Case study

Fail, recalibrate, adapt, achieve

How Yapasa used the market systems approach to create opportunities for Zambia's rural youth

Published by
the Lab, ILO

Rural youth know first-hand how tough agriculture can be – they’ve worked their family farms and have survived on subsistence. So how can opportunities for rural youth in agriculture be created?

Over four and a half years - including early missteps to strategic recalibration - Yapasa managed to address some key market constraints which plague smallholder farmers the world over. Yapasa supported over 14,000 rural businesses and improved more than 5,000 jobs, 2,000 of which were for youth.

This brief outlines how they got there and the key lessons that emerged, including:

  • Keep interventions simple
  • Be proactive in looking for partners
  • Make the case for why youth are good for business
  • Don’t be afraid to use lessons to challenge the focus and assumptions in the project design
  • Look to partner with market leaders and first movers
  • Speak a language that shows understanding of partner challenges and incentives
  • Results measurement needs to be action oriented not perfect