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Availability of opportunities for quality jobs among youth is more concerning besides general unemployment challenges. The International Labor Organization (ILO) reported that in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) alone, about 10.9% of youth aged 15-25 are unemployed, a figure lower than the global average. However, despite the high youth participation in labor force, poverty levels is still apparent (70%) among this group of people. Likewise, in Malawi, majority of youth are trapped in low quality, low skilled and often informal jobs as much as youth labor force participation is increasing. Enhanced youth participation in agricultural value chains can possibly turn this underutilized youth into productive beings. Considering that there are a number of initiatives implemented, with the aim of enhancing youth employment in the country, there is need to understand how the implemented initiatives in Malawi have contributed to enhanced youth employment hence this study. Overall, the study aims to identify four representative initiatives implemented between 2008 and 2018, and assess how they have contributed to youth employment in the country. A Qualitative approach was used to address the objective. A multiple case research design approach was adopted, with data collected sequentially among the purposefully identified organization. A SWOT analysis followed the multiple case approach, which assisted with exploring particular issues within each of the selected initiatives and across the programs. Results from the exploratory study showed availability of notable large projects in Malawi that were targeted at enhancing employment situation for the youth in the agricultural sector. However, there was limited availability of comprehensive data, which is captured centrally, in order to properly track impact. Despite availability, Full participation in the initiatives by the youth is constrained by; lack of land for farming, inappropriate technologies to address production challenges, lack of electricity in rural areas, high illiteracy levels and limited technical skills. Implementation approaches used were varying, and hence performance indicators also varied. An integrated promotion of women and youth empowerment activities was largely adopted in line with policy frameworks. Potential to enhance employment was established, and hence need to systematically track progress for documenting lessons to inform policy and implementation modalities.

Published as FARA Research Report Volume 5 No: 6 (2020).