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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?



Before using this guide, please read the notes in the introduction booklet.

All of the material in this module has been carefully thought out and tested with youth groups in a number of countries. It contains material which is thought to be important and appropriate for young people to know. However, because every group is different, it is not possible to produce a booklet which is perfect for everyone, so it is important to remember that this booklet is intended as a guide for the leader.

This means that it is up to you the leader to use this material as you see fit You may wish to adapt some of the group activities to make them more appropriate to your group.

Some of the material you may not wish to present yourself - perhaps because you do not feel technically competent or because you find it embarrassing or awkward to discuss certain matters with the youth group. In these cases you may wish to ask a local expert in that subject to address your youth group. For example, an agricultural extension officer for the agriculture projects, a small business advisor for income generating activities or a health worker for the health and nutrition aspects. Use of a resource person like this does not make your role as the group leader any less important, but they can add interest and authority to the subjects taught.

The modules may be used in any order, but the modules with the same colour cover are best used together since they cover one general area

First edition was published and field tested in 1988 and 1989 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Project INT/88/P98 "Integration of Population Education into Programmes for Rural Youth in Low-Income Countries" with funding from the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA).

This revision was published in 1990 and is based on field test findings from the first edition.

The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official view of FAO. The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

Original Concept and Text: W.I. Lindley & S.A. Dembner
This Revision: J.F. Cook
Illustrations: Anella Armas/Pandora Money


By participating in the activities of this module, group members will be able to:

· Describe the relationship between population employment, income and quality of life.

· Identify factors which influence rural-to-urban migration including the lack of employment opportunities in rural areas.

· Increase their understanding of how development and proper utilization of resources may increase future employment opportunities.

· Identify employment opportunities for youth.

Basic concepts

· When the amount of agricultural land is limited, the number of people needed to work the land is also limited. Rapid increases in population can result in an over-supply of labour.

· Income from agricultural land can he increased by increasing the amount of land being farmed or by improving the way the land is used. When the amount of land is limited, only the second method is possible.

· In rural areas where the amount of productive land is limited, small families usually have a better standard of living than large families.

· The lack of employment opportunities in rural areas, especially for young people, is leading to increases in rural-to-urban migration.

· Youth need to be aware of employment opportunities in rural areas, both farm and non-farm.

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.

Activity no. 2 - What is my community like?

What is my community like?

An activity designed to provoke a discussion about the issues of rural-to-urban migration.



Note: It is very important that group members identify for themselves what they see as the advantages and disadvantages of rural and urban life. The leader should not simply copy the chart from the background information. Of course, the leader is expected to suggest ideas that are not brought up by group members to ensure a complete chart. It may also be necessary for the leader to correct mistaken ideas.

· The participants are each given a piece of paper and a pencil (or any available writing materials).

· The leader lists the basic elements of a community: population size, land area, work opportunities, education, health, food, recreation, housing, etc.

· Each participant analyses his/her community according to these elements.

· A volunteer is asked to describe his/her village. Other group members participate by adding to the description or describing how their village/community varies if they are from another village. It is important to involve all the group members in the discussions.

· The group then discuss the advantages and disadvantages of living in rural and urban areas and the leader notes them on a chart.

· The leader can help to get the discussion started by asking some of the questions on page 23.


So that the group members will be able to:

· Identify the reasons people migrate from rural to urban areas.

· Discuss and analyse the advantages and disadvantages of migration, especially related to population and employment issues.

· Make informed decisions for themselves.



· A piece of paper to draw on and something to write with for each group member.

· A large piece of paper or a chalkboard for the group leader to use to make the chart of advantages and disadvantages of urban and rural life.

· The background information on the following pages.

Some background information for the group leader

How is migration affecting African life?

In most African countries the population of the cities is growing much faster than that of the rural areas. A part of this is due to rural-to-urban migration. That is rural people (especially young people) who leave their homes in the villages to try to find a better life in the cities.

Many different factors may contribute to the decision to migrate, but almost always the basic reason is that people cannot find adequate employment and income in the rural areas and are looking for a place where they will have a chance to make a better life for themselves and their families.

