Youth represents an important population in the region. The five largest South Asian nations (by population) – India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan – collectively have a youth demographic of over 300 million which is on average close to about one-fifth of the population of each country. Similarly, the five most populous Southeast Asian countries–Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar–together have over 90 million youth or close to an average of 17 per cent of each country’s population. In most of the countries young people still lives in rural, data between countries varies significantly though, but the trend in all is the growth of migration to urban areas.
Lack of employment, lack of access to land, and low income are the main reasons cited by rural youth for migrating. Lack of access to land is a key factor behind unemployment of youth in farming communities, as IFAD and World Bank paper showed. Inheritance traditions/laws imply that youth must wait many years before having control of the land. This affected women much more. Moreover, in rural Asia farm sizes have become highly fragmented, rendering further subdivision among living heirs highly impractical.
Going further to empower youth, capacity building by building solidarity between rural and urban youth will be strengthened. As one of youth’s uniqueness, their higher mobility compared to other age groups need to be channeled and used through rural-urban youth connections. This connection is a result of stronger solidarity where they can also gain knowledge, skills, networks, and confidence, among others.
The rural-urban platform will start with both groups knowing more about the problems and challenges faced in both settings. It is a learning space for urban youth to build their critical awareness of social problems in rural areas.
To realise empowerment of rural youth, poverty reduction and decent rural livelihoods, and to enhance food sovereignty by ensuring rural youth inclusion in land governance toward sustainable rural development in Asia region.
Empowered youth means that their knowledge and skills are enhanced, while at the same time, they grow into a critical, proactive, and empathetic individual.
Where we work
Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Philippines
- RMI - The Indonesian Institute for Forest and Environment
- CDA, Bangladesh
- Kapaeeng Foundation, Bangladesh
- FNN, Cambodia
- Ekta Parishad, India
- AFA, Philippines
 While in India and Bangladesh the percentage of youth living in rural areas is 68% and 72.6%, in countries like Philippines and Indonesia is 53.9 and 51.1 respectively. BRIONES, Roehlano, Investing in rural youth in the Asia and the Pacific region, IFAD 58 Research Series, 2019, online https://www.ifad.org/documents/38714170/41187395/18_Briones_2019+RDR_BACKGROUND+PAPER.pdf/48ab25bb-6a55-e883-bfe3-053348a4b865
 World Bank and IFAD, Rural Youth Employment, 2017, online https://www.bmz.de/de/zentrales_downloadarchiv/g20/Rural_Youth_Employment_-_WB-IFAD Synthesis_Study_DWG.pdf