103,318. That’s the number of people who crossed the Mediterranean Sea to get to Italy from January to August 2017. 103,318 people, most of them youth leaving everything behind, country, wives, families, to seek a better future, a quest that cost many their lives.
This is what poverty looks like with its intense despair that makes people risk their life for an Eldorado that often doesn’t exist. Europe’s promise hides a sad reality for migrants. Most of them end up in the streets or in migrants’ camps without better prospects than before
Faced with growing poverty and food insecurity, Senegalese youth are among many African youth who lack hope for the future and are making the choice to leave. This situation is dramatic. The Senegalese economy relies deeply on cash crops and fishing and the growing exodus threatens the future of theses sectors.
What can be done to stop the flow of youth leaving their country? We can revalue agriculture as a viable career and lifestyle choice attractive to youth.
On my recent visit to Senegal, I met proud youth working in agriculture, growing a rotation of crops that allow them to have revenues all year long. These youth took part in the Farmers for the Future project launched by our partner RESOPP with Crossroads International’s support. One hundred youth, half of them women, were trained in modern farming technics, agroecology and management and now understand how it can work. This model is inexpensive and has a high retention rate with youth who now have steady revenue and activity.
Projects like this one are inspiring and have proven their worth in other countries like Bolivia, Togo or Tanzania where our partners, with Crossroads’ collaboration, developed new farming models that now provide sustainable revenues to youth and their community. I’ve seen promising results and those projects are real catalyst for change that can transform the way youth see agriculture and can help them find new sustainable prospects for the future.