India has high levels of rural-urban migration and a large population of young people who are not keen to work in agriculture. In response, the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) and the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme, India (AKRSP (I)) are working to develop the capacities of rural youth and match them with job opportunities.
Since 2007, AKRSP,I has established 13 training centres to act as hubs providing youth with information about government schemes, agriculture markets, and job opportunities. To date, 27,500 youth have been trained. The centres are increasingly linked with employers (including retail chains, call centres and construction companies) and have placed over 3,700 youth in new jobs to date. AKRSP (I) has also facilitated training on skills for employability for 1,500 youth and is developing a social enterprise in Gujarat that will focus on skills development and job placement for youth. In urban areas of Patna (Bihar) and Hyderabad (Telangana) as well as in rural Uttar Pradesh, AKF has been helping adolescent girls who have dropped out of school access vocational skills training such as sewing and embroidery.
In response to widespread rural-urban migration AKF is also supporting a migrant support initiative which is being piloted in the districts of Bahraich district in Uttar Pradesh. The initiative is focused on preparing migrant youth with skills, knowledge and social support for safer and more profitable migration. Through a Migrant Support Centre handholding and information about social security schemes as well as linkages to relevant schemes are being provided.
AKF and AKRSP (I) have been promoting alternate energy amongst the communities it works with to reduce energy deficiencies in rural areas. These programmes have focused on bringing energy to poor households while at the same reducing the drudgery of women and children (from collection of wood and dung), provide pollution free environments; provide domestic light and reduce the reliance on expensive, carbon polluting fuels for irrigation and drinking water distribution. This programme has helped youth and women from marginalised communities become solar energy entrepreneurs who now earn a livelihood from selling, assembling and reparing low-cost solar energy products in their communities.