6.1.3 Market Segmentation and Diversity

One key driver behind rural YEO programming is quite simply the growth and maturity of the YEO field.

As the volume and variety of youth programming increases, as we search for deeper and more nuanced lessons, we recognize the diversity in the youth population and in youth programming. YEO experts recognize rural youth as a distinct demographic group with some common challenges that require distinct approaches.  At the same time, the significant diversity among young rural people demands that programs be highly customized to diverse cohorts of young people – girls and boys, parents and non-parents, educated and illiterate, better off and very poor, living in high potential agricultural zones and living in semi-arid areas, etc.  Similarly, young people have different resources and needs at difference stages in their life, and they use their resources to move from one stage to another.  So, programs need to accommodate the “life cycle” of their target populations. 

Finally, rural-urban migration is much more dynamic than the stereotypical pattern of young people moving to cities to find jobs.  Large numbers of young people migrate back and forth from cities or smaller towns to villages and farms, as they seek education, work on the family farm to raise capital for an investment, get jobs or start businesses, start families, etc.  Thus, programs should also observe and accommodate different migration patterns.  While this accommodation introduces complexity to development policy and programs, we know from decades of experience with the general population that tailored programming is more effective.[1]   For these reasons, we dedicate the next section to Understanding Rural Youth.

Making Cents’ Deep Dive and Spotlight on Rural Youth Economic Opportunities

This in-depth presentation on economic opportunities for youth in rural areas was generated after Making Cents International conducted research and organized learning events in 2012 and 2013, with support from The MasterCard Foundation. Making Cents gathered and analyzed information from:

  • A thorough review of published analyzes, cases published and unpublished, and websites;
  • Opinions of leading practitioners, funders, and researchers who generously shared their time, information and perspectives;
  • The “voice” of young people as communicated by young leaders and experts in part through The MasterCard Foundation’s Youth Think Tank, a participatory, youth-led initiative where young people conduct research into the challenge of creating youth employment in growth sectors including agri-business; and
  • The rich presentations and discussions that took place at the Making Cents’ 2013 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Conference and the pre-conference Deep Dive into Economic Opportunities for Rural Youth, a collaborative learning initiative that enables key stakeholders to fill knowledge gaps and advance practice in a field of work.

Making Cents International is grateful to the professionals who actively engaged in this collaborative process. In an annex of the publication, you will find a list of individuals and agencies that Making Cents engaged in the Deep Dive.


[1] Proctor and Luchesi, 2012; Sumberg and Anyidoho, 2012.