BLOG: Farming in Sneakers: Changing Youth Views on Ag for Empowered, and Exciting, Employment, March 2016


“Youth are the strength of a nation.” Says Monalisa Mbise, participant in SNV’s Opportunities for Youth Employment (OYE) program in Tanzania.

When observing the power and potential of youth, it’s hard to face that worldwide 74 million young people are unemployed. In the countries where OYE operates, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Mozambique, unemployment rates for youth are 2 to 3 times higher than those for adults, with an even higher rate of unemployment among young women. The vast majority of rural youth in these countries depend on 'vulnerable' employment in subsistence farming and informal self-employment without a stable income or the opportunity for professional development or long-term growth.

Through OYE, SNV, in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation, is working to sustainably increase youth employment and income by developing the skills and knowledge of young people, linking them to market opportunities, and matching youth with employment in high growth-potential sectors that have concrete capacity for employment creation.

In Tanzania, where Monalisa lives, farming is seen as tough work for little or no pay. OYE is working to empower youth like Monalisa and her friends and colleagues to build sustainable, profitable, and exciting careers in agriculture, an industry rife with entrepreneurial opportunity for those who have been shown the path to find it. OYE gives youth the skills and knowledge to effectively run farms and practice sound financial management, and helps them to find profitable markets to sell their produce, including internationally.