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  • Diverse and invisible: Understanding rural young people

Diverse and invisible: Understanding rural young people

A young woman displays a product at a food fair in Luwingu, Zambia. Photo by J. Nkadaani/CIFOR
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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

A young woman displays a product at a food fair in Luwingu, Zambia. Photo by J. Nkadaani/CIFOR

Globally, there are an estimated 1.8 billion young people between 10 to 24 years old. Of these, approximately 90 percent live in the developing world, and mostly in rural areas. Yet often, rural young people are poorly understood in research compared to more ‘visible’ groups, such as urban youth, particularly in Western countries. 

This is of special concern to research partnerships such as CGIAR, because young people play critical roles in rural households and environmental transformations, but their interests are often inadequately addressed in programs and policies. However, as a significant social group now and in the future, their aspirations, dreams, opportunities and the particular challenges they face in rural areas deserve to be studied and understood in their own right.

Click here to listen to the webinar recording or download the presentation.  

That is one of the many reasons the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) recently presented a webinar on rural youth and livelihood change. The webinar, hosted by the CGIAR Collaborative Platform for Gender Research, invited four researchers and activists to share their thoughts on the challenges and prospects facing rural young women and men across the Global South.

FTA and the CGIAR gender platform hosted the hour-long webinar with key thinkers and practitioners working in youth and development studies in Latin America, Asia and Africa, to address key issues affecting today’s young people, as well as the role of institutions such as CGIAR in supporting the livelihoods of rural youth.

Children play in the La Roya community of the Peruvian Amazon. Photo by J. Carlos Huayllapuma/CIFOR

Rural young people’s challenges and opportunities 

Jim Sumberg, a Research Fellow in the Rural Futures research cluster at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), began by problematizing the idea of “the challenges and opportunities for rural young people.” He stressed the need to recognize the diversity within ‘youth’ based on gender, geography, and other factors of social differentiation, and the necessity of considering the specific social and political contexts where they live.

He highlighted the differences between the challenges that rural people face in general, because of, for example, systemic failures or structural issues; challenges that specifically affect rural young people primarily because they are young, have fewer resources, less life experience, and less developed networks, among other factors; and the challenges that affect young people because they are discriminated against or ‘invisible’ to other social groups and decision-makers.

For example, webinar panelist Daniela Rivas, the Peruvian country representative of Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD), explained that in Peru, young people make up 27 percent of the total population, and 22 percent of the population is specifically composed of rural youth. However, government policy focuses on urban youth. This demonstrates how many indigenous and rural young people face challenges in simply having their voices heard, and therefore remain invisible to rural development initiatives.

Though many rural young men and women face challenges, they also have new opportunities. Jessica Clendenning, a PhD Candidate in Human Geography with the National University of Singapore, explained that as urban centers across the Global South continue to expand, the shape and nature of rural areas also change. New opportunities in rural and urban areas pertaining to forests and agricultural production, marketing and value chains are some such opportunities.

Critical, then, is that young people have access to education and training to gain the skills needed to capitalize on those opportunities, and to enable young people to pursue the types of work that interest them besides primary production.

Read more: Webinar: Rural youth and livelihood change

High school students pose pose in Empangao village, Indonesia. Photo by L. McHugh/CIFOR

Role of CGIAR

What roles can CGIAR and FTA play in researching and working with rural youth? Fraser Sugden, a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Birmingham, and outgoing coordinator of the Gender, Youth and Inclusion theme in the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land, and Ecosystems (WLE), suggested that the CGIAR research community could play an important role in engaging with youth on the ground.

This does not necessarily mean encouraging young people to be farmers, but providing them with opportunities in agrobased enterprises and agricultural support services and investments, such as through extension services, research and investment in young agroentrepreneurs.

More broadly, Clendenning explained that CGIAR can use its research and action to address the large knowledge gaps surrounding youth issues in tree and agroforestry environments. For example, little is known about the effects that rural economic diversification, via remittances and migration, has on labor and changing land use dynamics, or about whether, why or when young migrants actually do return to live and work in their natal village areas.

The interests rural young women and men have in the forestry or agroforestry sectors, and the types of related schooling that is offered to them, also require attention. These questions demonstrate that longer term studies are needed to understand rural young men and women, and the ways they are embedded within their families, communities and broader social contexts.

The main takeaway message was the need for CGIAR and partners to see young women and men as a diverse social group that faces different challenges and opportunities. Research methods must recognize their particular experiences, and the intersecting factors of social difference, such as gender, class and ethnicity, all of which influence and shape their choices.

This means integrating young people into program design and development, and researching with young women and men, instead of simply about them.

By Manon Koningstein, FTA Gender Integration Team; Marlène Elias, FTA Gender Research Coordinator; and Jessica Clendenning, PhD candidate. 


This work forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, which is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors.

