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INCLUDE is the knowledge platform on inclusive development policies.
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Inclusive Youth Agripreneurship in Africa: A New Report and a Comprehensive Policy Brief on Advancing Youth Entrepreneurship in Agriculture

1. Februar 2023 - 10:17

Fostering entrepreneurship among young individuals in the agriculture sector is acknowledged as a groundbreaking, cross-disciplinary approach to leverage the tremendous potential of the African agricultural industry. Programs and policies centered on promoting youth agripreneurship offer job creation opportunities for young people and enhance their entrepreneurial capacity.

The Inclusive Youth Agripreneurship in Africa research project is a joint venture between The Broker and two Dutch knowledge platforms, the Netherlands Food Partnership and INCLUDE. The project’s goal is to strengthen the existing research on best practices for youth agripreneurship programs and policies, catalyzing action from policymakers and youth organizations alike. The project was finalized with two innovative knowledge products, both of which are now available for download.

The new Insights Report produced by The Broker analyzes the current research and identifies what works and what doesn’t in terms of promoting youth agripreneurship. It also provides recommendations on how to improve the programs’ impact by focusing on meaningful youth engagement.

The Policy Brief provides clear, actionable policy recommendations for policymakers looking to invest in creating decent jobs for African youth through effective and inclusive youth agripreneurship initiatives. The brief outlines six key recommendations for boosting inclusive youth agripreneurship in Africa.

Het bericht Inclusive Youth Agripreneurship in Africa: A New Report and a Comprehensive Policy Brief on Advancing Youth Entrepreneurship in Agriculture verscheen eerst op INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

Digital Skills for Youth Employment in Africa

24. Januar 2023 - 10:11

Digitalisation and technological advancements are changing the world of work and the skills needed for employment. In Sub-Saharan Africa alone an estimated 230 million jobs will require digital skills within the next decade offering employment opportunities for its ever growing youth population. However, young people in Africa face several barriers that prevent them to obtain the types of skills required for employment. The evidence synthesis paper published by INCLUDE explores the challenges and opportunities of this digital transformation and presents recommendations of how to equip Africa’s youth for the future of work.

Digital advancements are changing the world of work. It is estimated that over the next ten years, 9 out of 10 jobs globally will require digital skills. This digital transformation has the potential to reverse the trend of ‘jobless growth’ in Africa, altering the structure of African economies by investing in digitally-enabled decent jobs. However, it is still unclear what the main challenges and opportunities are in this transformation and which skills are needed to capitalise on it. To find an answer to these questions, INCLUDE commissioned ThinkYoung, an international youth Think Tank, to critically engage with the key interrelated drivers and barriers to digital skills development and employment for young people in Africa. The conclusions are now published in the new evidence synthesis paper: Digital Skills for Youth Employment in Africa, which sheds light on the question of what digital skills actually are and what is needed to create an enabling policy environment for these.

Digital Skills

Digital skills are specific skills that enable people to use digital technology to solve real-world problems. Broadly, digital skills can be divided into ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ skills. Depending on the work, different skills or different levels of proficiency are required. These range from basic to highly specialized, where one can solve complex problems in big data analytics, computer programming, or Artificial Intelligence (AI).

  • Hard skills refer to technical knowledge and skills for using digital technology. These are skills you are trained for, they can be measured and are often job specific, like coding or using particular software.
  • Soft skills are the skills you need to navigate and learn in the digital world. They are generally taught and developed throughout the life cycle. Digital soft skills are often cognitive, social and emotional skills. They are abilities that people use for communication, creativity and problem-solving, including skills such as content creation and decision-making.

Foundational skills are a precondition for developing digital skills. These include basic skills, such as basic literacy and numeracy, and transferable skills, such as self-regulation and self-esteem, teamwork, dealing with emotions, and self-confidence. Foundational skills provide the building blocks for lifelong learning. To invest in digital skills therefore also means investing in foundational skills.

In addition to digital and foundational skills, digital literacy becomes increasingly important in the future of work. Digital literacy encompasses both the different abilities/skills and levels of proficiency that allow someone to access, use, manage and create digital information and digital tools. Digital literacy empowers people in exchange, collaboration, and participation through ICT.

