In most African countries it is hard for young graduates to find a job. Under the Jobs, Jobs, Jobs Programme Agriterra aims to stimulate business-oriented farmer cooperatives to create rural employment opportunities.
In 10 African countries ambitious young professionals were offered the opportunity to gain work experience in rural farmer-led businesses at known Agriterra partners. Agriterra co-financed the salary costs of the cooperatives that were enrolled into the programme and it was guiding the young professionals and the cooperatives in the development, implementation and evaluation of their personal development plan.
The programme started in 2019 and got a very high degree of interest and appreciation among the participating cooperatives. The programme coordinators of Agriterra succeeded in creating 360 new jobs!
It has been meaningful for cooperatives and young professionals in different ways.
For cooperatives, the programme helped to identify, meet, and solve some pressing issues. Small cooperatives which were emerging and needed support for them to reach a higher level, were able to take on next steps in their development. Recruits have supported cooperatives to become more professional and business oriented.
It was an eye opener for many cooperatives to see the need for certain critical staff who have direct impact to the cooperative, as well as to its members. Having the young professionals on board in these cooperatives has resulted in higher revenues, lower staff turnover, a clear division of responsibility between board and management and it has created great impact in client’s business, such as increase and sustainability of product volumes and quality.
As for the young professionals, the programme allowed them to gain more working experience and provided them with an opportunity to enter the job market and being coached.
“It helped me to show my capabilities and offered me an opportunity to learn responsibility and gain valuable skills as agronomist for future success in the workplace, not to mention making connections with people who may be helpful to my career goals.”
Moreover, it has proven to be a good way to introduce youth into cooperative businesses. Apart from contributing directly to rural employment which is a major challenge for most developing economies, the interest of youth in cooperatives and agriculture in general is achieved. It helped young graduates to get a job, work in their profession and support their community.