In Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania farmers face a series of similar challenges including low farm productivity, limited access to vital farming information, and difficulties in accessing the markets. Cafédirect Producers’ Foundation (CPF), in partnership with Restless Development, has created the Global Resilience Partnership (GRP) in order to help Producers Organisations (POs) tackle these issues.
The GRP program engages young people through digital agricultural tool providers (MasterCard Labs and WeFarm) and youth engagement experts (KENVO and ourselves, Restless Development) with a coalition of partners. The coalition (the Rockefeller Foundation, USAID, and Swedish Sida) is working to improve youth engagement in PO activities and to deepen youth participation in agriculture.
Restless Development Uganda is contributing to this coalition by working towards two goal areas: 1) strengthening POs’ youth engagement strategies and 2) conducting research to determine how best to incentivise young people’s adoption of digital agricultural tools.
How does it work?
Caption: Staff of Restless Development and young people from the Kayonza Growers Factory in front of the tea factory.
Restless Development is providing youth engagement capacity-building to the POs. These capacity-building trainings are tailored to address each of their specific contexts based on our needs assessment. The needs assessment was done in two steps—an online quantitative self assessment and an in-person qualitative follow up through focus discussion groups. At the end of this training, we will lead them to action-planning to mainstream youth engagement into their strategies and provide ongoing mentorship to help them do so.
Restless Development Uganda is partnering with WeFarm, a peer-to-peer communications platform which enables smallholder farmers in the most isolated regions in East Africa to crowdsource solutions, using just a basic mobile phone to send a local-rate SMS.
Our team will mobilise members of our volunteer peer educator alumni to act as Youth Ambassadors for the WeFarm tool. Once trained, they will take the tool to their Youth Groups and their communities to show other young people like themselves how the tools works and to register them.
Throughout this process, we will be conducting research both on the experience of the Youth Ambassadors in conducting outreach to young people around using digital agricultural tools and on the experience of new young users. The former half of the research will help us and WeFarm understand how best to promote digital agricultural tools in way that is youth-friendly, and the latter half will help us understand how to best maximise the usability of the tool.
We will use these findings to inform our own outreach, where we share the findings and the tool with other communities through such techniques as mobile caravans and community theater.
Caption: Workers from Kayonza Growers Tea Factory in Kanungu during one of the focus group discussions on youth engagement
Our impact is measured on our reach in the community; how many young people are affected and influenced by our program. The three POs that we train will be able to work with more existing youth groups and build new youth groups in their communities. We expect them also to integrate young people more meaningfully in their policies, practices, and organisational structure.
Our research will help the development community understand how to equip young people with available agricultural tools and will help WeFarm to improve their youth-focused outreach. Our Youth Ambassador’s outreach, which includes innovative ways of sharing our findings, will allow more young people to integrate digital tools to their agricultural practices.