By Courtney Paisley and Marina Cherbonnier
Happy new year to our restless community and its supporters! We take the opportunity to look back at YPARD’s key achievements for 2016. A big thank you to all of you who made these possible. These are great and they are the hallmark of a truly engaged and dynamic network.
Our 11 achievements for 2016
1/ Vibrant YPARD 10years celebrations with our infographic and official 10year video, 10 #YPARD10years testimonial videos, cakes and celebrations all around the world. Through celebrating YPARD, we promote agriculture as a career path and we work on engaging young people in agriculture as a community.
2/A new YPARD Mediterranean chapter developed by youth and connected to stakeholders in the region to express their perspectives and experiences, and plan the way forward.
3/ A stronger YPARD team on national and regional levels. We welcomed new team members: ten new country representatives, a regional coordination unit for Europe, and four interns in the Global, the African and the European unit to boost the information services and communications in English, French and Spanish. A series of five hangouts strengthened the capacities of the teams in communications, team building, negotiations, fundraising and planning the mentoring program’s next phase. Also, our national teams increasingly organize YPARD Cafés or other gatherings to discuss about youth’s main challenges to find solutions and organize the teams to take action, from Peru, to Togo, to Uzbekistan, to India, to cite a few.
4/ New country pages implemented on the YPARD website, for each of our national chapters, for more connection and information sharing specific to countries.
5/ Capacity development opportunities organized by the national teams around the world that empower members: on agripreneurship in the Democratic Republic of Congo, on social media (ICT4AG) in Trinidad and Tobago, on grant application writing in Nepal, on communications and finance in Togo. Increasingly, our members apply the knowledge they have gained through YPARD opportunities to train their peers. Ex in Nepal, Trinidad and Tobago and the Philippines. This is true impact of the network!
6/ A successful mentoring program pilot phase, including four models: the face to face program in Kenya, an online women in business program, the Youth In Landscapes’ conference mentoring and the YAP: youth agripreneur project which involves providing seed funding. This also inspired the development of locally relevant programs in Croatia and in Nepal: Edumala.
7/ Research on "Youth in Drylands' Systems": this new study shed light on the challenges and aspirations of youth in drylands areas. The results will be available in early 2017 and meanwhile a campaign was launched at the occasion of the World Youth Skills Day, including: a [VIDEO] - What are the realities, aspirations and challenges of rural youth in dryland areas?, an opinion piece by Malak Tleis, YPARD Lebanon representative.: Would you be a farmer in drylands if you had the choice?, a youth’s story: A day in the life of a young apple farmer in Morocco by Abdelali Ouhri, Morocco and a message by Richard Thomas, Director of the CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems: Skills for Youth in Drylands
8/ YPARD’s young professionals’ contribution to discussions on curricula reforms in agriculture: three key discussions took place this year, among young professionals with relevant stakeholders:
- At Tropentag, where young professionals looked at how educational program should help the youth to support THEIR vision of agricultural development on a long term: Enough of: “youth – this is what we want from you"
- With GCHERA: a global university consortia and other partners of the GFAR, where YPARD representatives were able to bring their specific perspectives on relevance of agricultural education: Student Leadership and Transformative Changes to Meet the Challenges of the 21st Century
- During the launching of the SIMPLE (Support of International Platform Merging Labour and Education), a new EU project coordinated by the Faculty of Tropical AgriSciences at the CULS ( Czech University of Life Sciences) in Prague, hosting organization of the YPARD Europe unit: YPARD Europe says present at the SIMPLE project kickoff meeting in Prague
9/ Meaningful Youth engagement at seven global events:
- Youth involvement at GFAR’s third Global Consultations for Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD3)’s discussions throughout the process: eight national /regional consultations and the global event. The GCARD3 Global event has pioneered a stronger involvement of youth in global agricultural discussions by giving them leading roles as plenary speakers and catalysts as well as engaging those offsite through strong social reporting. Also, the YAP: young agripreneurs project was launched at the event, kicking off their mentoring program: with an empowering workshop and mentoring program tailored to the six YAPpers. Read: Mainstreaming youth at the GCARD3 Global Event
- YPARD contributed to five FAO and IFAD events, and helped send the messages out, beyond the conference room, for the agri-biotech symposium, the foodsystems event, the IFAD's Special Youth Agtalks, FAO discussions on "Youth Feeding the Future: Addressing the challenges faced by rural youth aged 15 to 17", and the CFS43 : 43rd consortium on food security.
- The youth in landscapes initiative, co-founded by YPARD to boost multi-sectoral collaboration among the youth, together with other stakeholders, organized its fourth annual program at the 2016 Global Landscapes Forum (GLF), held in Marrakesh, Morocco, at the sideline of the COP22. It sets the basis for meaningful engagement of the youth at the GLF: Interconnection: a youth response to rural-urban and international migration
10/ YPARD’s advisory role to organizations for stronger support to the youth – YPARD took part in discussions with CIMMYT, World Farmers Organization (WFO), The ENABLE program of Afdb and YAAD: Youth Action for Agriculture Development in Malawi, to cite a few, to provide input on their own youth involvement and empowerment strategy and activities.
11/ Promotion of agriculture among the youth remains a key focus at YPARD, through campaigns, catchy videos/vlog series, storytelling contests, the showcase of young professionals in agriculture, our participation in TV programs, radios, magazines. This also includes our participation in festivals, fairs and the organization of school visits and special events. The latter includes the International Youth Day 2016 on eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Consumption and Production, the World Youth Skills Day E- forum, the International Women’s Day 2016, the International Year of Pulses and many activities to promote the use of ICTs and social media.
A fresh 2017 onward!
These 2016 achievements set a solid ground on which to launch our activities in the new year and we are ready to kick off a tremendous 2017 with you all. Let’s embark for a new journey full of strategic directions and innovation.
2017 will blow a wind of change, at YPARD! There will be strong renewal this year, with leadership changes that will bring fresh energy and perspectives. Also, it is time to review the Business Plan 2014-2018 and start a new strategic phase.
2017 will also see the strengthening of the mentoring program and the push for increasing its scale and scope.
Meanwhile, we will carry on strengthening our regional and national chapters for locally relevant youth engagement and activities. Through our diverse network, we can bring a stronger united but unique voice of the youth to guide strategic direction and activities for agricultural development.
Happy New Year!