The Young Rural Entrepreneurs project focussed on improving youth employment in the coffee and cocoa markets in the Peruvian countryside, by certifying the skills of young people and improving their business opportunities within the sector.
Young Rural Entrepreneurs - Peru Key points Donor: Entra21 Dates: Sep 2008 – Aug 2010 Sub-sector: Coffee and cocoa Location: San Martin and Cajamarca, Peru Successes: Skills-based training model was adopted by the public education sector. Farming became viewed as a valid career Impact Awards winner 2011 Background The ‘Estamos Listos’ project was implemented in two sub-tropical regions in the northeast of Peru: the high jungle of Cajamarca, specifically the provinces of Jaén and San Ignacio, and the Picota, Bellavista, Mariscal Cáceres and Lamas provinces in San Martín. The situation in these provinces is similar to that of other areas of north-eastern Peru, characterised by limited employment and few business opportunities for young people as well as the existence of important supply chains of two flagship products: coffee in the Jaén and San Ignacio provinces (Cajamarca) and cocoa in San Martin. The project was a rural development proposal geared towards a particular problem: the relationship between youths and employment in the Peruvian countryside. The project’s objective was to improve the employability of young people between 16 and 29 years of age. The main challenge for the project was the limited job opportunities and entrepreneurship which increases social exclusion and restricts access to better economic, health, education and job training conditions. This problem also limits political, community, social and cultural participation, making it more difficult for rural youths to obtain employment and, therefore, earn an adequate wage. Some causes of this problem were: The rural labour market does not actively create quality jobs. In other words, most of the jobs are informal with no formal contracts or social benefits. The majority of youths work in family farms carrying out subsistence farming activities, often without compensation, so they can be considered unpaid family workers. 1
Young people have little or no technical qualifications to join local production chains under better conditions, as they cannot afford higher education costs. Furthermore, there are no local educational institutions that meet the demands of the local labour market. Limited entrepreneurial skills due to traditional training that does not encourage entrepreneurship and business creation. Due to their social vulnerability, rural youths have a low self-esteem and a limited capacity to take risks for fear of losing everything. High gender inequality rate, as families tend to differentiate between sons (more education) and daughters (more domestic chores). High expectations of migration. Young people are looking for better paid jobs and are therefore migrating to urban areas in search of better opportunities. Less access to various health and education services. As unpaid family workers, young people receive no social benefits from their work. Restricted access to and lower quality of communications (ICTs). Although rural youths gain access to Internet in public booths, they are unaware of the potential of this instrument.Sustainable Impacts:Training modulesThe training modules reflected the specific needs of productive activities and the technicalassistance required by the market (coffee and cocoa supply chains). The skills-basedapproach was used and the productive technical training centres (CETPROS) were involved,not only to provide teacher-training to technicians and professional instructors, but also tocertify the skills of young students according to educational, monitoring and job placementstandards. This influenced the creation of a new occupational alternative: organic farming asa relevant and continuous form of education for the local market. This was accomplished bythe following: • Internalisation of the skills-based training model by public education institutions such as the CETPROS to ensure its replication, continuous education and the economic development of the region. • Public-private coordination: Producers’ cooperatives, CETPROS, Local Governments taking on complementary training and job placement roles. • Creation of a local system of access to certified rural education combined with productive technical education. • Expansion of young social capital during the training process. The participation of cooperatives in the training process provided the opportunity for young people to meet people involved in the business sector, giving them a better chance of finding a job once they finished their training. • The certification of skills leads to the social acknowledgement of rural youths. 2
Labour Integration and PartnershipsThe integration strategies developed by the project included: • Design of educational modules linked to value chains needs • Skills certification • Access to land through family arrangements • Promotion of technical assistance services • The design and implementation of business plans or plans to improve family ventures or their own businesses • Access to loans and technical assistance or personalised support • Inclusion of young people as members of cooperativesThese were very successful, enabling the project to gradually influence young people,families, the community and stakeholders.Institutional Impact on Management of Training and Labour Integration ModelThe impact on local and private institutions was twofold. Firstly, the skills-based trainingmodel was adopted and approved by the public education sector. Secondly, change wasinitiated in the institutional practices to a participatory and inclusive management of thetraining model and the labour integration policy.Approaches Used to Achieve Impact at Scale:Project ContextVarious aspects were taken into account in the training and labour integration model of the‘Estamos Listos’ project, primarily regarding the business environment for carrying out theexperience. In this context, three basic conditions are highlighted: • We identified a territory with dynamic markets linked to the biodiversity of the region, where more dynamic supply chains with flagship products like coffee and cocoa provided a gateway to obtain short term but not exclusive results. The occupational training model can gradually be complemented to include other economic activities specific to the area, taking advantage of the range of opportunities offered by the biodiversity and looking at the development of the domestic and regional market. • We took into account the socio-economic profile of the rural youths, who in this case are mostly sons of small-scale farmers, descendants of the colonisation process that took place in the Amazon (sub-tropical) region since the 1960s, mainly by migrants from the Andean region. This is an important observation because it differs from other sub-tropical and Andean highland areas where the cultural and ethnic characteristics must be borne in mind, in addition to market variables. 3
• The existence of a dynamic business sector with certain levels of development, willing to play a key role in the training and labour integration process.InterventionOnce the context was understood, the project team specifically: • Identified the socio-economic circumstances of the young people and their job expectations, with the help of specialised surveys. • Conducted a survey of local institutions in both the public and private sectors, identifying the key stakeholders for the training and integration process, their needs and their circumstances. • Obtained clear and well-defined commitments between organisations in the education sector, market agents and development organisations. These partnerships were based on common objectives and different roles, aimed at the consolidation of a rural education and employment system for rural youths. In short, local institutions that share a common vision to jointly manage the training proposal and the labour integration policies.FacilitationA good knowledge of and commitment to the objectives proposed by the project was required,as well as constant facilitation efforts that included participation in the social and culturalactivities of the stakeholders in order to obtain their confidence and commitment for theconcerted action. However, the process was relatively short (2 years) to achieve a wider scopeand scale.Lessons LearntAs a result of the lessons obtained from the project experience, large scale impacts can beincreased and costs lowered, as follows: • Identify economic activities that offer more employment opportunities, with growing demand and production chains, and environmentally and socially viable comparative advantages. • Maintain a systemic perspective of the learning method throughout the process, linking local processes with regional and national platforms. • Prepare the training programme in a participatory manner with all local stakeholders (the civil society and the public and private sectors), in order to meet market demands and achieve sustainable local development, promoting the self- management of the local institutions working with the model. To this end, efforts should be made to involve all stakeholders from the early stages of the process (surveys, planning, notices). • Apply training strategies adjusted to the local circumstances (education reaching out to young people and not vice-versa), with enough flexibility to overcome any unforeseen events that may occur during the process. 4
• Have a clear knowledge of public educational institutions and their regulatory frameworks, seeking the formal accreditation of the vocational training provided to young people as the key to employment and social recognition. The certification of job-training has a strong appeal to young people and their families, preventing abandonment and generating market acceptance.• From the beginning of the training process, establish relationships between the agents of productive chains (demand) and young trainees, in order to increase their social capital and incorporate them into productive chains as soon as possible after they have finished their training.• Keep track of the operations of the various organisations involved, including those indirectly linked to the project. For example, the project sought to influence magistrates (judges) of the peace courts to ease the award of certificates for donated plots.• Closely monitor the early stages of the integration process and promote effective feedback between public and private organisations and the producers’ associations, in order to respond to the circumstances that may arise during the process. 5