Barriers to Digital Skills Development in Africa

Many African youths entering the labour market currently do not have the required skills due to the following barriers that they face:

1. Unequal access to digital infrastructure

The digital divide is the inequality between individuals with regard to digital technology. This includes the lack of digital infrastructure coupled with financial inequality (gaps in access to devices, the internet and digital technology) as well as inequality in the use of digital technology due to unequal levels of digital literacy. It is increasingly clear that marginalised groups are at risk of being left further behind. 

2. Unequal access to quality education

Primary and secondary education is paramount for developing digital skills, and for the equitable uptake of foundational digital skills and the relevant soft and hard skills. This requires qualified teachers and improved enrolment across the continent, especially in remote areas and among girls. Teaching digital skills also requires access to relevant infrastructure, equipment and connectivity in schools, with a specific focus on rural areas and marginalised groups.

Infographics by Charles Howard

3. Underdeveloped and not up-to-date TVET

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) has great potential to improve digital skills uptake. It must, however, be carefully designed and targeted with direct input from employers and strong links to the job market. For example, East African countries have effectively begun to overcome TVET challenges by adopting the Regional TVET Qualifications Framework, mainstreaming regional qualifications into national policies and qualification frameworks, and improving overall TVET standards.

4. Gender barriers

Digital technology is not gender-neutral. Girls and women face more challenges in accessing and affording technology and the internet than boys and men. Social norms and gender inequality underlie gaps in digital access and use for women and girls. These norms and inequalities also present barriers to girls’ education, which in turn is essential for learning digital skills. Therefore, policies aimed at digital transformation should be inclusive and focus on gender mainstreaming in digital strategies.

Enabling Policy Environment

Digitalisation as a pathway for development and job creation has become increasingly central to African policies and programmes. The African Union Agenda 2063, for example, puts digital education as one of its key priorities. That includes universal access to quality childhood, primary, secondary, and university education, gender parity, and the strengthening of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

Following the increased attention for digital skills in policy and programming, there is a strong need for policy coherence to ensure interventions across the entire digital ecosystem address education system reform and tackle the digital divide and gender gaps. Some key recommendations for this include:

  1. Improve the quality and relevance of general education through foundational digital skills learning and access to the relevant infrastructure, devices, and connectivity.
  2. Leverage the potential of TVET by improving links with industry, targeting both high-skilled and low-skilled occupations, and harmonising curricula and qualifications. 
  3. Realise the African Union Agenda 2063 through policy coherence and mutually enforcing actions targeting the digital divide and boosting education and training, digital infrastructure, and employment. 
  4. Gender mainstream digital transformation policies to tackle the digital gender divide and ensure digital skills learning for marginalised women and girls. 
  5. Target digital skills in low productive sectors and informal work to promote digitally enabled jobs for marginalised groups and in the agricultural sector. 
  6. Secure Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) across the entire digital ecosystem to foster digital transformation and structural change.
Evidence Synthesis Paper For more information and case studies of digital skills for youth employment in Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa read the full evidence synthesis paper.

Het bericht Digital Skills for Youth Employment in Africa verscheen eerst op INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

Addressing the disconnects: Meaningful youth engagement in youth employment programmes and policies

18. Januar 2023 - 11:53

Employment policies and programmes can only be successful if youth are meaningfully and structurally engaged. Strengthening youth engagement has been a key theme for many organizations over the last few years. Government institutions are also increasingly becoming aware of the need to engage youth for creating decent employment opportunities. Nevertheless, important disconnects persists. Strategic long-term partnerships, better coordination between political actors, as well as more inclusive private sector are among key strategies for meaningful youth engagement.

These are key recommendations presented during the webinar “Addressing the Disconnects: Promoting Youth Engagement for Decent Employment” that took place on 13 December 2022. The webinar was organised by INCLUDE and Youth Employment Funders Group (YEFG), with the support of Restless Development, the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Citi Foundation and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In an interactive conversation between youth representatives and panellists from IDS and Restless Development, the webinar explored:

  • Key recommendations on promoting youth engagement within the policy landscape from the new evidence synthesis paper prepared for INCLUDE by IDS in the frame of the ‘Boosting Decent Employment for Africa’s Youth’ partnership (by Dr. Marjoke Oosterom – research fellow at IDS, University of Sussex – and Dr. Thomas Yeboah – research fellow with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana)
  • Lessons learnt from Restless Development’s youth engagement portfolio and its Meaningful Youth Engagement Lab (by Restless Development’s Head of Resource Mobilisation in Tanzania – Farida Makame).

