6.3.2. Customize Initiatives to Respond to Diverse Demographics and Circumstances of Young Rural Populations

A key question facing rural YEO practitioners now is what kids of strategies work for what kinds of young people in what kinds of rural areas? The examples presented in this section on principles and practices illustrate a wide range of strategies, target groups and rural situations. For example:

  • Farming, agri-business and non-agricultural opportunities.
  • Employment and self-employment.
  • “Transformative” experiences that launch young people into the middle class, and others that help very vulnerable populations secure a better livelihood.
  • Programs that effect young people as child laborers, workers, entrepreneurs and leaders.
  • Programs reaching girls and young women, or mainly engaging young men.
  • Initiatives taking place in remote rural areas, conflict-affected areas, and densely populated, high accessible and productive agricultural zones.

Among these are initiatives targeted to young people, and some that have yet to be adapted to engage young people. The variety is not designed to confuse. Rather, it is to illustrate the richness of options that reflect the diverse populations of “rural youth” and that, despite the diversity, demonstrate the core principles of this section. The next sections of this chapter provide deeper focus on particular strategies that elaborate a menu of options that should be matched with target population and situation.

Practical Tips: Illustrative Program Strategies in Rural YEO

The following strategy statements suggest how specific strategies can incorporate diverse programmatic goals customized to particular young populations in diverse settings.

  • Strengthen the role of innovative young entrepreneurs in agricultural systems to increase productivity and increase food security.
  • Support lucrative agribusiness opportunities for rural youth that help build assets for career advancement and smooth the rural-urban transition.  
  • Improve productivity and production of agricultural value chains, and enhance income, assets and equity in small-scale farming families. 
  • Include vulnerable youth in effective strategies to increase access to agricultural and agri-business technology for asset-poor family farmers, with a goal toward increasing their food security and reducing their poverty.
  • Enhance health, parenting capacity, livelihood, and autonomy of vulnerable young mothers. 
  • Address workforce development – from training and entry through career advancement – in rural industries like mining, energy, infrastructure, transportation and logistics, IT and communications, tourism, etc., with a goal of generating decent work for young people and increasing productivity and competitiveness of these industries.
  • Increase local content of large investments such as mines, energy facilities, construction projects (roads and infrastructure, housing or market development projects in small towns, etc.), hospitals, tourist resorts, etc., via small and medium enterprise procurement strategies, support SMEs to train and employ young workers, with a goal toward increasing rural employment and stimulating rural economic development.