Integrated Youth Development Project, Malawi

Carmine Soprano
Gender & Youth Associate

In his capacity as Technical Advisor to the Government of Malawi, Carmine was responsible for managing the direct implementation of a UNDP-funded project titled Integrated Youth Development Project (IYDP) on behalf of Malawi’s Ministry of Youth, Development and Sports. The intervention was conceived within the framework of a larger, regional programme on agri-enterprise development in which various other UN agencies participated, and was intended to promote rural employment for disadvantaged youth through the generation of agri-entrepreneurship opportunities.

Among other measures, the IYDP supported the construction of a youth development centre in Neno District, Southern Malawi, and successfully organized a nine-month training on agri-entrepreneurship in Benin for selected young socio-economic leaders from various districts of Malawi. The training was based on the innovative Songhai model, a ground-breaking approach to agribusiness development that aims for full integration of all primary production processes, applies the zero-waste management concept, and also encompasses financial, logistical, and marketing support for young graduates, including through the use of state-of-the-art ICT.

Thanks to the support provided under the IYDP, dozens of youth benefitted from direct training at the Songhai Center in Porto-Novo, Benin, and hundreds more were trained at the Neno Youth Development Center. The project also paid special attention to gender considerations, in that at last 50 percent of target beneficiaries were women.