As the world marks International Youth Day (12 August), US co-op body NCBA Clusa has highlighted its development work around the world.
This year, the United Nations’ theme for the day is Youth Engagement for Global Action. It wants to show how engagement of young people at local, national and global levels is enriching national and multilateral institutions and processes.
It also wants to draw lessons on how youth representation and engagement in formal institutional politics can be significantly enhanced.
For its part, NCBA Clusa says it works to address and engage youth in its projects to help individuals and families achieve resilience and economic security.
“Our community-led development approach engages youth, their families, and their communities by creating a positive environment in which youth can thrive,” the organisation – which works around the world through its international wing as well as in the USA.
“Our programmes empower youth and build their agency by providing leadership training and encouraging participation in local governance and community organisations such as co-operatives, associations, and producer organisations.
This includes preparing young people for work and self-employment by building life and entrepreneurship skills through training and hands-on learning.
“We strengthen youth economic opportunities through financial literacy education, training for youth to establish their own savings and credit associations and co-operatives, and by enabling youth participation along value chains,” it adds.
Projects included Youth Empowerment Through Agriculture (YETA) in Uganda. This is part of Youth Forward, a joint project run by NCBA Clusa with the MasterCard Foundation, Overseas Development Institute, Global Communities, Solidaridad, and GOAL.
In Senegal, NCBA Clusa is working with the US Development Agency on the Millet Business Services Project; (MBSP) this follows on from a value chain project which increased millet yields by 68% and sales revenues by 145%.
The new project focuses on post-harvest handling, building the capacity of producer organisations to access markets and add value to their crop. MBSP also builds private sector extension services for agricultural training, currently in short supply in Senegal.
The project has successfully engaged rural youth as farmers, agricultural entrepreneurs, and service providers. While youth (18-35) only make up 18% of the individuals reached in production, in processing and trade 42% are young women. The project created over 600 jobs in processing and handling and young people hold 93% of these jobs.
In Burkina Faso and Niger, NCBA Clusa is delivering a REGIS-ER USAID-funded project to drive resilience and economic growth (REGIS-ER). This is building the capacities of communities and local institutions to absorb, adapt and transform in the face of shocks and stresses.
The project focuses on three key themes:
- Sustainable livelihoods
Diversifying economic opportunities, through agricultural and animal production and marketing, access to financial services
- Strengthened governance
Regional capacity building, planning, natural resource management and land use, disaster and conflict risk management
- Improved health and nutrition
Access to potable water, capacity development of community health workers, training for nutritious local food consumption and gardening, behavior change communications for health actions, and latrine and well construction. To date, REGIS-ER has reached 143,859 children under five years old with nutrition programme.