The key policy question for the debate was put forward in the opening remarks by the new Ambassador for Youth, Education and Employment at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Jurriaan Middelhoff: how can policymakers and programmers more meaningfully and structurally engage with youth for better employment outcomes? This question is particularly important for the Dutch Ministry in their activities in Africa, where work and income for youth is one of the most urgent policy challenges, and therefore is a key issue in the new Dutch Policy on Foreign Trade and Development. The Netherlands’ Youth at heart strategy sees meaningful youth engagement as structural interactions between policymakers and youth and recognises youth as partners.

Three key messages to meaningfully engage youth in youth employment policy and practice could be distilled from the webinar discussion between the panellists and youth discussants: Joshua Alade, Executive Director of Nigerian Youth SDGs Network; Rahma Seleman Jumanne, Partnership and Training Coordinator at Youth Challenge International Tanzania; and Dr. Kwasi Owusu Poku, Executive Director of Youth Development, Research and Innovation Centre in Ghana.

1. Strategic alliances can overcome tokenism and adult-initiated youth engagement. 

  • Broaden strategic partnerships beyond CSOs, including unions or the media, in order to amplify youth’s voices. Also, work across different policy spaces besides national youth authorities.
  • Seek strategic alliances with other civil society actors, for instance with women organisations around gender inequalities in the workspace and workplace sexual harassment, and with informal trader associations to defend the rights of young people working in the informal economy.
  • Establish sustainable long-term partnerships that make youth feel comfortable. Therefore, provide organisations with flexible funding for capacity building to address the lack of technical know-how on the part of youth civil society for different policy processes.

2. Policy change is a coordination challenge.

  • Youth engagement is very limited in national policy formulation, in particular with respect to other policies that matter for decent youth employment, such as labour policies, SMEs, trade and commerce, and agricultural policies.
  • National youth authorities must recognise their mandate (to engage young people) and need to improve coordination between the different actors. However, they often focus on implementation, which results in competing with CSOs and development partners.
  • Policy influencing is easier to do together with donors/funders and NGOs. Preconditions are clear and transparent accountability and reporting mechanisms between policymakers and youth constituencies.

3. The private sector needs to step up.

  • Youth employment in Africa is driven by the private sector but critical disconnects persist: Most youth employment is informally organized, and young women face the risk of vulnerable employment when workplace safety is not addressed. This could be done when ‘matching’ and working directly with firms.
  • Companies can become champions for youth participation through bilateral relationships between embassies and other actors. However, they need to be more inclusive and open to youth’s diversity by implementing protective measures for the most vulnerable, e.g. to protect from sexual exploitation.
  • Integrate strategies for building young people’s civic and political capacities within funded programmes, which they need to negotiate with employers and develop the confidence to have meaningful voice.

Finally, it is left to say that bringing together these different actors, each speaking from a different perspective, has resulted in an interactive exchange of lessons learnt, best practices and concrete recommendations that served as fruit-for-thought to bring youth engagement practices to a new level of effectiveness. As Philip Fitzgerald – Senior Program Officer at Citi Foundation – emphasized in his closing statement meaningful youth engagement is not a one-size-fits-all solution, it must be tailored to organisations, but a participatory approach is always needed.

If you would like to learn more about practising meaningful youth engagement, please find relevant resources in the box below.

Additional Resources

  INCLUDE Knowledge Platform

  Institute of Development Studies (IDS)


  Restless Development

  Additional resources recommended by participants



Het bericht Addressing the disconnects: Meaningful youth engagement in youth employment programmes and policies verscheen eerst op INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

A decent proposal: self-employment for women in Uganda

15. Januar 2023 - 11:02

This blog is part of a case study that examined decent work in the context of the work lives of self-employed and rural women in central Uganda in collaboration with 100WEEKS, a cash transfer graduation programme that aims to get women out of poverty through 100 weeks of mobile money transfers, the formation of Village Savings and Loans Associations, and weekly group trainings by a coach following a fixed curriculum.

