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Lack of Education: A driving force behind young people’s engagement in small-scale agriculture

In rural areas worldwide, a concerning trend emerges as young women and girls increasingly gravitate towards small-scale agricultural endeavors. The latest findings from the World Data Lab (WDL) shed light on this phenomenon, revealing a stark correlation between the absence of education and the prevalence of agricultural engagement among this demographic. As opportunities for formal education remain limited, these individuals are propelled into agricultural work, highlighting the pressing need for targeted interventions to break this cycle of educational disparity and agricultural dependence.

In Rwanda, the figures presented by the World Data Lab paint a vivid picture of the situation: about 55% of youth are engaged in agriculture, with rural young women constituting the dominant workforce due to their low levels of education.

Nzaramba Samuel, a Scientist at World Data Lab (WDL), underscores the impact of education on employment opportunities. “Many people with low education find themselves in small-scale agriculture, so low education prevents them from finding other jobs,” he remarks, emphasizing the need for diversified employment options.

However, there’s hope for change. Urayeneza Anitha, an entrepreneur, challenges traditional gender stereotypes by showcasing the productivity and capability of women in various sectors. She emphasizes the importance of providing equal opportunities and encourages women to pursue education and employment without limitations.

Mfitundinda Amos, responsible for training and skills development at the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) acknowledges the challenges faced by uneducated youth in accessing the labor market. He emphasizes the government’s commitment to addressing youth unemployment through large-scale projects and initiatives aimed at providing employment opportunities.

Despite these efforts, youth unemployment remains a pressing issue, with statistics indicating a rate of 17.41% in 2022. Looking ahead, the Rwandan youth population is expected to increase significantly by 2030, presenting both opportunities and challenges for employment and economic growth.

The situation in Rwanda mirrors broader trends across the African continent. With a rapidly growing youth population expected to increase by almost 100 million between 2023 and 2030, addressing youth unemployment is paramount. Currently, 23 million African youth are unemployed, with projections indicating a rise to 27 million, highlighting the urgent need for comprehensive strategies and investments in education and employment opportunities.

In conclusion, while the lack of education continues to drive young people into small-scale agriculture, concerted efforts from governments, organizations, and communities are essential to break this cycle and empower youth with the skills and opportunities they need for a brighter future.

Carine Kayitesi

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