Tapping the potential of rural youth
This issue of Rural 21 discusses the need for action in the area of creating employment and income opportunities for young people (see this article). Initiatives addressing these issues from a wide range of countries throughout the world are demonstrated in this issue. The global trend of increased youth under- and unemployment has led many governments and international organisations to develop and support youth-targeted strategies, policies and programmes. One of these programmes, discussed in this article, works on Green Colleges in India. This skill-building programme aims to increase the number and effectiveness of vocational training facilities, training, counselling and professional development in rural areas. Another article introduces back-office business operations carried out by third party service providers in rural areas in India, which have emerged as successful social enterprises. The idea was to create jobs for educated rural youth so they won’t migrate but contribute to the local economy and development. In Benin a project combines local expertise and international networks, youth-tailored ICT solutions and a demand-driven, results-based business model, explained in this article. Unemployed young people are trained and can get jobs in agricultural extension, and new technologies are reaching poor farmers who would otherwise have no access to them. Next to these initiatives, also representatives of development co-operation, politics, the private sector and rural youth give their views. This article for example, shows results from an SMS survey among young Africans in rural regions.