The concept of Decent Work is frequently and variably used in employment programmes to capture the nature and quality of jobs. According to the ILO website, it

“sums up the aspirations of people in their working lives. It involves opportunities for work that is productive and delivers a fair income, security in the workplace and social protection for all, better prospects for personal development and social integration, freedom for people to express their concerns, organize and participate in the decisions that affects their lives and equality of opportunity and treatment for all women and men.”

Creating decent jobs is imagined as getting people out of under- or unemployment, subsistence agriculture or precarious self-employment situations. The concept was introduced by the ILO in 1999 and applied to formal, informal and self-employed work. Since then, it has become clear that more information and knowledge is needed to include workers in non-formal employment, not merely for their transition into formal economy – and this is still valid today.

According to the ILOSTAT database, an overwhelming majority (almost 90%) of the working population of Uganda is doing informal work. What’s more, the Uganda National Household Survey of 2019/20 shows that 41% of all working people are independent workers without personnel (self-employed), while 47.6% works in subsistence agriculture only. In 2013/14, around 80% of the working population was self-employed. A big challenge for employment programmes is to cater to the group of self-employed in a way that contributes to the objective of decent work. Failing to do so would mean excluding a large proportion of the working population in Uganda.

Decent self-employment?

Self-employment is characterised by multiple sources of income and/or sustenance pursued by one individual, sometimes with help of close of kin. These activities are often essential jobs which can range from agriculture, livestock, to trade, retail, care work, or catering. Wage employment can be one of the activities in this palette, for example working as casual labourer on someone else’s farm. While this can be a hard life with few prospects and high risks, there are career pathways imaginable beyond simply gaining wage employment and a formal decent job. In particular, there are aspects of self-employment that attracts women to work – and keep working – this way.

The women in the case study point out that independence is important in their working lives. Instead of working for someone else, they prefer to retain control over their time, money and savings by working for themselves in agriculture, trade or other professions. This is mostly informed by previous experiences with casual labour on others’ fields or households. Choosing self-employment means hoping for a career pathway that gradually improves a life. This may evolve from precarious work such as casual labour or renting a small plot with low-value crops to increasingly independent forms of work such as owning a plot of land growing a mix of food and cash crops, adding livestock, or food processing. These women, being in rural areas, especially focus their pathways on agricultural activities, or trade of agricultural produce.

The study shows that there is something extra needed to travel this path – a sense of stability and the confidence to start. The programme of 100WEEKS provides a platform of income stability for two years, and a group of peers to share inspiration, business ideas and savings with. This is one way of enabling self-employed women to build a career, the key being that they themselves are building it, starting from their own experiences and ideas. Instead of innovating and trying something new, risk aversion means taking inspiration from peers to start a business or change a crop. This risk-aversion entrepreneurialism is called ‘me-too strategy’. This means that innovations, such as new crops, or new business ideas should be proven and trusted before they catch on. These innovations should also have the capacity to sustain the me-too entrepreneurs once they catch on. There are further opportunities in organising which may take the form of (farmers) cooperations, joint business or savings groups.

What does this mean for employment programmes

The self-employment lifestyle means that work is woven into almost all of the aspects of daily life. Realities of work are intertwined with the basic needs of households, costs of education and access to markets. Doing this will mean getting those people in the room where decisions and designs are made, and include them in the objectives, process, and outcomes. But it will also mean expanding the room – or rather, building a new one – in which these realities of work are addressed by adequate employment policy.  Decent work programmes should accommodate this world of work if it is to make good on universal aspirations.

The women in the case study presented children’s education and health care as the main reasons for spending money. They also pointed to the poor conditions of wage employment options that are available to them, generally on fields of land-owning farmers. In a system of inequality, employment is only one pillar, alongside healthcare, education, social protection, infrastructure and basic services that typically underpin a decent formal job in a high-income country. Employment programmes are only one among the many aspects influencing quality and equality of life.  For example, access to credit and markets to sell products at a reasonable price is one of the challenges for agricultural producers in Uganda, making them vulnerable to predatory middlemen and loan sharks. It is this system that remains unchallenged by only focussing down narrowly on jobs and their quality.

