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Over 600,000 Youth in Ethiopia to Benefit From Agro-focused Dignified Work Opportunities Program

More than 600,000 young people in Ethiopia, 80 per cent of whom will be young women, are set to benefit from Agriculture-focused Dignified Employment for Youth in Ethiopia (“ADEY”) Program that seeks to support them to engage in inclusive and dignified work opportunities in the agriculture sector.

The program that has been announced following a partnership between Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation (ATI), a strategy and delivery-oriented government institute and the Mastercard Foundation late last month, will enable new and sustained work opportunities by engaging young people in agricultural inputs and outputs marketing.

Other areas of engagement include value addition and agro-processing, livestock, irrigation and mechanization services, availing affordable access to finance, digital agriculture, and ensuring policy improvements.

“ADEY will have an impact on young women’s lives beyond supporting employment opportunities. It will provide them with more agency to take charge of their lives. The young women targeted in this program will be engaged in various socioeconomic issues both within and outside of their community, and they will be prepared to act as influencers for women’s empowerment within their respective socioeconomic circles,” said Dr Mandefro Nigussie, CEO of the ATI.

The program also aims to address youth unemployment by removing systemic barriers that hinder young people from accessing dignified and fulfilling work, and to increase the participation of young people in the agriculture labour market. ADEY aims to create work opportunities for 611,343 young people: 427,940 in self-employment, and 183,403 in wage employment.

Additionally, ADEY builds on the success of ATI’s flagship initiative, the Agricultural Commercialization Clusters (ACC) program, which seeks to promote commercialization where smallholder farmers are organized in geographically clustered high-potential areas through market-driven and integrated value chain development of selected commodities.

Access to improved agricultural technologies

ADEY also aims to strengthen access to improved agricultural technologies, markets, and finance; improve the competitiveness of youth-owned micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) through capacity-building; enhance the skills and mindsets of young women and men through the provision of training and business development services; and create an enabling environment for young people to access and create work opportunities.

ADEY will be led by ATI and implemented in partnership with a consortium of organizations, including the Organization for Rehabilitation and Development in Amhara (ORDA) Ethiopia, the Oromia Development Association (ODA), HUNDEE, South Ethiopia Peoples’ Development Association (SEPDA), Somali Development Association, and PurposeBlack Ethiopia. Additional partners from civil society and the private sector will also be identified to reach young people at the grassroots level.

ATI will also leverage its experience in establishing and supporting MSMEs and designing and disseminating digital technologies in collaboration with various partners along the value chain.

$74.5 million grant

In addition, ATI will make use of its strategic regional presence across the country, through the former Southern Nations and Nationalities People (SNNP), Oromia, and Amhara regions, to seamlessly deliver solutions that reach beneficiaries all the way to the kebele levels. ADEY will also invest $74.5 million in grants to enhance employment opportunities for young people.

ADEY targets mainly women and seeks to impact their lives by facilitating job opportunities that lead to an improved quality of life in which they will have better decision-making power and autonomy. This will be achieved through:

  • Choosing and working with sectors that present a significantly higher potential for young women,
  • Outlining specific strategies and methodologies aimed at enhancing women’s capacities and abilities to participate in these sectors, and
  • Working with market system actors to identify and work on key barriers that prevent young women from participating in these value chains.

“ADEY is a flagship partnership with ATI and partners that aims to address youth unemployment through the removal of systemic barriers that hinder young people from accessing dignified work in agriculture. It will enable young people to acquire skills, technology, and tools to find employment either through self or wage employment in agriculture,” said Samuel Yalew Adela, Mastercard Foundation Country Director for Ethiopia.

“We believe ADEY will create a path for a new generation of young farmers and women-led agi-businesses across several value chains. Anchored at centre of the Foundation’s Young Africa Works strategy in Ethiopia, ADEY will contribute to our vision of creating a country success story by enabling young people to access dignified and fulfilling work,” he added.

Source: Farmers Review Africa

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