In Madagascar, the farmers’ organization Fifata has developed, with the support of Fert, a complete system for young farmers consisting of an initial agricultural training of 3 years followed by 3 years of support for professional integration. For the 979 young people who have graduated from agricultural colleges since 2006, the integration rate is approximately 85%.
Each Young Farmers’ Advisor (YFA) accompanies an average of 70 young people graduating. The latter have expressed a desire for even closer support and exchanges between peers. In order to improve the effectiveness of the support provided to young people, youth liaisons have been trained at the district level.
In 2019, 28 peer exchange students, an average of two per district, were identified. They are determined, ambitious, graduating young leaders at the community level. Their main missions are to: i) facilitate the exchange of information between young people in their district, their counselors and the regional farmers’ organizations that are members of Fifata; ii) develop local services (vaccine supply, group sales, etc.); iii) organize youth associations; iv) help diagnose the family farms of middle school students and monitor students in their third year of training.
Trained and operational young intermediaries
These young people were trained in planning, facilitation, and mobilization techniques, as well as in conducting meetings and preparing reports. They were then trained in the use of smartphones, their main working tool.
An innovative approach appreciated
The “Messenger” groups created in each region by the young leaders have strengthened solidarity and networking among young people graduating from agricultural colleges. On this platform, the young people share their experiences and exchange advice for the benefit of the other young people they accompany. They are increasingly consulted by other young people in their area as “peer-to-peer information”.
The youth leaders have been a valuable support for the YFAs when visits to young people were impossible because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The YFAs exchanged regularly with the young leaders by telephone to better accompany graduates at a distance.
Information about a young person is shared, supported by photos that the youth leaders post on the Messenger group. However, the effectiveness of the use of smartphones is limited by the network problem in some areas and the difficulty young people face in recharging batteries.
As far as associative life is concerned, since the beginning of 2020, five associations of young farmers graduating from agricultural colleges have been created at the district level with the support of the young leaders. The regional FOs identify these young leaders as future leaders for their governing bodies and are beginning to work closely with them.