Call for Contributions: Youth Employment and Migration

This issue of the Urban Agriculture Magazine is a joint effort of the RUAF Foundation and its partner The Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, Wilfrid Laurier University (Canada).

In this upcoming magazine we would like to explore the issues of youth employment and migration in relation to urban agriculture and city region food systems.

In the next years the world, and sub-Saharan Africa in particular, will face large increases in its youth population. Africa’s population has grown from 230 million in 1950 to 1.2 billion to date. Between 2015 and 2030, the combined population of Africa and Asia is projected to increase from 5.6 billion to more than 6.6 billion (FAO, 2017). In the same period, the number of people aged 15-24 years is expected to grow by about 100 million to 1.3 billion worldwide. In Africa, 50% of the population is below 20 years of age. This offers both opportunities and threats.

Many low-income countries already face challenges in providing formal and decent employment to young people. With a lack of local job opportunities and proper governance and with increasing access to social media, young people will increasingly search for better livelihood opportunities, often resulting in different forms of migration. The largest migration flows take place on the African continent itself: inner-urban migration, from rural areas to cities, from inland to coastal areas, and from one African country to another. These numbers will increase in the context of conflict, oppression and discrimination, food price hikes, natural disasters and climate change.

Reinforcing territorial urban food systems is emerging as a strategic and effective entry point for cities to foster effective rural-urban linkages and achieving multiple policy aims, such as: food security, employment opportunities (on farm and off farm activities), more robust local economies, management of natural resources and ecosystem services, social inclusion and health.

Migrants also play an important role in food system diversification and innovation in their new cities and countries by bringing along strong food growing customs, new food consumption practices (new products/ dishes) and new opportunities for social and community engagement including for example intercultural gardens; cooking classes, and cultural food festivals.

We look forward to your contribution on one of the following issues:  

  • The role of urban and periurban agriculture in providing livelihood opportunities and decent jobs along the local food supply chain (not only in food production but also in food processing, distribution, marketing, catering, waste management and ICT), that are especially relevant  to young people.
  • The role of urban and periurban agriculture in migration and job creation, building economic opportunities, self-esteem and social protection (including topics such as informal and formal jobs, temporary jobs, rural-urban migration, remittances and gender related issues) both in countries of origin and of destiny.
  • Urban food and agriculture programmes and projects that facilitate access to finance, land, markets, training and education focusing on young and beginning farmers and vulnerable groups.
  • Urban food projects that link youth and elders especially those that foster knowledge sharing.
  • Policies that support job creation for youth in urban food and farming or that help raise minorities and recent immigrants out of poverty through urban agriculture or urban food (like social procurement policies).

Deadline for articles: 1 July (abstract or first draft), 1 August (full article).

Total article length should be 600 (1 page), 1400 (2 page) or 2100 words (3 page). We also welcome other type of contributions such as interviews, book reviews, visual stories, videos or infographics.

The Magazine will be published by October 2018. For more information or to receive the detailed author guidelines, contact Femke Hoekstra at f [dot] hoekstra [at] ruaf [dot] org.