This monograph is written for development practitioners and those interested in understanding, harnessing and developing the strengths of youth living in agricultural settings in low- and middle-income countries. Across the world, there is a growing recognition of the importance of such youth in the farming systems of today and into the future. In low- and middle-income countries, the large youth populations have the potential to contribute significantly to world-wide food and nutrition security, poverty reduction and the generation of new forms of employment. However, in much of the literature, young people are seen in a risk or problem frame rather than for their strengths and as potential partners in development efforts.
We use the Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea (PNG) as an example of the contextual information that can be collected in order to plan strengths-based engagement of youth, their families and communities in agricultural development. Following an overview of PNG’s smallholder agriculture, we present three contextual sections— family and community, demographics and sociocultural—each of which concludes by highlighting the design implications for strengths-based youth program development. We conclude the monograph by emphasising that youth are a diverse group of people with many sub-groups to be considered. The key to successful program design is to talk, listen and learn from young people themselves and build programs with young people that are based on their lived experience, knowledge, strengths and aspirations.
Strengths-based rural youth development programs — with, by and for young people.