The Decent jobs movement aligns partly with the working reality of self-employed women in this case study of Uganda, as it concerns productive work (as opposed to exploitative work), fair income, and better prospects for personal development and social integration. Focusing on these and other elements of decent work, though, follows a different path than in the case of (informal or formal) MSMEs. The personal realities of working people take centre stage. A pathway may run through suboptimal options for work, and the term ‘decent’ has certain connotations that point to moral rather than qualitative aspects of work.

In a recent report, the ILO presented integrating income support for workers with active labour market policies in a more comprehensive approach to employment. Like the 100WEEKS programme, this approach positions economic activity within the broader context of work life – that concerns prospects, social connections, group activities and savings, economic stability, and skills. This can promote pathways to decent work for self-employed women. Social protection, in the form of cash transfers, could provide the basis for economic stability that allows the pathway to become visible for the self-employed. It can increase the productivity, resilience and health of self-employed workers, making social protection an investment in the local economy.

Decent Jobs and INCLUDE

We will soon publish a report about this case study on our website. You can read more of our work on employment here. Take a look at the Youth@Work webinar series with ILO/IDRC and Decent Jobs for Youth, highlighting the youth perspectives on decent work, as well as our latest work on youth employment and Green Jobs.

The Evidence Synthesis Reports Series is the best place to start if you want to sharpen your knowledge on all things Inclusive Development. From workplace based learning and youth employment, to the fourth industrial revolution and the future of work, to rural youth employment in Africa.

Het bericht A decent proposal: self-employment for women in Uganda verscheen eerst op INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

Do Ugandan rural smallholder farmers have green jobs?

10. Januar 2023 - 11:08

This blog is part of a case study in collaboration with TUNADO and Woord en Daad that examines how smallholder agriculture and apiculture fit into the green jobs discussion, and how policy could accommodate this. TUNADO is the Ugandan Apiculture Development Organisation, the leading body for the development of the apiculture sector in Uganda. It is a member-based organisation representing beekeepers and other apiculture actors on a national and international level, and channelling funds and projects to promote the sector. Woord en Daad is a Dutch faith-based development organisation involved in some of the projects with TUNADO. The aim of the case study is to place smallholder agriculture in the green jobs discussion, and see how it fits, or doesn’t.

Context and Concept green jobs

There is no uniform understanding of the concept Green Jobs. However, the ILO states “Green jobs are decent jobs that contribute to preserve or restore the environment, be they in traditional sectors such as manufacturing and construction, or in new, emerging green sectors such as renewable energy and energy efficiency.” The concept is inherited from UNEP’s work on the green transition and the fear of its negative impacts on the job market, which argues that instead of merely making jobs obsolete, the green transition will create new jobs, while existing ones can become more ‘green’.

The concept of green jobs is adopted and adapted by youth employment programmes, as a way of determining the direction and quality, the characteristics and sectors of jobs they are creating. These jobs should not be merely quantified, but also assessed on quality, decency and whether they are actually ‘green’ or not.

Green jobs programmes tend to prioritise industry, manufacturing, energy and waste sectors above agriculture. Given the historical importance of the agricultural sector in the economic progress of many countries, it should have an important position. In Uganda the majority of agricultural producers are smallholders. Similar to the Decent Jobs discussion, the concept faces the challenge of echoing the general trend to prioritise formal MSME companies in industries and manufacturing. This is a problem when the vast majority of workers is left out because they are working informally and in smallholder agriculture. So, how to apply this concept on the rural smallholders so that they can be included in the employment creation efforts?

Smallholders in a changing world

Climate change effects are no future threat. Africa, the continent that is responsible for less than 4% of global emissions today (and most of that in extractive industries that export to non-African countries), is already facing the harsh reality of climate change. Smallholder agriculture in African countries is already under pressure from immediate consequences of climate change – being dependent on quality of nature and predictability of seasons. This is also recounted by the beekeepers in this study: rains fall less frequently, less predictably, and often more devastatingly – with harsh consequences such as prolonged droughts and floods.

The smallholder farmers in this case study have increasingly faced failed crops, loss of livestock and uncertainty. Their positions as producers in value chains are challenging, with low access to markets beyond their immediate vicinity, and little power to set prices or to influence other external factors to their economic situation. This limits them in their growth and productive trajectories. Still, they can be crucial caretakers of the environment and remain the backbone of agricultural production.

