A new paradigm: Rural youth are driving the change
At the 2017 G20 Summit, heads of state agreed on a rural Youth Employment Initiative. This historic vote signalled a clear political commitment of the international community to improve the efforts to empower youth in rural areas. Precisely in this sense, the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development organised its Annual General Assembly 2018 under a title that hints on this new hot policy area: “Young and Ready to Move - Empowering the New Generation in the Rural Space".
More than a hundred representatives of donor organisations, development experts and young people from all over the world gathered in Berlin on 13-14 June 2018 to discuss the strategic perspectives on the role of donors and international development agencies in empowering young people in rural areas. In a lively debate, participants listened and exchanged views in order to learn from one another, develop a joint vision.
There was consensus that:
- many challenges that young people in rural areas face, are interlinked;
- donors need to generate an environment for private sector integration;
- social media can be effectively used to communicate valuable information to the young people;
- Young farmers need to be empowered in the changing world. Donors can support his by providing basic and technical education, enhance young farmers’ capacities to learn, innovate and adapt.
Many members and partners of the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development are already walking the talk. This is reflected in debates and initiatives such as the above mentioned ‘G20 Initiative for Rural Youth Employment’ and the integration of youth issues in strategic frameworks. The linkages between the future of agriculture, the transformation of rural spaces and the need to provide youth with the conditions for a decent and meaningful life, raise questions about the role that donors can play.
A compendium “Donor engagement with youth”, commissioned by the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development in preparation of the event, sheds light on donors’ strategies and activities already undertaken. It draws on direct interviews with 20 Platform members, as well as a desk review of documentation shared by members, recent publications and conference reports on the subject of rural youth and youth employment. The compendium aims at providing a better understanding of how Platform members engage with youth and rural youth in particular, but also at inspiring and supporting discussions on how to move forward collectively.