  • Home
  • Diverse and invisible: Understanding rural young people

Diverse and invisible: Understanding rural young people

A young woman displays a product at a food fair in Luwingu, Zambia. Photo by J. Nkadaani/CIFOR
Posted by

FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

A young woman displays a product at a food fair in Luwingu, Zambia. Photo by J. Nkadaani/CIFOR

Globally, there are an estimated 1.8 billion young people between 10 to 24 years old. Of these, approximately 90 percent live in the developing world, and mostly in rural areas. Yet often, rural young people are poorly understood in research compared to more ‘visible’ groups, such as urban youth, particularly in Western countries. 

This is of special concern to research partnerships such as CGIAR, because young people play critical roles in rural households and environmental transformations, but their interests are often inadequately addressed in programs and policies. However, as a significant social group now and in the future, their aspirations, dreams, opportunities and the particular challenges they face in rural areas deserve to be studied and understood in their own right.

Click here to listen to the webinar recording or download the presentation.  

That is one of the many reasons the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) recently presented a webinar on rural youth and livelihood change. The webinar, hosted by the CGIAR Collaborative Platform for Gender Research, invited four researchers and activists to share their thoughts on the challenges and prospects facing rural young women and men across the Global South.

FTA and the CGIAR gender platform hosted the hour-long webinar with key thinkers and practitioners working in youth and development studies in Latin America, Asia and Africa, to address key issues affecting today’s young people, as well as the role of institutions such as CGIAR in supporting the livelihoods of rural youth.

Children play in the La Roya community of the Peruvian Amazon. Photo by J. Carlos Huayllapuma/CIFOR

Rural young people’s challenges and opportunities 

Jim Sumberg, a Research Fellow in the Rural Futures research cluster at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), began by problematizing the idea of “the challenges and opportunities for rural young people.” He stressed the need to recognize the diversity within ‘youth’ based on gender, geography, and other factors of social differentiation, and the necessity of considering the specific social and political contexts where they live.

He highlighted the differences between the challenges that rural people face in general, because of, for example, systemic failures or structural issues; challenges that specifically affect rural young people primarily because they are young, have fewer resources, less life experience, and less developed networks, among other factors; and the challenges that affect young people because they are discriminated against or ‘invisible’ to other social groups and decision-makers.

For example, webinar panelist Daniela Rivas, the Peruvian country representative of Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD), explained that in Peru, young people make up 27 percent of the total population, and 22 percent of the population is specifically composed of rural youth. However, government policy focuses on urban youth. This demonstrates how many indigenous and rural young people face challenges in simply having their voices heard, and therefore remain invisible to rural development initiatives.

Though many rural young men and women face challenges, they also have new opportunities. Jessica Clendenning, a PhD Candidate in Human Geography with the National University of Singapore, explained that as urban centers across the Global South continue to expand, the shape and nature of rural areas also change. New opportunities in rural and urban areas pertaining to forests and agricultural production, marketing and value chains are some such opportunities.

Critical, then, is that young people have access to education and training to gain the skills needed to capitalize on those opportunities, and to enable young people to pursue the types of work that interest them besides primary production.

Read more: Webinar: Rural youth and livelihood change

High school students pose pose in Empangao village, Indonesia. Photo by L. McHugh/CIFOR

Role of CGIAR

What roles can CGIAR and FTA play in researching and working with rural youth? Fraser Sugden, a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Birmingham, and outgoing coordinator of the Gender, Youth and Inclusion theme in the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land, and Ecosystems (WLE), suggested that the CGIAR research community could play an important role in engaging with youth on the ground.

This does not necessarily mean encouraging young people to be farmers, but providing them with opportunities in agrobased enterprises and agricultural support services and investments, such as through extension services, research and investment in young agroentrepreneurs.

More broadly, Clendenning explained that CGIAR can use its research and action to address the large knowledge gaps surrounding youth issues in tree and agroforestry environments. For example, little is known about the effects that rural economic diversification, via remittances and migration, has on labor and changing land use dynamics, or about whether, why or when young migrants actually do return to live and work in their natal village areas.

The interests rural young women and men have in the forestry or agroforestry sectors, and the types of related schooling that is offered to them, also require attention. These questions demonstrate that longer term studies are needed to understand rural young men and women, and the ways they are embedded within their families, communities and broader social contexts.

The main takeaway message was the need for CGIAR and partners to see young women and men as a diverse social group that faces different challenges and opportunities. Research methods must recognize their particular experiences, and the intersecting factors of social difference, such as gender, class and ethnicity, all of which influence and shape their choices.

This means integrating young people into program design and development, and researching with young women and men, instead of simply about them.

By Manon Koningstein, FTA Gender Integration Team; Marlène Elias, FTA Gender Research Coordinator; and Jessica Clendenning, PhD candidate. 


