about step

STEP aims at changing the mindset of young people in primary and secondary schools and providing basic understanding for better directing secondary schools and their students toward careers in modern farming, agribusiness and initiate the core of new African agribusiness leaders.

Hence, the need to expose them to viable and sustainable opportunities inherent agriculture, while building their capacity to harness them well. The IITA Director General recognized this shortcoming and framed the Catch Them Early approach, later reframed as “Start Them Early Program (STEP)”, and commissioned an advance team in Ibadan in October 2018.

This will leverage on the success recorded in previous school engagements and through lessons learnt from the youth-in-agribusiness initiative (IYA) that started in 2012. STEP is preceded by the Agripreneurs Movement (IYA) that focuses upon under-engaged university graduates. IYA approaches did not consider younger youth, including minors, and directing them toward careers in agriculture.

How it all started

The introduction of agribusiness development concept to secondary schools in Africa was inspired by a youth organization in Bukavu (DRC), Newday Afrika, specialized in promoting agriculture education. Since 2017, IITA has been working with this organization in some schools in Bukavu to train and empower students to change their mindset towards a positive vision of agriculture as a business and employment opportunity.

Much of the impact of this youth organization was realized during the 2017-2018 school academic year when 603 young people from secondary schools were involved in the agribusiness development project. As a result of project activities, 33 pupils-initiated agricultural enterprises involved in rabbit, guinea pig and poultry production, and horticulture. Participating students receive some of the school’s best grades. Most of these students remain committed to continue in agriculture, even those advancing to the university level.

IITA has realized that this category of young people is at a critical stage in deciding livelihood paths with strong implications towards agricultural transformation. 

 

Our Goal

To Provide the basic understanding for better directing secondary schools and their students toward careers in modern farming, agribusiness and agro-industry, and initiate the core of a new African agribusiness club movement similar to those providing direction to youth elsewhere in the world. 

STEP MODEL

OUR OBJECTIVE

To Provide the basic understanding for better directing secondary schools and their students toward careers in modern farming, agribusiness and agro-industry, and initiate the core of a new African agribusiness club movement similar to those providing direction to youth elsewhere in the world. 

STEP
STRATEGY

The STEP Training approaches include: Course Work, Pilot Incubation Enterprise, Extracurricular Activities, ICT application in agriculture, and Mechanized farming. Interventions within these approaches are based on the learning gaps found in the National Agricultural Science/School Curriculums of the three different Countries. STEP identified these as; the use of crude implements which promote drudgery and make Agriculture unattractive to young people, Agriculture being used as a form of punishment, inadequate exposure of students on the profitable opportunities along the value chains, insufficient soft skills to enhance and support the hard skills taught. In general, the mismatch between the curriculum and the needs of the students and those of the labor market.

STEP'S AGRIBUSINESS MECHANISMS

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