Often, young people believe that they will find better jobs and better living conditions in the cities. Unfortunately, most of them do not have the skills or qualifications needed to find city work. As a result, they are often worse off in the cities than they were in their homes in the rural areas.

Nonetheless, rural-to-urban migration continues, with the result that in many areas, urban populations are increasing very quickly. This may lead to overcrowded and even dangerous living conditions.

Migration may also serve to hide a population problem in a rural area. If many people move out of a village, it may appear that there is no population problem, even though many more people are being born than are dying. But when these people leave the rural areas, they do not just disappear. They go to the cities where they add to the demand for services.

What should people consider when deciding whether to migrate or not?

What should people consider when deciding whether to migrate or not?

Migration is a major life change and should be carefully considered before a decision is made. A decision based on poor information or false hopes can lead to an unhappy and unproductive lifestyle.

When considering migration, a young person first should discuss the idea with members of his or her family and community to be sure that local opportunities for employment and personal development are not being overlooked.

They should also think about what the short-term and long-term effects will be on their lifestyle. For example, if they decide to move to an urban area, where will they live? And do they have enough money to support themselves until they find a job?

If they find a job, what will their life be like in the city? Will they enjoy this environment or will they miss the rural area where life was quieter and more easy-going?

Perhaps it would be a good idea to visit the city for a short period to decide if they are making the right choice.

Another important factor to consider is the loss of family and friends who provide companionship, advice and support. A decision to migrate means that youth will have to depend completely upon themselves.

Migration is not necessarily wrong. For some people, a move from the rural areas to the city may be a good decision. But for many others, it may be better to remain in the rural areas, where they are culturally at home.

One possibility to consider is migration to another rural area or to a semi-urban area, rather than to the biggest city in the country. In smaller towns which are developing, there may he more opportunities than in the overcrowded large cities.

Rural Life

Potential advantages

Potential advantages

Rural lifestyle is more comfortable and pleasant.

In the rural areas, you have family and the village to help and support you.

As an agricultural producer, you can make a positive contribution toward your country's development.

A farmer is more likely to be able to improve his life by developing new land or obtaining loans for inputs than by beginning again in the city where life is hard and different.

There may be other agriculture related or non-agricultural employment opportunities in the rural areas.

Potential disadvantages

Potential disadvantages

There is sometimes not enough farmland for the number of people. Often, other inputs are also lacking such as fertilizer, improved seed and credit.

If a person does not want to be or cannot be a farmer, there may not be adequate training or non-farm work opportunities in the rural areas.

Educational and health facilities may be lacking. There may be no electricity or running water. There may not be opportunities for recreation.

Urban Life

Potential advantages

Potential advantages

Life in the city is more modern and exciting - there is more to do and life seems faster.

In the city, there are opportunities for both part-time and full-time employment.

Educational opportunities for children tend to be better.

More modern products are available in the cities.

Modern services and entertainments may be more common.

Potential disadvantages

Potential disadvantages

If you move to the city, you leave behind your family and friends and have only yourself to depend on.

The cost of living is very high in the city.

Many times, life in the city is more crowded and less healthy than in the country.

The services in the cities were not planned to serve so many people.

Employment opportunities in the cities may be available only to those with good qualifications.

In the big cities there is a lot of crime and theft. You can be afraid to go out of your house at night.

Some questions to start off the discussion

1. Where would you like to live if you have the choice?
2. What are the good things about life in your community?
3. What things are not so good about rural life?
4. What are the good things about life in the cities? What are the bad things?
5. What are some of the reasons people move to the city or stay in the rural areas?
6. Do you know someone who moved to the city without really considering all the possible effects? Are they happy?
7. What are some of the things to consider when deciding whether to live in a rural or an urban area?

Activity no. 3 - What can we do to improve our standard of living?

What can we do to improve our standard of living? (A)

What can we do to improve our standard of living? (B)

A role-play activity to decide on an income-generating project for the youth group.



Note: It is important that the leader does not just write out the list of possible activities as the object of the exercise is to encourage the group to think up ways to earn money by themselves.

· The leader explains that since the group has just discussed the need to develop ways for rural youth to increase their earning capacity, now they will take this idea further and decide what activity would be most appropriate and finally actually put it into practice.

