6.2.1 Rural Youth Comprise a Distinct Demographic Group with some Common Challenges - and Assets - that Require Distinct Approaches

As a general population group, young people in rural areas face some challenges in higher numbers than their urban counterparts.  These include:  lower literacy and physical assets, fewer job opportunities, stronger cultural barriers around gender and age, lower access to infrastructure and information technology, lower access to services in general (from social to financial to government), and weaker consumer markets.  Many rural areas can be unattractive to young people because of the slow pace, low access to electricity/internet/modern entertainment, social constraints and isolation.  At the same time, young people living in rural areas often are able to rely on some key assets, such as: access to land and other natural resources, cultural practices and traditions that can be commercialized, and stronger social ties – including families living together, children being raised by family members, communities providing social support, more in-tact cultural practices and norms that hold community members accountable to one another, etc.   Some rural areas attract residents because of greener space, slower, calmer lifestyle, lower crime, and lower cost of living.   These can offer a social safety net, opportunities for collaborative engagement, protection against extortion and abuse, access to assets like land, knowledge, and finance, and opportunities for positive solutions to be disseminated via traditional social networks.  These broad challenges, assets and opportunities call for different approaches than those used in urban areas.[1]

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