Worldwide, there are 1.2 billion young women and men between the ages of 15 and 24, 85 per cent of whom live in developing countries, often in rural areas. IFAD’s project portfolio includes a number of activities that focus explicitly on supporting rural youth, such as the establishment of young farmer clubs in Cambodia, business training in Vietnam and on Fiji, a youth employment programme in India, and a young professional programme in Afghanistan, if we look at the Asia and Pacific Region. Large portions of the population in IFAD’s partner countries are in the youth demographic – in Bangladesh the median age is 23.9 years, and in India half of the population is below 24 - making young women and men an important target group in all IFAD-supported projects.
|IFAD discussion event on "|
"Rural Youth - Why should it be a priority?
Rural young people must play vital roles in their communities as tomorrow’s teachers, farmers and businessmen or women. But currently, many rural youth have difficulties finding work or feel that they cannot gain sufficient income from farming, and they are therefore leaving their rural homes for urban areas in record numbers.
A large number of IFAD-supported projects work to address this situation, to create perspectives and opportunities for young people in rural areas. As a lead implementation agency of the System Wide Action Plan on Youth , IFAD is particularly committed to increasing access to assets and services by young entrepreneurs in rural and urban areas (measure 3.3), as our SKM colleagues Rosemary Vargas-Lundius and David Suttie reported.
In Bangladesh, for example, IFAD is working closely with local institutions to do just that, supporting entrepreneurship and building the business capacity of farmers in several ways:
- Creating employment by supporting entrepreneurship: Young people often are confronted with a jobless market but have ideas for their own businesses. To give them the funds and capacity needed to turn these ideas into reality, the Finance for Enterprise Development and Employment Creation (FEDEC) project that is working in all areas of Bangladesh provided women and men with access to micro-entrepreneur loans as well as training on business management and technology aspects. Loans averaging USD 1000 supported a broad variety of businesses, ranging from producing cooking tools made of recycled aluminum, to producing clothes, to food processing. Worth noting is that an average of 1.5 additional jobs were created for every entrepreneur supported with a loan. So supporting small entrepreneurs with financial resources and capacity creates new opportunities and perspectives for others as well.
For further information, please see: