Donor engagement with rural youth

  • 07th June 2018
  • by secretary
Donor engagement with rural youthPrepared for the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development Maria Lee, May 2018, 72 pages

In preparation to the Annual General Assembly 2018 “Young and ready to move – empowering the new generation in the rural space”, the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development commissioned a compendium “Donor engagement with rural youth”.

The publication aims at giving an overview of how donors engage with youth. The compendium is also meant to inspire and support discussion on design and implementation of the Agricultural Rural Development interventions that contribute to rural youth empowerment.

  • Many donors/IFI are engaged with rural youth in various ways. The focus of most donors and development  organisations remains on Africa, where the number of youth will continue to increase until 2030 or 2040 and where a large percentage of the population still lives in rural areas
  • Members of the platform are increasingly prioritising youth employment. The diversity of youth and the realities they face require considering different pathways to rural youth employment. Beyond employment, the question of rural youth empowerment includes dimensions such as political and civic engagement, self-confidence and ability to make choices and be heard, as well as access to land, finance, quality education and health, just to name the few.
  • The compendium has been prepared in this context. It draws on direct interviews with 20 Platform members, as well as a desk review of documentation shared by members, recent publications and conference reports on the subject of rural youth and youth employment.

The publication comprises two sections. 

  1. The first one presents the main findings on trends and approaches used by member organisations to engage with youth in developing countries, as well as remaining gaps and open questions. 
  2. The second is a snapshot of members’ engagement, including some examples provided by each member of programmes and lessons learned.

The study will be presented at the Annual General Assembly in Berlin (13-14 June 2018, Berlin) . In parallel, young people will offer some answers on how to move forward in rural areas.


Many organisations highlighted the importance of role models and are showcasing stories of successful young farmers through different media (e.g. radio/TV programmes, Facebook, blogs) and through national contests that celebrate successful young farmers (e.g. FAO, IFAD, AfDB). In this way, they present agriculture as a business rather than a subsistence activity. (page 9)

Young farmers are expected to wait until adulthood to access land through inheritance or communal systems. An associated problem is that the subdivision of land among siblings often leads to fragmented and unviable parcels. Young women face even more barriers to owning land and controlling its use. (page 9)

Some programmes intentionally target graduates for the development of agribusinesses that have the potential to create more jobs (AfDB’s ENABLE Youth programme, IITA Youth Agripreneurs programme. Others focus on nongradu ates and promote self-employment and youth agricultural cooperatives (FAO private and public partnership model for youth employment in agriculture). An IFAD supported programme in Nigeria assists dynamic university graduates who own and run small-scale agricultural enterprises (N-Agripreneurs) to act as intermediaries between small-scale market-oriented farmers, mostly youth, and large-scale agro-industries and wholesalers. (page 10)