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Adopting an ecosystems approach to youth development

Utilizing farming and agriculture as a platform to cultivate leadership and soft skills in young people.

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EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA

My idea is drawn from research (http://www.youtheconomicopportunities.org/blog/2415/cultivating-ecosystem-youth-development) and work with an organization in New Orleans, LA, Grow Dat Youth Farm. It utilizes farming and agriculture to cultivate leadership skills in young people through an ecosystems approach. Using three change mechanisms (Real Talk, Real Work, and Real Accountability), we have engaged young people through farming to improve leadership and soft skills, and support workforce development. The model works by paying young people to work on a farm based on a values-based curriculum. Youth work in crews of 8 to 10 with an adult crew leader. Part of the produce that is grown is donated to the local community and the other is sold to help sustain the program. Youth engage in Real Work planting, harvesting, and selling produce, which creates a platform for learning about areas of growth. Working side by side with peers and adult staff, youth learn skills through interacting and through structured feedback from their crew leader during "Real Talk", an open communication platform where youth deliver and receive feedback related to their work performance, tied to the values/types of change we are seeking to create (e.g. communication, professionalism). This is all supported by a system of accountability, where youth are incentivized monetarily for adhering to the values and demonstrating growth. I want to adapt this model to East Africa and other contexts.

WHO BENEFITS?

Beneficiaries are young people between the ages of 13 and 25. Subsistence agriculture still dominates economic activity across eastern Africa (EA).It should be looked to as a platform to 1) advance soft skills and leadership capabilities, and 2) as a method of providing income for rural and urban settings. Entrepreneurship is being pushed across EA , but is not viewed as an opportunity by youth. This program builds skills and re-engages young people in farming.

TELL US MORE ABOUT YOU

I'm a researcher based in New Orleans. I work with global youth development organizations. I study entrepreneurship training, soft skill development, and other approaches aimed at tackling the youth bulge internationally. I think the ecosystem model should be adopted, adapted, and tested in E.Africa

WHERE WILL YOUR IDEA BE IMPLEMENTED?

  • Kenya

EXPERIENCE IN IMPLEMENTATION COUNTRY(IES)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

EXPERTISE IN SECTOR

  • I’ve worked in a sector related to my idea for over a year

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Agronomy Plus

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