Date(s) - 01/02/2018
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Researchers, academics, and practitioners of the MARIS network convened in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at IWMI’s East Africa and Nile Basin Office to discuss the current state of research and policy in the fields of agriculture, migration, and youth. The half-day event gave the opportunity for researchers from IWMI and WLE as well as from other regional institutions to share research on agriculture, migration, and youth in East Africa. Presentations were shared from IWMI, WLE, Addis Ababa University (AAU), WIDE International, and Rescue-IRC-Ethiopia.
Presentations and following discussion focused on:
- Policy out of context – In Ethiopia, many policies that aim to alleviate issues related to youth employment do not sufficiently consider the full context of employment. For example, policies often mischaracterize the actual skill level required for different jobs as well as inaccurately estimate the number of workers entering the labor force and available employment opportunities. In addition, as many Ethiopian youth are interested more in mechanized agriculture than traditional farming, policies should be updated to address both farmers that will be marginalized because they do not have the skills for mechanized farming and the farmers adopting new technologies. Policy makers should allocate resources for pilot testing and understand the full context of policies as much as possible.
- Connecting the private sector and the education system – Emerging industries such as agro-processing require skillsets that the current education system is not equipped to meet. Education must be restructured to meet the growing and diverse needs of industry.
- Regional and international coordination – It is important for Ethiopia to coordinate with countries within Africa and beyond so that the issue of migration can be best understood and migration policies can be most effective.
To continue discussion and awareness on the issues of agriculture, migration, and youth in East Africa and the Nile Basin, the MARIS network supported by IWMI and WLE aims to organize a 2nd event in September or October of 2018.