Several beekeepers have shifted to combining agroforestry with their other crops to diversify and create a conducive environment for the bees. Therefore, smallholders are already faced with adaptation issues. Adaptation means to change ecological, social or economic systems to deal with climate change and its effects, especially in order to mitigate potential damages, or to benefit from opportunities. This could include ‘greening’ a sector by making it more resilient to the changes that are already deeply affecting it. The Ugandan smallholder sector is unlikely to go anywhere in the coming decade, so adaptation should become a priority.

Green arguments for smallholders

Some of the smallholders in the study already work on diversifying their farming practices by mixing in cashew trees, fruit trees, drought resistant crops and beekeeping. When one farmer is seen doing these things successfully, other smallholders in their vicinity follow short. This means there is potential for green jobs in smallholder agriculture.

Watershed management and a combination of farming, beekeeping and agroforestry are possibilities to adapt to erratic weather patterns and rainfall. Diversifying food crops with cash crops from trees adds value to the economic side of farming. Regenerating the soil and stopping degradation and erosion can be one of the features of smallholder agriculture. And finally, organising and collectivising smallholder farmers into cooperatives, savings groups and value chain member-based organisations can be a powerful vector in the promotion of their livelihoods and their role in food security and ecosystems.

The difficult fit for smallholder agriculture in the green jobs discussion points to a gap. Possibly, the heterogeneous nature of the large population group of smallholders may make it difficult to provide a tailor-made approach for employment creation. Secondly, the fact that these smallholders already have a ‘job’ in their agricultural activities may make ‘employment creation’ difficult to imagine. Still, there should be ways to include them effectively into the green jobs movement. This could be done by looking at the potential change this sector has to offer, in terms of environmental services, or by the necessity to adapt to the current climate change effects, and ensuring livelihoods and food security.

Do rural smallholders have green jobs?

Aspects of the current smallholder working realities are green. Most farmers are already affected by climate change and are coping with its disastrous effects. This places their jobs already within the green jobs discourse of climate change adaptation. Still, more is needed to support their adaptation efforts and to allow them to diversify and cope with ever increasing pressures.

Green jobs interventions currently do not explicitly focus on smallholder agriculture. These interventions could open up the potential of the majority of workers in agriculture in Uganda for green and climate smart agriculture. But this requires a shift from green jobs to green careers, as smallholders may not fit precisely into one job category due to their diversified livelihoods. This is a common ground between green jobs for smallholders and decent work for self-employed women in Uganda.

Employment programmes that benefit smallholder farmers should have a comprehensive scope, which would lean them towards value chain development. This means promoting access to markets, credit, equipment, skills and knowledge, as well as showing the way to diversify in a climate-smart way.

In conclusion, the discussion on green jobs should shift to include the majority of workers in non-industry and non-manufacturing sectors that do have the potential to – or are already working to – greening the economy. This includes care work (often unpaid), services, trade, but also smallholder agriculture. Employment programmes could make use of career pathways, or farming plans to integrate better quality of work, and environmental stewardship into the smallholder agriculture sector. In addition, access to credit and markets, as well as skills and knowledge on best regenerative agriculture practices should be promoted.

More on green jobs

INCLUDE has more to offer about green jobs and youth employment. Check out this recent report about Green Jobs for youth in Uganda, made in collaboration with the Challenge Fund for Youth Employment. Also, here is the evidence synthesis series, which covers many aspects on this topic, for example employment policy, green jobs, and the future of work.

For more on apiculture: here is our dedicated page.

Het bericht Do Ugandan rural smallholder farmers have green jobs? verscheen eerst op INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

A moment to reflect

15. Dezember 2022 - 11:38

As the year is ending, so comes the time to reflect. This year especially since it is our 10 years anniversary, making it the perfect to celebrate the great work done, but also to learn. And what better way to learn than to reflect on what we have been doing and to take stock?


