December 4, 2023 Ilaria Blasi

Unlocking the Potential of Youth: Novus Agro’s Road to Meaningful Youth Participation

Co-authored by: Liana Khanaghyan, Majina Mwasezi, Abimbola Afolabi

Novus Agro, an innovative and youth-centered organization in Nigeria, is redefining youth engagement through the Meaningful Youth Participation (MYP) initiative. Novus Agro is reshaping rural communities through programs that support smallholder farmers and enhance their access to credit and markets. With support from CFYE (Challenge Fund for Youth Employment), their GrainPoints project, powered by technology, is creating 1200 jobs, with 80% targeting women. Their innovative application not only provides useful knowledge and resources to farmers but also fosters youth participation, particularly through Youth GrainPoint managers who contribute to this transformative process.

In this blog post, we explore how MYP is driving Novus Agro’s success, transforming the lives of both young people and the communities they serve.

Meaningful Youth Participation Through Novus Agro’s Lens

Novus Agro defines Meaningful Youth Participation as an approach that actively involves young people in decision-making, policies, and community initiatives with the objective to prompt concrete actions and policy changes thanks to youth’s inputs. This approach embodies inclusivity, values youth voices and perspectives, and encourages intergenerational collaboration.

Responding to Youth Aspirations

Novus Agro’s employment opportunities are designed to match and improve the job aspirations of the young women and men they target, especially encouraging innovative and entrepreneurial initiatives. This approach aligns with the idea that meaningful participation leads to the creation of opportunities which resonate more with young people’s dreams and aspirations.

The Impact of MYP on Business Success

“I feel really glad about the program, I really appreciate the opportunity to be a part of the program that allows for growth and versatility; it has really changed my life.”

  • Dupe Martha Dauda, a beneficiary of the MYP initiative from Gombe.

For Novus Agro, the success of their business is intricately linked to the success and activeness of the youth they engage. When young people are satisfied with the opportunities presented to them and see the potential for growth, they invest 100% of their efforts into the project, driving its success.

Novus Agro, as a company, has received a highly favorable rating for fostering a positive and supportive work environment. Here, young individuals have the chance to realize their complete growth potential through the opportunities offered.

MYP Practice Standards: how does Novo Agro do it?

Novus Agro actively incorporates the Meaningful Youth Participation Practice standards established by CFYE:

1. Building Positive Environments: Novus Agro strives to provide a safe and positive environment where young people are welcomed to be proactive, enabled to share their input and craft effective solutions to existing challenges. This approach empowers youth not only within the project but also beyond, inspiring them to contribute productively to society.

2. Accountability & Transparency: The organization upholds accountability, makes sure that youth maintain clear roles and expectations, fosters transparent communication and bilateral feedback to facilitate their positive and meaningful participation.

3. Safe Participation: Novus Agro ensures safety through comprehensive risk assessments and by prompting Field Managers to address potential issues. This is done by providing targeted training to field agents, ensuring informed hazard identification and effective resolution.

4. Inclusivity & Respect: The organisation values and respects the diversity of young people’s experiences and insights. They challenge barriers to participation, providing opportunities for all to engage free from prejudice and discrimination.

5. Mindful Resourcing: Novus Agro ensures that Meaningful Youth Participation is appropriately resourced, allowing for quality experience and outcomes for all stakeholders.

6. Quality & Supportive Participation: The organisation supports young people’s participation, maximising personal development and contributing to program outcomes.

MYP in Practice: Challenges Overcome

The success of Novus Agro MYP initiative is also a result of how the organisation successfully navigated challenges related to youth equal engagement, namely addressing the gaps in the recruitment of women in specific regions, and youth mobility due to academic or family reasons. In the first case, field managers played a vital role, leveraging local expertise to advise on best practices and overcome obstacles promptly. Secondly, Novo Agro implemented strategic measures, including reducing churn rates by encouraging individuals relocating for marriage to continue their participation in new locations. Both required Novus Agro to improve their understanding of local dynamics and adapt their approach and strategies accordingly.

To better understand the aspirations and lived experiences of the youth they serve, Novus Agro also forged a partnership with Proportion Global to conduct a human centered design study. This in-depth analysis unveiled underlying biases and assumptions within the business model, which demanded a transformative approach that could help the company to align to the specific needs of their target audience and make youth’s perspective count as the cornerstone of Novus Agro’s mission.

Lessons Learned

The Novus Agro team has learned valuable lessons from their MYP journey. They have discovered that while young individuals are eager to participate in crafting solutions that directly impact them, their decisions are often influenced by their families or authority figures. Therefore, to collaborate effectively with young people, engaging with the role models they respect is essential. 

Novus Agro’s commitment to Meaningful Youth Participation is not only transforming the lives of the young women and men they engage but also driving the success of their business. Their experience offers a valuable blueprint for organisations looking to harness the power of youth participation in their initiatives, ultimately creating a brighter and more inclusive future. 

This publication is a series of articles designed to shed light on CFYE’s and our partners’ innovative efforts to encourage meaningful youth participation. 

More studies

Interested in more?

, , ,