IFAD rural youth work project in Senegal declared a success

african_kidsThe majority of the 1.2 billion 15 to 24 year olds in the world live in rural areas of developing countries. (Image source: Francois Carstens)An IFAD-supported youth employment project in Senegal has shown great progress, with 100 per cent of participants interviewed reporting improvements in their employment situation, professional skills and income

The findings were the result of a study carried out by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the International Labour Office (ILO), which shows how productive employment for millions of young women and men who live in rural areas can be achieved.

The study, entitled ‘Promoting decent and productive employment of young people in rural areas: A review of strategies and programmes’, analysed the realities and challenges young rural women and men face in their working environment.

Using the four pillars of the United Nation’s ‘Decent Work Agenda’ – creating jobs and enterprises, guaranteeing rights at work, extending social protection, and promoting social dialogue – the two agencies reviewed 23 programmes worldwide.

This included an in-depth review of five IFAD-supported projects in Senegal, Egypt, Madagascar, Nepal and Nicaragua, with the projects in Senegal and Nicaragua adjudged to be having a particularly positive impact.

However, the results of the study also highlighted the need to focus more on working conditions and social protection, labour rights and the social dialogue between workers and employers, as only marginal progress was generally achieved in these areas.

The study made the following recommendations regarding generating decent employment opportunities for young people and making better use of their potential to contribute to rural growth and transformation:

  • explicitly target rural youth in development programmes
  • offer them training and other support, both as workers and as self-employed entrepreneurs
  • compensate for gender imbalances
  • use integrated approaches covering employment and enterprise development, working conditions, social protection and rights at work

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