Feedback on CGIAR Strategy and Results Framework – youth

I delivered this intervention at the CGIAR’s Strategy and Results Framework stakeholder consultation:

“First of all, I welcome the CGIAR’s initiative to consult youth regarding the 10-year research strategy.

However, upon reading the strategy, I was disappointed to note that the words youth and young people are mentioned only a handful of times and only as beneficiaries of CGIAR’s work.

In the countries where the CGIAR operates, young people make up anywhere between 20-60% of the population. Agriculture is still the leading employer of young rural people. The CGIAR’s system level outcomes – poverty, nutrition and NRM – are arguably more critical for young people than any other demographic at this point in time.

And yet we have insufficient data available on young people in rural development, in agriculture, in forestry – what obstacles do they face, how do we create enabling environments to overcome staggering rates of youth unemployment, how do we foster intergenerational learning to better manage land? When this age disaggregated data is available, it is often not specifically analysed or published.

If we don’t understand the needs of such an important demographic, how is it possible to design effective development programs and projects? As someone who has been working in the youth space for 12 months now, this is a question I ask myself everyday.

Not so long ago, these same questions were posed regarding gender – what obstacles do women face, how do we create enabling environments for women to pursue careers in agriculture? Resources were poured into gender strategies and gender research, creating a body of evidence in this area.

If we can be gender sensitive, why can’t we be more youth sensitive?

CGIAR is one of, if not the most well placed consortium to be leading the world in rural youth research.

It’s starting to happen, CRP Drylands is putting together a youth strategy and has allocated 7 percent of its budget to gender and youth research.

Youth are key to a food secure future. We need to see youth play a more central role in the SRF– commitment to a youth research strategy, a push for more age-disaggregated data, youth analysis embedded in the system’s research portfolio, the development of tools, methods, and data sets that will strengthen our understanding of the role young people play in development.”