· The leader suggests one or two ideas from the list given on pages 32-33 (or other ideas he or she may think are suitable, then asks the group for further suggestions. The group leader may add more ideas from the list if not enough are suggested.

· In groups of two or three, the participants then choose one activity they would like to consider doing.

· These small groups then decide among themselves with help from the group leader, how they would carry out the activity in reality. They should consider especially the points on page 31.

· Each small group prepares a drama imagining they are actually carrying out the activity. The rest of the groups act as the community. The drama should cover obtaining materials and start-up funds (if any) producing the goods, finding buyers, problems with funding, etc.

· After each presentation, the leader holds a discussion of the good and bad points of the activity and whether it would be practical or desirable in reality.

· The group then carry out one or more of the activities as they decide is appropriate.

· The group leader may wish to invite a small business advisor or similar resource person to assist groups in this planning exercise. It is important though that plans are not too ambitious to begin with, until the group members gain confidence in their abilities.

Note: it is important that the youth actually learn by doing.


So that group members will be able to:

· Understand that they are capable of finding ways to earn money, and that with good ideas and hard work, there are many ways that they can generate employment and income in the rural areas.

· Build up their confidence in their ability to work and earn income.

· Work together to earn income for their youth group.



· The suggestions for activities on pages 32-33 and the discussion questions on page 31.
· Enthusiasm and hard work.
· A desire to increase income and earning capacity.
· Possible assistance from resource persons or local small business advisors.

Some background information for the group leader

What kind of income-generating activities are possible for rural youth?

As we have seen in the other activities of this module, youth generally lack experience and capital. This means that income-generating activities must be simple and inexpensive to start.

There must be a need or market for any product before the group begin to work on their activity so it is important to check whether they will really be able to carry out the activity before too much time is spent on it.

Secondly, if something is to be produced, what will it cost to make and can it be sold for a high enough price to be worth the time and trouble?

If a loan or start-up funds are needed, will it be possible to obtain this? Can the group collect enough money to start, or can they borrow money with group responsibility to repay the loan?

How much time is required for the activity? What will they not be doing when they are working on this activity?

Will this activity have a good or bad effect on the community - on the environment?

Are similar goods already being produced, i.e. will there be competition which might lower the price which can be obtained?

Some income generating activities which might be suitable for rural youth groups are given overleaf

Details for some of these ideas may be obtained by contacting local assistance agencies. FAO is also producing a supplementary booklet to this module covering several ideas in more detail.

Some questions to start off the discussion

1. Is there a market need for this product/service?
2. Do we have enough money to start this activity or can we borrow it?
3. How much time will it take up?
4. What competition is there? From the same product - or similar products?
5. Where can we get the materials?
6. What effect will the activity have on the community?
7. What effect will it have on the environment?
8. Where can we get help to start the activity?

Some ideas for income generating activities

1. Group gardens: producing vegetables, fruits, spices, etc. for sale as fresh or processed produce.

2. Beekeeping

3. Raising chickens, rabbits or other small animals

4. Short season crops such as maize and groundnuts

5. Drying or preserving fruits and vegetables: e.g. with the solar dryer in the module on nutrition (Activity No. 3). Jam making is another possibility.

6. Soap making

7. Weaving baskets

8. Making craft items for the tourist trade

9. Carving

10. Candle making

11. Making oil lamps for use in homes

12. Tie dying or potato print designs for clothing

13. Candy production

14. Carpentry for furniture production

15. Low cost building materials: e.g. making bricks from mud and straw, bamboo cane and palm roof thatching. Making roofing tiles out of rubber tyres.

16. Building grain stores: or even just rat guards if funds and abilities are very limited to begin with.

17. Services: e.g. transport of goods, buying goods in a market for villagers or a child care nursery (so that adults can do other work).

Booklets in this Leaders Guide Series:

Population and Agriculture
Population, Employment and Income
Population and the Environment
Population and Nutrition
Population and Health
The Family and Family Size
Human Growth and Development
Responsible Parenthood
How the Population Changes
Community Involvement

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Integration of Population Education into Programmes for Rural Youth INT/88/P9