocational training needs of rural workers. Even when TVET institutions do offer education that is relevant to the agricultural sector and rural areas, rural youth often have difficulties accessing these skills development opportunities because facilities are too far away or the education itself is prohibitively expensive.

To address this challenge, FAO has developed the Junior Farmer Field and Life Schools (JFFLS) methodology. JFFLS is an innovative approach that trains vulnerable rural youth in the agricultural, business and life skills needed to earn a decent living, and to become more productive and active members of their communities. Guided by a facilitator, JFFLS participants learn about agricultural and business topics and techniques, and then link them to more general life lessons and skills. For instance, students may learn about protecting their crops from diseases, and then use this as a basis for learning about how to protect themselves from other diseases that can similarly threaten their livelihood and well-being.

The specific content of a given JFFLS training is determined by the facilitator in accordance with local needs – a reality that is made possible by the flexibility and adaptability of the JFFLS approach. This adaptability has allowed JFFLS to provide contextualized and effective support to over 25,000 young women and men in over 20 countries to date.