Rural Development Academy 2021 - Human-centred recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic through decent work in Africa

Decent Work in the Rural Economy

Rural Development Academy 2021 - Human-centred recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic through decent work in Africa

12–23 April 2021
The course is available in English, Français
Key features

Innovative training methodologies and integrated use of digital learning technology


Learning starts with introductory self-learning modules, continues through high-quality, engaging “real time” plenary and elective sessions, and ends with an individual assignment (TBC)


Successful candidates will obtain an ITCILO Certificate of Participation, or a Certificate of Achievement (TBC)


Learn from ITCILO trainers and ILO and global specialists on issues related to rural development and employment

Introduction to the course

The rural economy, like the rest of the world of work, is experiencing a transformation driven by globalization, technological innovation and demographic shifts. More than two-fifths of the world's workers are rural, and many rely on small-scale agricultural activities for a living. On this course, participants will learn how to increase the number and quality of decent, sustainable jobs in the rural economy.

Who attends this course?

Policy-makers, practitioners and development partners promoting sustainable and inclusive rural development

What will I be able to do?

This edition of the Rural Academy provides an opportunity for the participants to learn and share on a range of innovative approaches, tools and methods for promoting decent work in human-centred recovery to the COVID-19 crisis in the rural economy of the African region.

Participants to this Academy will

  • Acquire knowledge, including tools and practical methods to promoting decent work in the rural economy in the changing world of work, adaptable to their own national and local contexts;
  • Share knowledge while learning from a community of practitioners with common interests in rural development; and
  • Gain a deeper understanding of the roles of policy makers, including workers’ and employers’ organizations, required for the promotion of integrated and inclusive rural development and building back better in the African region.
What topics does this course cover?

The Academy looks at the wide variety of issues related to human-centred recovery in the rural economy in the African region in building back better.

The ILO has put forward an approach to build a brighter and more resilient future in the rural economy across Africa through three steps: Stepping up (improving and intensifying agricultural production and related employment), Stepping out (diversify employment opportunities away from agriculture) and Stepping ahead (investments and infrastructure for better decent work outcomes). This approach promotes human-centred recovery and to build back better through decent work and more inclusive and sustainable structural transformation patterns, and will provide the framework for the learning paths in the Rural Academy. 

The role of sectoral policies for increased productivity and productive transformation and a human centred recovery will be a major focus of the academy, and the impact of and responses to the COVID-19 pandemic will be a cross-cutting theme across the sessions. The agenda and the contents of the sessions have been developed in close collaboration with the ILO offices in Africa to ensure the inclusion of the topics and issues that are among the most relevant ones for the region.

The full agenda will be made available shortly.

Online self-learning

In the first week of the Academy, the participants will follow the self-learning online training course developed for the Academy, which introduces the concept of decent work in the rural economy; look at the policies for decent work in the rural economy; and a just transition towards environmental sustainability in the rural economy. Approaches and strategies to respond to the impacts of COVID-19 are crosscutting throughout the online modules.


During the Academy there will be seven plenary sessions on a wide variety of issues related to building back better in the rural economy in the African region. They include topics such as formalization of the informal economy, occupational safety and health, fundamental principles and rights at work, gender equality and women’s empowerment, public investments, skills and technologies, and south-south cooperation.

Elective courses proposed

The participants will choose one additional elective course in both weeks. These electives will provide a more focused and in-depth understanding on specific topics. They consist of a total of 4,5 hours of webinars as well as additional readings.


The course consists of a number of online modules offered through the ITCILO e-Campus online platform to be completed during the two weeks of the Academy, 12 to 23 April 2021. (Additional work for certification TBC).

Why should I join?

The Academy stimulates sharing of experiences on the latest approaches, initiatives and partnerships that promote rural development and decent and sustainable work in the rural economy in Africa in building back better from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The two-week programme is built around plenaries and elective courses, in which cutting-edge topics are presented and discussed, facilitated by experts from the ILO and key UN Agencies, as well as by other leading international experts. It will provide structured knowledge-sharing opportunities, making use of interactive learning methodologies.

Language requirements

The Academy will be offered in English and French (TBC). All sessions will be offered with simultaneous translation.