This work forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, which is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors.

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  • FTA cohosts meeting on soil carbon and climate change agenda

FTA cohosts meeting on soil carbon and climate change agenda

Land is cleared for agriculture In the Nebbou area, Burkina Faso. Photo by Ollivier Girard/CIFOR
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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Land is cleared for agriculture In the Nebbou area, Burkina Faso. Photo by Ollivier Girard/CIFOR

The CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) recently cohosted a fruitful meeting along with the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE) on the topic of soil carbon.

“Soil carbon — the ‘carbon beneath our feet’ — could help mitigate significant greenhouse gas emissions, while also supporting food production and adaptation to climate change,” Lini Wollenberg (CCAFS), Christopher Martius (FTA), Keith Shepherd and Rolf Sommer (WLE) emphasized following the webinar.

“As such, soil carbon could be crucial to meeting the Paris Agreement goal to limit global warming to below 2 degrees and Sustainable Development Goals related to food security and climate. However, we still lack the knowledge needed to sustainably manage soil,” they added, taking into account that carbon sequestration is an important cobenefit to other productive and ecological functions of healthy soils. 

Soil organic carbon (SOC) is a key component of many essential soil functions, including food production, habitats and biodiversity, carbon storage, as well as water storage and filtration. Climate change is also altering the picture.

The global 4p1000 Initiative and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ Global Soil Partnership are among current efforts to overcome this knowledge gap.

The webinar aimed to build a common understanding of CGIAR’s current soil carbon research and inform a vision and coordinated agenda. Thirty CGIAR scientists, representing seven CGIAR Centers and six CGIAR Research Programs, exchanged research findings and identified priorities for a future research agenda on soil carbon and climate change.

FTA scientist Tor-Gunnar Vågen presented on soil organic carbon during the recent webinar.

As outlined in CCAFS’ blog following the webinar, future research priorities on soil carbon and climate change can be grouped into five general themes:

  • Quantifying soil carbon sequestration potential,
  • Understanding soil carbon processes,
  • Evaluating the impact of land use and new technical practices,
  • Methods for improved assessment, and
  • Policy and action.

In particular, scientists discussed the role of SOC in landscapes, and the need to estimate SOC across landscapes, while traditional work is by essence based on plot-level measurements.

FTA scientist Tor-Gunnar Vågen of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) cited the Land Degradation Surveillance Framework (LDSF), which was developed by ICRAF following years of research on land degradation and ecosystem services, as well as CGIAR and FTA’s sentinel landscapes, before highlighting the vital important of context in assessing SOC.

Watch the presentation: On the critical role of SOC in landscapes 

“The scientists will take steps to support coordination of [soil carbon] research across CGIAR Research Programs in ways that make use of our extensive network of field sites and large knowledge base on sustainable agricultural practices, while also recognizing the broader ecosystem functions of soil carbon and seeking to improve understanding of the benefits and trade-offs of soil carbon sequestration,” confirmed Wollenberg, Martius, Shepherd and Sommer.

Moving forward, FTA, CCAFS and WLE will coordinate relevant research by involving different strategies for soil carbon management across all land covers and uses, from cropland to pastures, agroforestry, trees outside forests, and forests, by providing solutions on best practices, management and policy, as well as the measurement of impacts.

The programs will also consider how soil carbon preservation and enhancement objectives can provide important co-benefits to other objectives, such as conserving, rehabilitating or restoring land, and the sustainable intensification of agriculture, for which trees provide an important solution, as FTA work will inform.

By Vincent Gitz, Christopher Martius and Hannah Maddison-Harris.

Related reading: 


This work forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry. We would like to thank all donors who supported this work through their contributions to the CGIAR Fund.

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  • Webinar: Género, agroforestería y cambio climático en América Latina

Webinar: Género, agroforestería y cambio climático en América Latina

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FTA

Miércoles, el 23 de noviembre 2016

Organizadores: Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT) y el Centro Internacional de Investigación Agroforestal (ICRAF), mediante el Programa de Investigación del CGIAR en Bosques, Arboles y Agroforestería (FTA).

Los audios del webinar:

Parte 1:

Parte 2:

Acerca del webinar

El manejo de árboles y bosques constituye estrategias claves de mitigación y adaptación al cambio climático, con implicaciones críticas para las diversas y numerosas poblaciones que dependen de los recursos forestales para sus medios de vida. Los hombres y mujeres enfrentan diferentes desafíos y oportunidades frente al cambio climático, debido a los diferentes roles y responsabilidades de cada género. Una perspectiva que toma en cuenta las diferentes formas de hombres y mujeres de interactuar con los recursos de bosques y árboles es importante para el desarrollo de intervenciones y políticas de cambio climático que promuevan la distribución equitativa de beneficios, empleen las capacidades innovadoras de los productores y como consecuencia, creen efectos positivos, de largo plazo, de mitigación y adaptación. Además, las políticas pueden anticipar riesgos y revertir las inequidades cuando estas incorporan mecanismos que permitan una participación significativa de grupos marginalizados en los procesos de toma de decisión sobre el desarrollo e implementación de las mismas.

