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Rural Advisory Services and Empowered Youth for Balanced Transformation in Rural and Urban Communities

The 8th Annual Meeting of the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS)  took place from 10-13 September 2017 in Ingham and Townsville, Australia, with side events on 8 and 9 September. The topic was Rural Advisory Services and empowered youth for balanced transformation in rural and urban communities. It was co-organised with the Australasia-Pacific Extension Network (APEN) and included a partial overlap with APEN’s International Conference, which will take place from 13-15 September on the topic of Facilitating balanced change for rural and urban communities. 

Meeting objectives

The four interrelated objectives of the meeting were:

  1. to identify and discuss roles, challenges and opportunities for youth to be meaningful actors in balanced and inclusive rural and urban transformation
  2. to identify and discuss the roles and relations between RAS and youth for inclusive and sustainable rural-urban linkages;
  3. to identify and discuss changes in policies and the capacities of RAS needed for both RAS and youth to fulfil their roles; and
  4. to strengthen capacities of RAS networks through peer exchange and learning.

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   icon pdf Meeting Report (pdf 813KB)

   icon pdf Programme (pdf 293KB)

   icon pdf Participants List (pdf 172KB)

   icon pdf Evaluation (pdf 374KB) 

   icon pdf Meeting Guide (pdf 2.5MB)

8GAM group photo

Conclusions and Recommendations

Two main conclusions emerged from the Annual Meeting:

Make agriculture cool again: It is necessary to work on different levels and with different approaches to make the agricultural sector competitive and attractive again to youth, and to ensure that opportunities in agriculture (that go beyond farming) are effectively communicated and promoted. Tailored practical education and training from early life are critical.

Work with youth as drivers for change: It is important to work with youth and not for youth, and to appreciate young people as equally valuable and respected contributors to processes. Too often, youth are not recognised as a valuable pool of experience, knowledge, skills, motivation and engagement that can help address contemporary challenges. However, this implies a change in values that needs to be fully embraced at all levels.

Concretely, the following recommendations were made by participants: