The Family Farm Schools – Training young people for careers in agriculture – © 2012 (French video)

I returned to my studies at IFERA after leaving school in the 2nd year of junior school. I really enjoyed this course because it includes many internships which allowed me to learn practical skills in the field. I specialized in laying hens and since graduation I have been managing a farm that breeds broiler hens, laying hens, sheep and goats. I am also thinking about developing vegetable crops.″

Arthur Martial AKE GBEOCHO

Graduate of the first year group of IFERA 2016 in the Ivory Coast


One of the program’s challenges is to reach as wide a female audience as possible. In Sub-Saharan Africa, it is traditionally women who work in the fields. However, they are also the least trained. At FFS, we have almost achieved parity.

Men Women

Average number of young women and men attending school


Careers in agriculture

In Cameroon, the Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, most of the population lives from farming. However, with almost 60% of poverty in rural environments, agricultural careers are very undervalued and young people prefer to try their luck in the cities.

Yet, the growing demand for agricultural products generates a great need for a qualified workforce. Young people, who are often poorly trained (half of them leave school at the end of their primary education), are unable to seize these opportunities.

In these three countries, the IECD and its partners are building a network of Family Farm Schools (FFS) and Training Institutes for Rural Entrepreneurship (IFER-A) the aim of which is to train young people from 13 to 25 years in agricultural careers by means of a one to five-year training offering and an approach based on a part-time teaching syllabus.


Each step corresponds to a skill level and allows each student to leave school and create an entrepreneurial project, even from the very first year.


Learning through practice is one of the main lines of the IECD’s training programs. Training in FFS/IFER(A) alternates between cycles involving two weeks of theoretical lessons in the classroom (in red in the diagram below) and two weeks in the field or in an internship at local companies (in gray).

Today, 36 FFS (namely 95%) have an experimental garden or an educational farm which means that means that young people can practice and be assessed in a real-life context.

2016 Results:

  • 1,179 young people trained in the FFS and IFER network, including 46% of girls in 2015-2016.
  • 38 EFA et 3 IFER-A Family Farm Schools Training Institutes for Rural (and Agricultural) Entrepreneurship.
  • 111 trainers trained in the part-time teaching syllabus.
  • 85% of students from FFS and IFER are active six months after their training: 68% have a job and 32% are continuing their training.


  • 83% of the young people trained are active one year after their training (professional activity or continuation of studies).
  • 85% of the young people active are working in agriculture or livestock.
  • 59% of the young people trained believe that they have better technical knowledge of their activity.
  • 85% of the young people believe that they are better able to manage their budget.