IITA, AFDB, and the CGIAR Consortium recently hosted the ‘Youth in Agriculture’ workshop on 8th and 9th September at the CGIAR Consortium Office in Montpellier, France. The workshop facilitated discussion and collaboration among organizations and individuals with expertise and experience in working with youth engagement, enterprise, and employment, particularly (but not exclusively) in agriculture. The participants were asked to define the critical issues and identify relevant approaches that can be integrated into CGIAR’s work. CGIAR is committed to discovering new ways to approach the topic of youth disenfranchisement globally with a strong focus on finding opportunities for their engagement and employment and planning appropriate activities.
The CORY Project is thrilled that GYIN was able to participate in the ‘Workshop on Mobilizing Youth within the Phase 2 CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs)’ because they have a deep understanding of the needs of the youth. The design of the CORY Project was in fact inspired by GYIN’s successes and failures, so GYIN is a crucial partner within the CORY Consortium as their learnings were leveraged to address better the needs of the rural youth. GYIN’s role within the CORY Project is to advocate for more banks to provide appropriate financial services to rural youth, more industries to train their workforce for current and future market demands, more institutions to mainstream entrepreneurship and agribusiness, more governments to encourage youth innovation and engagement, and nurture potential entrepreneurs.
The CORY Project aims to address youth disenfranchisement and lack of opportunities through:
- Conducting farm and non-farm entrepreneurship training programs – Venture for All, an affiliate of Columbia Business School initially developed this
training. It provides the rural youth with the technical expertise and the core rural entrepreneurship and business development knowledge necessary to enhance the participants’ competencies and entrepreneurial attitudes.
- Establishing entrepreneurship mentoring programs – These programs are designed to assist the youth in identifying viable business opportunities, accessing the national and regional markets, approaching microfinance institutions, and learning to use available financial services and products.
- Facilitating access to micro-credit loans – Acquiring these loans in pursuit of viable opportunities will assist the rural youth with start-up capital and guarantee funds necessary to initiate or expand their enterprises.
The CORY Project is currently piloting this approach in Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, and the Gambia. The CORY Consortium comprised of CEED, Susterra inc. Columbia Business School, and GYIN is planning to reach more than 40,000 youth with entrepreneurship education and support over a three-year period (2014-2017). The participants in the project are young women and men, ages 15-35 years, living in rural areas who are involved either in agricultural production or associate themselves with rural markets.
In both developed and emerging economies, literature widely supports the understanding that a culture that encourages risk-taking and creativity with a supportive educational and policy structure is essential to entrepreneurial growth and prosperity. At the CORY Project, we believe that fostering a robust entrepreneurial culture will maximize individual and collective economic and social success on a local, national, and global scale. We seek to empower these young women and men to acquire new capacities and develop innovative solutions to transform themselves into the Hunger Fighters, Job Creators, Innovators, and Change Agents of tomorrow.
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