New report on youth employment in forest landscapes launched
Young people aged 15-24 are often underemployed but hold huge potential to contribute to prosperity among forest communities, according to a new report published by FAO and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).
Prosperity in place for youth: Meaningful work for mobile youth that enhances forest landscapes examines the drivers of youth migration from rural to urban areas and sets out recommendations on how to engage young people in forest work – whether they remain in the community, leave for the cities, or return after a period away.
The report is aimed at leaders of forestry and farm producers’ organisations (FFPOs), which are often the major and sometimes only, employers in rural areas.
How FFPOs engage with, listen and respond to young people’s hopes for prosperity is likely to be a defining factor in whether they stay in their place of origin, or whether they migrate to seek prosperity elsewhere, according to the publication.
“Youth matter to forest and farm production systems – their energy, willingness to take risks, and connectedness can be a source of useful innovation,” said IIED’s Duncan Macqueen, who co-authored the publication with FAO’s Jeffrey Campbell.
The report sets out the importance of offering more decent and meaningful work to youth in rural areas to address the adverse drivers of migration and create alternatives for young people. It also explains the importance of maintaining ties with youth who have migrated to cities and offering opportunities to those who eventually return home, as valuable sources of finance, knowledge and contact.
Youth engagement strategies are vital to tap into young people’s potential to contribute to prosperity in forest landscapes, but must be tailored for ‘remainers, movers and returners’, the publication underlines.
Additionally, the report shows that in a survey of FFPOs, the most active youth programs have common features including training on technical production issues, business development and even youth sport and recreation.