Youth voices in agroforestry – Creating an enabling environment
Vi Agroforestry has published a short film about how to engage youth in agroforestry and create an enabling environment for young agroforestry farmers. The short film focuses on the SEMA project where young women and men are involved in food production and land restoration in the Mara – Serengeti ecosystem. SEMA is implemented through BUFADESO a local partner in the Serengeti, Tanzania. The projects addresses opportunities
for further engagement, and constraints that limit youth engagement in agroforestry farming.
The SEMA project has ignited reflections about platforms and networks that will enable youth to participate in for example policy processes and governance. The project has improved youth’s access to market linkages, financial services, life skills development, and entrepreneurship development. And most importantly, SEMA has put great effort in addressing young women, as their voices are often lost when they are generalised as youth. From the project some advice to others working with youth have been deducted:
- Listen! Listen! Listen! To the voices of the youth from the onset. It is key to understand their interests and concerns.
- Adopt progressive policies at levels that recognise young women and men valuable actors who will oversee vital resources (renewable and non-renewable) now and in future for purposes of sustainability.
- Understand and seek to address structural barriers that have been reinforced by culture especially for young women.
- Be intentional in developing intervention measures and consider those who are vulnerable such as young women and people living with disabilities.
- Partnerships will go a long way in addressing the challenges faced by young women and men (consider government, financial institutions, market players, development partners etc.).
- Support youth in identifying opportunities that can be tapped in the sector.
- Seek to address the constraints holistically (finances, inputs, knowledge, life skills etc.).
- Improve on monitoring and reporting to ensure all achievements and failures are documented and tracked.
- Mentorship and coaching will nurture the younger generation into leadership and management.
- Create safe spaces for young women and men to practice leadership and governance.