A new study by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the International Labour Office (ILO), published in April 2012, shows that decent and productive employment for millions of young women and men who live in rural areas can be achieved. The study Promoting decent and productive employment of young people in rural areas: A review of strategies and programmes analysed the realities and challenges young rural women and men face in their working environment. Through the lens of the four pillars of the United Nation's Decent Work Agenda – creating jobs and enterprises, guaranteeing rights at work, extending social protection, and promoting social dialogue – the two agencies reviewed 23 programmes worldwide, including an in-depth review of five IFAD-supported projects in Egypt, Madagascar, Nepal, Nicaragua and Senegal. Specifically, the results of the study showed progress in Senegal and Madagascar for instance, where 100 per cent of the young people interviewed reported improvements in their employment situation, professional skills and income. In Nicaragua, 71 per cent of the young women and men noted that their employer showed greater awareness and respect for workers rights. However, the results also highlighted the need to focus more on working conditions and social protection, labour rights and the social dialogue between workers and employers, as only marginal progress was generally achieved in these areas. Most of the 1.2 billion young women and men aged between 15 and 24 live in rural areas of developing countries. The study made several recommendations about generating decent employment opportunities for them and making better use of their potential to contribute to rural growth and transformation:
- explicitly target rural youth in development programmes
- offer them training and other support, both as workers and as self-employed entrepreneurs
- compensate for gender imbalances, and
- use integrated approaches covering employment and enterprise development, working conditions, social protection and rights at work.