nicaragua_encuesta-intrahogarAmérica Latina se encuentra en un momento crítico en lo cual varios gobiernos y sectores influyentes están desarrollando sus Planes Nacionales de Adaptación y Acciones Nacionalmente Apropiadas de Mitigación (NAP y NAMA, respectivamente, por sus siglas en inglés). Este webinar busca proveer hallazgos recientes de investigaciones empíricas en género y agroforestería en países latinoamericanos, a tomadores de decisiones de los sectores agropecuarios y ambientales y profesionales involucrados en el desarrollo rural en América Latina, con el fin de promover la integración de género en la formulación de políticas e intervenciones de cambio climático. Específicamente, los objetivos del webinar incluyen:

  • Compartir nuevas investigaciones de Sur y Centro América sobre género, agroforestería y cambio climático con tomadores de decisiones y profesionales en América Latina.
  • Discutir experiencias y buenas prácticas para la integración de género en la formulación de políticas e intervenciones en agricultura, agroforestería y cambio climático.

Para inscribirse en el webinar, por favor contacte a Tatiana Gumucio [email protected].

Lecturas recomendadas

Sobre las ponentes:

1_sarah_lan_mathezSarah-Lan Mathez es Etnobióloga e investigadora de ciencias sociales de la oficina latinoamericana del Centro Internacional de Investigación Agroforestal (ICRAF) basada en Lima, Perú. Tiene amplia experiencia laboral en proyectos de investigación, desarrollo y conservación ambiental en Latinoamérica y África. Durante los últimos 10 años, ha trabajado en la región andina en temas tales como: los conocimientos ecológicos indígenas, la diversidad biocultural, las innovaciones locales y la agroforestería. Tiene un doctorado en geografía humana de la Universidad de Berna, Suiza. En la actualidad, combina su trabajo en ICRAF con el puesto de investigadora principal en el Centre for Development and Environment en la Universidad de Berna y es editora asociada de la revista Mountain Research and Development.

gumucio-webinar-photo-ftaTatiana Gumucio es Investigadora Postdoctoral en Género en el Área de Investigación de Análisis de Políticas (DAPA) del Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT), basado en Cali, Colombia. Apoya la integración de género en el Programa de Investigación del CGIAR en Bosques, Árboles y Agroforestería (FTA). Recibió su doctorado en antropología de la Universidad de Florida. Está interesada en contribuir a la investigación contundente de género en relación a productos forestales no-maderables y árboles en fincas, con el propósito de informar la formulación de políticas e intervenciones eficaces y equitativas en la mitigación y adaptación al cambio climático.

Ponencias:

Sarah-Lan Mathez:

Agroforestería para la adaptación al cambio climático en los Andes: Diseñando opciones inclusivas sobre la base de los conocimientos locales

El manejo de árboles y arbustos en los paisajes agrícolas tiene un gran potencial para la adaptación de los pequeños agricultores andinos al cambio climático. Actualmente existe una gran diversidad de prácticas y especies agroforestales. También hay una gran riqueza de conocimientos locales sobre las funciones agroecológicas de estos árboles. Sin embargo, en el marco de la planificación de medidas adaptativas, la investigación científica es necesaria para analizar la idoneidad de las prácticas agroforestales en contextos socio-ecológicos determinados. El diseño de estas acciones debe hacerse de forma participativa e inclusiva, considerando en particular los aspectos de género y las preferencias de los pequeños agricultores.

Presentación Powerpoint:

Agroforestería para la adaptación al cambio climático en los Andes: Diseñando acciones inclusivas sobre la base de los conocimientos locales

Gumucio:

Género y la pequeña producción de café de sombra en Nicaragua: Consideraciones para intervenciones de agroforestería y de cambio climático

La investigación sugiere que los productores de café de sombra en América Latina derivan valor de subsistencia y comercial significativo de los productos no-café del sistema agroforestal, como de madera, combustible y frutas. Sin embargo, esta investigación no logra considerar aspectos de género, por ejemplo, cómo los usos derivados del sistema agroforestal pueden variar entre productores mujeres y hombres. Además, es importante reconocer las contribuciones de los hombres y de las mujeres a los sistemas de producción pequeño y su participación en procesos de toma de decisión correspondientes, para promover adopción exitosa de prácticas sostenibles adaptadas al clima, incluyendo esas relacionadas al agroforestería.

Presentación Powerpoint:

Género y la pequeña producción de café bajo sombra en Nicaragua: Consideraciones para intervenciones de agroforestería y cambio climático


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