USAID made substantial investments in programs and policies supporting youth contributions to food security, nutrition, and resilience, but significant gaps in evidence and learning remain. Evidence is further limited on ways in which positive youth development (PYD) approaches have been applied to programs and policies in these areas, and more broadly regarding agri-food systems, and their impacts, including with gender-responsive, private-sector engagement.
Through this buy-in activity, funded by the USAID Bureau for Resilience and Food Security (RFS) under the YouthPower2: Learning and Evaluation contract, RFS seeks to build on recent efforts undertaken to identify and bridge gaps in evidence and learning about youth contributions to food security, nutrition, and resilience. RFS previously engaged with Youth Power to develop a two-volume Project Design Guide for Youth-inclusive Agriculture and Food Systems and an initial compendium of resources housed on youthpower.org that highlights What Works in Youth and Agriculture, Food Security, and Nutrition, as well as to learn from youth involved with agri-food systems through the YouthLead platform.
Making Cents International will support RFS in advancing knowledge on approaches to, and the state of evidence for, youth inclusion in international development interventions related to agri-food systems, and more specifically agriculture-led growth and food security, resilience, nutrition, and water security, sanitation, and hygiene. At all phases of the program cycle, USAID Mission teams and partners need to know much more about how best to effectively engage youth as drivers of change and resilience in agri-food systems (including as relates to agriculture, food security, nutrition, and water) and how youth contribute to country self-reliance.
Making Cents will track strategies, map pathways, and gauge the state of the evidence for youth contributions to the achievement of country self-reliance through RFS areas of work. We will also identify areas for further research and the development of guidance and tools to support learning and practice to achieve sustainable impacts at scale with youth. We will conduct primary research and knowledge management to actively address evidence gaps and drive youth-led development results. A global reference group of representatives from key stakeholder groups will guide research and inform innovative and impactful translation, workshopping of recommendations and action plans, and promotion of findings to key audiences.
Addressing the knowledge and evidence gaps related to youth in agri-food systems will be complicated by and must respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, Desert Locust infestations, and other shocks and stresses. As a result, Making Cents will also explore how these developments are impacting the dynamics and conditions that influence young people’s involvement in agri-food systems.