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close this bookPopulation, Employment and Income (FAO)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAims/objectives
View the documentBasic concepts
View the documentActivity no. 1 - What I will do as an adult
View the documentActivity no. 2 - What is my community like?
View the documentActivity no. 3 - What can we do to improve our standard of living?

Activity no. 1 - What I will do as an adult

What I will do as an adult

A group discussion on the employment/income expectations of the group members.



· The leader starts off the discussion by asking for volunteers (one at a time) who will describe what they expect to do as an adult.

· The leader then asks the volunteers whether what they expect to do is what they would really like to do, and if not, what they would rather do and why they do not think they will be able to.

· The other members of the group participate by helping to identify limitations and possible ways to overcome them.

· The leader notes down the type of work and the possibilities and limitations involved.

· The activity continues until all of the group members in turn have discussed their work expectations with the leader noting each new activity on a chart.

· The group then discuss the list of activities on the chart and whether there are any other possibilities for employment which they have not considered.

· At the conclusion of the discussion, the leader helps group members identify potential sources of guidance and counseling, credit and training for jobs and careers (parents, successful community members, training institutions and counseling services, etc.).


So that group members will be able to:

· Recognize the relationship between available resources, the population and the employment opportunities in rural areas.

· Express their desires in terms of employment and income and consider the opportunities/challenges facing them as they make career decisions.

· Identify sources of career guidance, counseling and training.



· Interest and careful thinking on the part of the group members.

· The background information on the following pages.

· A chalkboard or large sheet of paper for the leader to list jobs and their advantages and disadvantages.

· Some sources of guidance, counseling and training (obtained from the national population education coordinator).

Some background information for the group leader

What is the relationship between population and agricultural employment?

When the number of people was smaller and there was plenty of land, a large family often had more income/wealth than a small family. This was because, with more working hands, the family could farm more land or tend more animals.

Today, however, in many areas, most of the good agricultural land is already being used. There is no longer unlimited room for expansion.

When the amount of land available for agricultural production is limited, the number of people needed to work the land is also limited.

If the population remains steady or grows slowly, a balance can be maintained between the number of available jobs and the amount of available labour

But if the population increases rapidly, as is happening in many areas, the result is that there are not enough agricultural employment opportunities to provide work for everyone in the rural areas. As a result, increasing numbers of rural youth are unemployed.

Couldn't the available land just be divided up among a larger number of people?

Field and people

Field and people

This is what is happening in many areas. If a farmer has one hectare of land and two children, and he divides the land equally between them, each will receive one-half hectare to farm. But if the farmer has six children, each one will only get a plot which covers one-sixth of a hectare. Simply increasing the number of people at work on a given piece of land, whether they all work together or divide the land into many smaller plots, will not result in much increase in production. Production per person will actually decrease.

If the land is divided among too many people, the plots may be too small to be economically viable. That is, they will require work but that work will not result in enough produce or income to feed the farmer and his family.

Apart from production of crops or animals, what other agricultural employment opportunities exist?

At present, as much as one-third of all agricultural production in Africa is wasted as a result of poor post-harvest practices. As the population increases, it becomes more and more important that every hit of agricultural production is used efficiently.

Employment and income-generating opportunities for rural youth may exist in post-harvest activities. For example, it may be possible to establish a business which specialises in building improved granaries or storage sheds for harvested produce, thereby reducing losses due to insects and rodent pests.

Another possibility for post-harvest employment is processing or preservation of perishable produce.

For example, fruits can be bottled and stored for sale and use during the season when they are not available fresh. Vegetables can be dried to ensure c year-round supply (see Activity No. 3 in the Population and Nutrition module).

Note: Some ideas for income-generating activities are contained in Activity No. 3 of this module, in Activity No. 4 of the module on Population and Nutrition, and in Activity No. 3 of the module on Population and Agriculture. Suggestions for other income-generating schemes can be obtained by contacting the local office of FAO or the International Labour Organization (ILO). A supplementary booklet to this leaders guide giving details for a number of suggestions is also being produced.

What about non-farm employment for youth in the rural areas?

What about non-farm employment for youth in the rural areas?

Non-farm jobs tend to be very scarce in the rural areas and young people are at a special disadvantage due to their age, relative lack of experience and lack of capital.

There is a need to develop more non-farm jobs in the rural areas. These jobs, for example, local blacksmiths and repair shops, carpenters, dress makers and other manufacturers, can create employment and income opportunities for youth in the rural areas. Some of these activities require special training but others can be started by youth groups as income-generating schemes.

What are some of the factors that limit the opportunities for rural youth?

Lack of experience. Young people often have less experience and are therefore less qualified for employment. If youth get married and have children before getting some work experience, they further limit their opportunities for employment because they cannot so easily travel for work or training.

Lack of training. Training opportunities for rural youth tend to be very scarce. When training is available, it is often through centrally-located institutions instead of in the rural communities. This makes it very difficult for many rural youth to participate. Rapid population growth makes competition for the limited opportunities even harder.

Lack of capital. There is a saying, "It takes money to make money." Most rural youth do not have the necessary resources to start a business on their own. However, by joining together, for example through the youth group, they may be able to afford the necessary inputs, or to obtain a loan.

Sexual stereotypes. Sometimes, people do not consider women and especially young women as equal to men in terms of the jobs they could do. But where women are being given equal opportunities, it is clear that they are equal. There are very few jobs which can only be done by a man - or only done by a woman.

Lack of education. Education is a key to becoming a more productive, self-reliant individual. But in many rural areas, especially where there is rapid population growth, youth are often unable to complete their schooling, either because they cannot afford school fees, or because there are not enough places in the schools. In addition, training which is appropriate for the rural areas, for example, agriculture, is still not included in many school programmes. Opportunities for continuing education beyond school, are also not often available. Young women often have even less opportunity than young men for further education because people sometimes do not think it is important for women to have a good education.

What are some of the factors that limit the opportunities for rural youth?

What happens at the family level when rural youth cannot find employment?

When rural youth cannot find employment, they remain dependent on their parents, further increasing the dependency ratio, that is, the number of people who do not work for each person who does.

When the dependency ratio in a family is high, the family's resources are spread thinly among too many people. This may mean that there is not enough food for everyone to eat well, or that the family is crowded into one or two rooms, or that not all of the children can be sent to school. The quality of life of the whole family is lowered.

Another big problem that arises when young people in the rural areas cannot find employment is an increase in crime and delinquency. If youth lose hope of supporting themselves and a family by legal means, they may turn to illegal activities - stealing, black market business, even violent crimes.