The future of agriculture and rural development depends on the young generation. Throughout the world, however, being young and living in rural areas equals a twofold challenge as these young women and men face unique situations that stem from rural settings in form of infrastructure, social and economic institutions. Rural youth are more likely to be disproportionately affected by climate change, may have fewer opportunities to access information and opportunities for markets and they may also be more exposed to social structures and settings in rural areas.
Young people are a diverse group with varying needs, and “one size fits all” interventions may not go a long way to addressing the challenges they face. Donors and development practitioners need to actively engage youth, listen to them and create opportunities for the young women and men to participate in developing interventions and their implementation. Youth should not be a topic in the development world but rather a group that is actively and continuously engaged.
The move to developing programmes with youth - and not only for youth - will give donors a deeper understanding of the situation and needs of young people in rural areas. Also, inter-generational partnerships are crucial to create mutual respect for the experienced, but also give room for motivated and innovative youngsters to bring together innovation and reality. The Global Donor Platform’s Thematic Working Group on Rural Youth was started to promote meaningful youth engagement in all stages of donor initiatives in agriculture and rural development.