The Feed the Future Developing Local Extension Capacity (DLEC) project conducted studies in Guatemala, Niger, and Rwanda to analyze the inclusion of youth in extension and advisory services (EAS), both as providers and recipients of the services. The studies provided recommendations for donors, policymakers, and extension providers to strengthen the inclusion of youth in EAS.
The following actions are recommended to improve the inclusion of youth in EAS.
Recommendations for Guatemala
In Guatemala, depoliticization of extension research, evaluation, and services is needed to build trust in these programs. The National Agricultural Extension Strategy should include positive youth development knowledge for extension staff to improve their outreach. Youth development and leadership programs should engage women and indigenous people.
Recommendations for Niger
In Niger, youth agripreneurship should be supported through stronger partnerships, training, facilitation of access to credit, and coaching. Investments in community-based agricultural infrastructure (such as warehouses) are necessary to allow youth’s entry into agriculture. The promotion of ICT-based extension methods and tools (video, smartphone applications, and social media and networks) are necessary to attract youth to agriculture.
Recommendations for Rwanda
In Rwanda, the tertiary agricultural education gap should be closed by adding extension curricula and farmer outreach activities to university programs. Development practitioners need to recognize the heterogeneity of youth and target different interventions to different youth segments, ensuring that the needs of the poor rural youth and, in particular, female youth are addressed.
A summary of these results is available here.
These three studies catalyzed engagement with USAID’s Bureau for Resilience and Food Security for an additional study on youth engagement in EAS and the private sector in Rwanda and Uganda, as summarized in this blog. Stay tuned for additional blog posts from Rwanda and Uganda with examples, cases, and models of youth engagement.
The author would like to thank John-Paul Chaisson-Cardenas, Patrice Djamen, and Steve Franzel, the lead authors for the Guatemala, Niger, and Rwanda studies respectively.