Webinars [ID: 145]

Insights into youth networks around agriculture and rural development in Africa

Youth networks are diverse and have varied characteristics that affect their operations. It is therefore important for practitioners to understand how these networks work so as to deliver interventions that best work to fit them. In this webinar, James Kyewalabye presented findings from his current study on different youth networks and youth associations in Africa. The study aims to identify youth representation for the Global Donor Platform’s Thematic Working Group on Rural Youth.

The presentation kicked-off with an introduction to the topic followed by the classification of these networks in case-studies format. It then scoped into key challenges faced by these youth network before presenting the formulated key recommendations.

The findings presented in the webinar show that there are various reasons for youth to join youth networks. First, they want to create synergies to take advantage of economies of scale-marketing, production, and bulking. They also use the platform to share various opportunities, e.g. information about call for grants or access to trainings and peer mentoring. In addition, they want to tap onto the convening power of these networks to push agendas with the government or local policymakers. Finally, youth find it easier to join these networks due their flexible entry requirements and inclusion of young people in the decision-making processes.

Despite the challenge to find more information on the youth networks due to scanty literature around the topic, James suggested to cluster the networks into three different areas, namely: scope of work, geographical scope of operations, and affiliations (see Table 1 for more detail).

Table 1

Some of the main challenges identified by the youth networks assessed are the lack of operational resources, political support and technical guidance. Often limited access to information, cross networking, and avenues for participation hinder their progress. The remaining challenges include youth’s reluctance to join networks and other agricultural related issues, e.g. limited access to land and production technologies, climate change, and social constraints.

Drawing from this, the presenter draws the following conclusions and recommendations to donors and development practitioners:

  • Understanding the diversity of youth networks
  • In-depth studies of the networks to understand power structures, representativeness and risks of “elite capture” within the networks
  • Increasing the visibility of these youth networks
  • Facilitation of creation of youth network led advisory committees
  • Promotion and endorsement of these networks as recognised and relevant institution to governments
  • Enhancing the networks’ interconnectivity
  • Provision of various resources including hosting secretariat functions and operational funds
  • Building the technical capacity of the networks’ heads
  • Creating arenas for networks to showcase their work


James Kyewalabye | Secretariat of Global Donor Platform for Rural Development

The webinar is the third part of a 4-webinar-series that the Global Donor Platform will be presenting to you until the end of the year.



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