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Rural Youth Livelihoods

Africa; Uganda; Tanzania; Kenya

General informationUniversity of Reading, United Kingdom
Goal 3. Youth and life skills
Educational systems and levels; Educational population; Economics of education; Non-formal education; Rural population; Economic and social development
Youth; sustainable development
Project description
This project aimed to identify and promote new opportunities to enhance rural youth livelihoods by i) gaining a clearer understanding of the livelihood strategies of rural youth: how they are shaped by processes of intergenerational transmission of poverty and disadvantage and assessment of the potential of NR to provide new opportunities for capital accumulation; ii) reviewing current policies, institutions and processes (PIPS) that influence the lives of young people in rural areas: whether PIPs are supportive of the strategies of rural youth or, with a potentially negative impact on NR, they serve to marginalise them from mainstream development efforts and iii) communicating main findings and their implications for NR-related policy and services to key stakeholders at local, national and international levels.  
Livelihoods of rural youth were investigated, and the relevance of this new knowledge for NR policy and practice were better understood.
Current policies and institutional processes for supporting rural youth livelihoods were evaluated and identified potential aspects for improving service delivery which were communicated to target institutions.
Potential models of good practice for supporting rural youth in natural resources management were developed, communicated and promoted to key stakeholders at local, national and international level.
This project made an original contribution to information concerning youth livelihoods as well as to conceptual issues concerning the meaning of ‘rural youth’, particularly in relation to policy development. Key findings were that many youth (young men and young women) are pro-active in engaging in NR-based activities from an early stage in their livelihood careers, thereby affirming that youth are major stakeholders in the improvement of NRM. By gaining a better understanding of the particular characteristics of the formative livelihoods of young people, the evidence-base for rural policy and services that could support youth was strengthened. PIPS analysis found two major problem areas: i) ‘youth’ were invisible in NR-related policy and ii) a dominant narrative embedded in local policies and institutions portrayed youth as disinterested in NRM, and seeing little future in rural-based livelihoods. It is anticipated that the critical evidence that the project’s research provides can lead to greater recognition among policy-makers of the particular interests and needs of rural youth.  
Local partner universities include the Department of Agricultural Education and Extension, Egerton University in Kenya and the Uganda National Agricultural Research Organisation.


2002 - 2005
PartnersWaldie, Kevin