The idea that agriculture holds no appeal for youth is a common myth frequently shared by youth themselves as well as other stakeholders in agriculture. This myth is based largely on a misunderstanding of the range of opportunities available to young people in agriculture and agribusiness. Key to engaging youth is understanding their needs, identifying value chain entry points, and aligning their entrepreneurial mindsets and skillsets. Programs that seek to support youth engagement in agriculture need to take this into account in their design.
Making Cents International, through its YouthPower Learning project, supported USAID’s Bureau for Food Security (BFS) in improved integration of youth in agriculture programming. Over the course of 2017-2018, we developed the Project Design Guide for Youth-Inclusive Agriculture and Food Systems (Volumes I & II), which bridges the U.S. Government Global Food Security Strategy (GFSS) objectives and builds on USAID’s youth inclusion policy embodied in its Youth in Development Policy.
The two-part Guide (Volumes I & II) provides USAID staff and implementing partners with approaches, frameworks, and tools to design agriculture programs that promote successful and meaningful youth engagement with the U.S. Feed the Future Initiative and the U.S. Government GFSS. Volume I is intended to support Feed the Future staff (USAID Missions and others) to design youth-inclusive programs based on the USAID project design cycle. Volume II offers implementation guidance for activity-level interventions, intended for USAID staff and implementers who may ultimately be managing activities and/or who wish to know more about youth-inclusive approaches to implementation in Feed the Future activities. The Guide applies a classic Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P) Market Systems Development perspective to youth in agriculture and addresses topics ranging from how youth can see a business opportunity in agriculture to the integration of positive youth development (PYD) frameworks in agricultural activities, and from the identification of best ‘entry points’ for youth to monitoring, evaluation, and learning.