INCLUDE, the knowledge platform for inclusive development policies, was initiated in 2012 by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs to bridge the gap between (academic) knowledge and policy in the field of Inclusive Development (ID) in Africa. The focus on ID was and still is an important one, as many people in Africa do not reap the benefits of economic progress and are socially, politically or otherwise excluded. For INCLUDE reducing poverty and inequality in both monetary and non-monetary dimensions is at the core of inclusive development. We look at outcomes and, more importantly, at the distribution of outcomes and always ask ourselves who gets what, when, where and why. We also look at the processes underlying the design and implementation of development interventions.

The African voice

From the very beginning our African members have been crucial in developing our knowledge agenda and ensuring that the African perspective is the starting point and core of our work. Our African members have also been the ones to point out the importance of policy implementation and who benefits or doesn’t benefit from that. This for example became visible during COVID times, when certain African countries implemented policies to waive electricity bills. However, people in poverty often did not have access to electricity in the first place. Through our work, we tried to make the barriers that people face to benefit from policy visible for policymakers, both in Africa and for Dutch development actors.

What we have done

In the past 10 years we have worked on many different topics in several African countries and with many partners. We did this through three types of activities: research, knowledge sharing and policy dialogues. Early on we started with topics such as youth employment, youth engagement, social protection and more recently we added equity in COVID-19 policies, digitalization of basic services, green jobs and green economy transition. Through our work, in the past ten years we have managed to contribute to several policy processes both in the Netherlands, e.g. on social protection, and in Africa through our African Policy Dialogues, for example on homeschooling in Kenya and labour externalization in Uganda.

What we have learnt

So what have these 10 years brought us in terms of learning? A few incredibly valuable insights, namely:

  • Having policies and interventions aimed at inclusion of certain groups does not automatically lead to inclusion of people, it is the implementation that matters greatly.
  • Even today there is still policy thinking that assumes a trickle down effect of benefits, when in fact we know this does not work. Redistribution is a much better route to inclusive development.
  • It is thus important to continue to deconstruct myths and provide evidence so we know what we are talking about.
  • Realizing that investing in a certain group or geographical area may create new inequalities for other groups or areas. It is important to at the very least be aware of this and to seek possible ways to balance this.
  • Therefore, we need to ask the right questions to uncover barriers to access and we need to ask those questions to people who experience the barriers. That way we can connect the realities of every day lives of people to policy formulation and have a better shot at reaching our overarching and shared goals, to reduce poverty and inequality.

At INCLUDE we look forward to continue asking the right questions, gathering the right evidence and bringing the right people together.


Het bericht A moment to reflect verscheen eerst op INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

The partnership synthesis paper: three years of evidence for boosting decent youth employment in Africa

15. Dezember 2022 - 10:37

Policy, programming, regulation and research must focus on creating sustainable livelihoods for young people. We must build a supportive scaffold for young people to navigate complex and shifting employment trajectories, taking into account the blurred lines between the formal and informal sector. This is a central finding of our final partnership synthesis paper, which offers guiding principles for advancing more just employment futures for Africa’s youth.

Over the next decade in Africa, there will be nearly three times as many young workers as there will be decent jobs. A key barrier to solving the employment challenge is a lack of research to guide policies. To overcome this barrier, INCLUDE Knowledge Platform, the International Development Research Centre, and the International Labour Organisation – under the guidance of the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth – joined forces in a collaborative research partnership built on a vision of a world where youth have greater access to decent jobs.

The publication of this partnership synthesis paper comes at the time that the partnership celebrates three years of collaboration. In these three years, the partners respectively conducted 8 research projects, commissioned and published 12 evidence synthesis papers and organised numerous knowledge dissemination events. All of these knowledge products are now collected in this partnership synthesis paper. The paper calibrates cutting-edge evidence from across Africa, centring knowledge produced from INCLUDE’s, ILO’s and IDRC’s collaborative research project, and draws out best practice for a more just, sustainable and inclusive approach to decent jobs for young people.

For more information, please visit this page.

Download Paper


Het bericht The partnership synthesis paper: three years of evidence for boosting decent youth employment in Africa verscheen eerst op INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

Our Monthly Reading List: October 2022

7. November 2022 - 14:40

This year marks not only the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, but also the 10th anniversary of the INCLUDE Knowledge Platform on inclusive development in Africa.

With the 2022 COP27 conference kicking off today in Egypt, this monthly reading list will focus on our perspective on climate change and its impact on inclusive development in Africa, presenting a selection of our publications on the topic.

