Youth moved up the agenda of the CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs) during 2018. Following the lead of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and its programs of “agripreneurs”, multiple CRPs enhanced their analysis and planning to incorporate youth and other aspects of equity into their research and pathways to impact.


MAIZE-Asia Youth Innovators Awards launched
MAIZE 2018 annual report


In 2018 the first MAIZE-Asia Youth Innovators Awards, a MAIZE initiative in collaboration with the Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) Asia, was held, which aimed to promote youth participation in maize-based agri-food systems. The awards recognized the contributions of young women and men implementing innovations in Asian maize-based agri-food systems, including research for development, seed systems, agribusiness, and sustainable intensification.

With the annual awards program, MAIZE aims to identify young innovators who can inspire other young people to become involved in maize-based agri-food systems.


Source: MAIZE, AR 2018.


Current work includes research, policy guidance and capacity development, often in the form of education opportunities. New research to define entry points and activities for youth covered such topics as employment opportunities and choices, livelihood impacts and migration behavior.


Assessing youth in fish agri-food systems
FISH 2018 annual report


Research led by IWMI in 2018 focused on assessing the role of youth in fish agri-food systems in eight FISH focal countries: Egypt, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zambia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Myanmar and the Solomon Islands.

Research provided an understanding of current youth engagement, a framework for analyzing youth inclusion, and identified potential interventions for more youth-inclusive aquaculture and small-scale fisheries. Findings from the eight countries indicate that while engagement in aquaculture and small-scale fisheries is not a first choice for many young people, those looking to engage, or remain engaged, face a number of challenges: gerontocracy; access to land, finances, inputs and other resources; influence in decision-making processes; and limited knowledge and know-how.

In some cases, aquaculture and small-scale fisheries are associated with hard physical labor, low pay and low social status. Yet opportunities do exist, and hold promise for young people. The fast-growing aquaculture sector in particular is creating employment and entrepreneurship opportunities in fish value chains. Integration of information and communications technologies in aquaculture and small-scale fishery value chains might also provide opportunities to enhance youth participation.

Research findings are being integrated into a brief on youth in fish agri-food systems and a FISH youth strategy due for release in 2019. In addition, actions are being integrated into new youth-focused interventions in the 10-country aquaculture component of the Technologies for African Agriculture Transformation initiative and youth-oriented capacity development initiative on aquaculture vocational and entrepreneurship training in Zambia.


Source: FISH, AR 2018.


Both gender-disaggregated data and age-disaggregated data are rare in agriculture – a problem that CGIAR is actively trying to resolve. The CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture (BIG DATA) reported that its repository, GARDIAN, provides access to a total of 1,399 publications which address youth issues, but only three CGIAR datasets. To promote the inclusion of youth-related standards in data uploaded to CGIAR repositories, the Platform integrated youth-related indicators in 2018 into the 100Q initiative to ensure that future CGIAR surveys adequately address youth and social inclusion in data that are collected (BIG DATA, 2018).


Engaging youth digital innovators
BIG DATA 2018 annual report


BIG DATA created a Youth in Data initiative, and engaged a group of young digital innovators from Africa and provided them with training on social media and journalistic data reporting. A group of 12 of these digital innovators (half from CGIAR institutions and half from other youth groups in Kenya and Nigeria) then participated in the Annual Big Data in Agriculture Convention in 2018.


Source: BIG DATA, AR 2018.


Research demonstrates that “youth” are not a homogenous group and that young people can face a variety of challenges according to culture and context. CRPs and Platforms recognize that intersectionality and links across youth, gender and other forms of social differentiation must be considered. FTA published a manual on intersectionality in 2018, and an FTA webinar on intersectionality hosted by the the PIM flagship-level CGIAR collaborative platform for gender research in 2018 was recorded and is available as a companion to the manual. The webinar had the highest number of listeners among Platform-hosted webinars in 2018 (FTA, 2018).


Social protection and marginalized communities
PIM 2018 annual report


In 2018, PIM research on social protection for agriculture and resilience included studies on the impact of social protection programs in ten countries (Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Mali, Pakistan, Peru, Uganda and Yemen) on a variety of outcomes, including poverty, income and assets, nutrition, resilience, gender, education, agricultural investment and labor supply.

Work with FTA in Uganda, Peru and Indonesia highlighted in a set of briefs the need to address social differentiation in reforms recognizing collective rights in forestlands, and the relevance of disaggregating results to analyze how formalization processes influence changes in rights for vulnerable groups.

Additionally, PIM findings were used to modify the design of social protection programs in Bangladesh (the Vulnerable Group Development Program and the Improved Maternity and Lactating Mothers Allowance Program), Egypt (the “Takaful and Karama” program), and Mali (“Programme de Filets Sociaux du Mali Jigisémèjiri”).

Responding to increasing demand from Funders and the development community, PIM included a new area of work on helping poor people to improve their resilience in fragile settings. This research generated policy-relevant insights on humanitarian aid responses in Mali, on the national cash transfer program in Yemen, and on the economic activities of the forcibly displaced Rohingya populations in Bangladesh.


Source: PIM, AR 2018.



Photo by I. Serrano/IRRI