Aug 24, 2021, 3:02 PM
To reintegrate the returning migrants and create an alternative to migration for rural youth, The Republic of the Gambia recently submitted a project proposal to the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) Impact Programme for USD5.3 million funding under the UNCCD 3S Initiative in collaboration with The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
The project is expected to rehabilitate 50 000 hectares of land and create 25 000 green jobs over a five-year period for rural youth, returning migrants, farmers and small to medium scale entrepreneurs in agriculture, aquaculture, agroforestry and ecotourism.
The project will be teaching sustainable forest and land management (SFLM) techniques and their application to degraded croplands, rice paddies, forests and fisheries.
The Gambian Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources will act as the executing agency to mobilize project stakeholders and address the environmental and socio-economic impacts that land degradation has on sustainability, security and stability in target communities.
The project will conduct a small business incubator inviting youth and migrants to develop small businesses along the target land-based value chains, including rice production and distribution, wood lots for sustainable fuel wood production and supply contracts for local products that are sustainably produced and transported by local communities.
The project is expected to work in collaboration with other initiatives in The Gambia targeted at migrants and unemployed rural youth.
Young people in rural areas have often found themselves marginalised both by decisions on the formulation and development of rural policy and by decision-making processes related to youth policy.
However, young people in the countryside are more profoundly affected than other young people by the transitions taking place in contemporary society.
A number of serious problems confront young people in rural areas: relatively high unemployment, marginalisation, a lack of appropriate resources, a level of education below that available in towns and cities, and poor career prospects.
Jobs in farming - formerly the main source of employment in the countryside - are becoming fewer and young farmers who want to take over a farm face many hurdles.
Given these difficulties, the question young people face is whether to stay in the countryside or to go in search of opportunities elsewhere.
The changes lying ahead in rural areas, in particular in central and eastern European countries, will have a fundamental impact on the opportunities available to young people continuing to live in the countryside.
Society must provide the resources necessary to enable young people in rural areas to take responsibility for their own future.
This report reviews the situation of young people in rural areas and the main problems they face, and also proposes measures to improve their position.
Research has shown that majority of African youths are either migrants or potential migrants, largely due to lack of employment or quality educational opportunities or simply out of despair.