Ensuring a just and equitable transition towards a sustainable future is a key position that INCLUDE stands for in the debate on climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies. Recognising the specific needs and circumstances of developing countries, and their historically differential responsibilities with regard to climate change are one aspect of this position. Another relevant aspect is to ensure that the needs of youth and future generations are addressed by amplifying their voices, a position that aligns with the objectives of COP27’s Presidency for the Youth & Future Generations Day on 11th November.

Climate action requires an evidence-based and solution-oriented policy approach in order to make our economies future-fit. “Taking into account the imperatives of a just transition of the workforce and the creation of decent work and quality jobs in accordance with nationally defined development priorities”, to say it in the words articulated in the Paris Agreement, is the focus area of the following INCLUDE’s knowledge products:

  • Green Jobs and the future of work is a partnership project of INCLUDE and Palladium to strengthen the evidence base around youth employment and the future of work in Africa. The publications offer robust and innovative ideas for creating or improving decent work prospects for youth, especially for young women.
  • Building forward more inclusively was the title of last year’s INCLUDE online conference on how to address structural constraints while promoting fundamental, more permanent and inclusive socio-economic transformation post-Covid 19. Our publications, centred around themes like decent jobs, equitable development, climate adaptation and green agriculture, emphasise not to go back to ‘the way things were’ but to build forward more inclusively.
  • Employment at the Crossroads of Crises is an INCLUDE evidence synthesis that reports on the impact of crises on youth employment in Africa, taking into account different types of crises, their structural context and offering recommendations on how policies should be tailored to the specific needs of groups whose employment is most affected.

Het bericht Our Monthly Reading List: October 2022 verscheen eerst op INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

Six key insights for green jobs for youth in Africa

1. November 2022 - 14:42

The African green transition has the potential to create a plurality of job opportunities that help tackle the negative consequences of climate change: green jobs. To find out what is needed to facilitate green jobs for young people in Africa, INCLUDE and Palladium engaged in a collaborative research project in the context of the Challenge Fund for Youth Employment.

Although more work is needed to realise the full potential of the green transition, our research project shed some light on the road ahead. We distilled the following six key insights about green jobs.

Green Jobs Green jobs are jobs in green businesses that contribute appreciably to maintaining or restoring environmental quality and avoiding future damage to the Earth’s ecosystems while also generating and supporting the wellbeing of peopleShortcode content

1. Green jobs creation is a process, rather than an outcome

There are many different ‘shades of green’ when it comes to green jobs. Green jobs can be found along a continuum of business models in various sectors, with varying degrees of sustainability. Green jobs and the transition to a green economy is, therefore, a process, rather than an outcome.

2. Knowledge is key

To enable policymakers and practitioners to stimulate green jobs for youth, a strong evidence base is needed. Systematic creating, monitoring and publishing of knowledge is of the essence. Evidence synthesis will play a crucial role as well. 

3. Long-term investment is needed

Finance protocols and evaluation methods need to adopt longer-term investment strategies. Small and medium enterprises play an important role in green job creation, but green businesses tend to have longer expected payback periods and higher perceived risk. Adapting current strategies to the long-term is needed to allow for green business to be scaled. 

4. Provide youth with the skills to match the future of work

Though it is important to recognise and build on youths’ existing skills, a changing job market may require new skills. Investment in both soft skills as well as technical, management, and vocational training is needed to prepare youth for the future of work.

5. We must move from standalone initiatives to multi-stakeholder collaborations

A variety of stakeholders need to work together to implement comprehensive policies to enable the transition to a green economy in Africa. Multi-stakeholder partnerships are needed, which include national and local governments, international donors, the private sector, civil society organisations, and trade unions. Knowledge platforms can play a coordinating role and support the creation of the broader community of practice.

6. Youth in the driver’s seat

Policies and programmes to stimulate youth employment must be informed by youth themselves. Youth must not only be consulted, but must be part of decision-making on policies and programmes.

More about this project You can find out more about green jobs for youth employment in Africa in our insight paper. You can also download our executive summary for a quick overview.

Het bericht Six key insights for green jobs for youth in Africa verscheen eerst op INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english