Home | 2011 Workshop

Youth Education, Employment and Livelihood
Development in Rural Areas
August 20, 2009 – 3:30 p.m.

Presenters:Carol Michaels O’Laughlin, Winrock International
Charlie Feezel, World Cocoa Foundation
Alex Pavlovic, ACDI/VOCA

Moderator: Margie Brand, Eco-Ventures International

This session focused on the key ingredients for success in rural education and employment programs, sharing successes and lessons learned from existing program experiences. Carol Michaels O’Laughlin presented the Education for Income Generation (EIG) Program based in Nepal and its four key components: functional literacy, enterprise training, scholarship distribution, and employment training. Targeting youth ages 16 to 30, the EIG program works with ethnic and linguistic minorities and vulnerable groups such as women and citizens from conflict-affected and remote areas. Several aspects of the program have helped make EIG in Nepal a success: a) a set of very clear outcomes enumerated in the numbers of jobs secured; b) an emphasis on cooperation with advisory bodies such as employers, investors, the government, and NGOs; and c) matching labor market needs with appropriate skills. EIG in Nepal is demand-driven, rather than supply driven, and seeks the engagement of both families and communities. Providing post-training (ongoing counseling, follow-up) has also been an influential part of the EIG program.

Alex Pavlovic described the Agriculture for Children Empowerment (ACE) program in Liberia, which has three-interrelated objectives: to foster economic growth in rural areas through value chain activities, facilitate increased investment in education and nutrition for rural children, and facilitate immediate and long-term economic opportunity. The focus on value chain system change and input channels is a building block of all project activities. Centered on increasing Liberian youth’s interest in education, the program helps students develop career paths in agriculture, while improving dietary diversity and reducing the prevalence of illness in order to bolster productivity. Pavlovic indicated that program implementers face extraordinary challenges, especially regarding value chain activities. Focusing strictly on local markets, providing practical hands-on programming (simulation games, etc.), and emphasizing transparency in dealings with local communities helped to meet these challenges.

Charlie Feezel of the World Cocoa Foundation discussed the Empowering Cocoa Households with Opportunities and Education Solutions (ECHOES) Alliance, which aims to expand opportunities for youth living in cocoa-growing communities through pre- and in-service teacher training, the establishment of resource centers, functional literacy training, and vocational, agricultural, and business training.

Key take away points of this session included innovative techniques to implement educational and training programs for rural populations to improve youth employment and livelihoods. Programs that provide strategic on-the-job training instead of only classroom-centered learning and begin with sector and value chain analyses that help identify subsectors and most-needed interventions are of strategic importance.

To view the presentations, please click on link below:
World Cocoa : Open

For questions related to the 2009 Education Workshop,
please contact Rebekah Levi at rlevi@jbsinternational.com