Now more than ever, the world needs young people proactively contributing to innovative and environmentally and economically sustainable agricultural development. Rising temperatures, rapid urbanisation and unpredictable weather events are already having huge economic and social impacts on agriculture that are expected to increase in future. For humanity to adapt, the world needs fresh ideas, renewed knowledge and partnerships across disciplines, geographies and generations.

The next generation of farmers, researchers, entrepreneurs, scientists, industrialists and extension workers are best placed to develop ideas, restore knowledge and catalyse cross-disciplinary partnerships.

To support a new generation of people prepared to proactively contribute to innovative and sustainable agricultural development, YPARD is rolling out a global mentoring programme from 2015 to 2018.

The programme aims to unlock the potential of hundreds of budding young agriculturalists by providing opportunities to engage and connect them to senior agricultural professionals in business, research, extension services and ICT.

After three months of scoping, YPARD decided to test different types of mentoring during the pilot phase to determine the most suitable format to scale up:

1.     A purely face-to-face mentoring programme in one member country

2.     A purely online mentoring programme for women in agribusiness

3.     Conference mentoring, which blends face to face and online

4.     A peer coaching and mentoring program for agripreneurs 

Read the evaluation of the pilot program here.


Face to face program in Kenya

In June 2015, YPARD launched a 12-month pilot mentoring program in Kenya. 15 YPARD members - farmers, students, entrepreneurs, young scientists and extension workers from across Kenya – have been paired with mentors based on their sectors and skill sets.

Mentors and mentees first met during a three-day orientation workshop led by African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) to consolidate the relationship and understanding in the mentor-mentee pairs, equipping them with communication, conflict resolution, networking and gender in the workplace skills. With support from their mentors, mentees developed a purpose road map and development journal, clearly outlining their 10 year visions/goals and the technical skills, interpersonal skills, academic/professional qualifications, behaviour change and action needed at each step of the way to reach their long term goal.

Each mentee met with their mentor for at least two hours per month (over the phone, Skype or face to face). See the profiles of pilot program mentors and mentees here:

Online program for women in agribusiness

In November 2015, 14 of YPARD’s female entrepreneurs were selected to spend 12 months working virtually one-on-one with a mentor to achieve key business goals. Mentees will build their business skills and digital literacy through a comprehensive online training program.

Youth in Landscapes Mentoring Program
For the past three years, YPARD has partnered with the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) to run the Youth in Landscapes Initiative. For many of these youth, the GLF is their first international conference and they find it challenging to navigate the complexity of topics being discussed, to speak up in discussion forums, or to network with senior professionals.

The Youth in Landscapes Mentoring Program aims to capitalise on the face-to-face time that conferences enable, by pairing youth delegates with senior delegates attending the conference and encouraging them to attend a GLF session together. Following an extensive application and selection process, 22 youth from 17 countries have been partnered with 22 senior professionals from business, government, NGOs and research institutions.

A small subset of these pairs were chosen to co-design a 6-12 month mentoring program, tailored to each of their needs, during a design sprint workshop on 5 December, 2015.

Read more about the Youth in Landscapes mentoring program:

Young Agripreneurs Project - Mentoring Program

As part of the pilot Young Agripreneurs Project (YAP) six young agripreneurs with great ideas are being provided with seed funding and 12 months of business and leadership coaching and technical mentoring to facilitate the startup of their project. Read more at the GFAR blog:

EduMala mentoring program for Nepali agricultural professionals

The EduMala Mentoring Program is a blended online/offline mentoring program developed by YPARD Nepal to build the interpersonal skills of Nepali young agricultural professionals. The first session, held in January, saw 34 mentees learn how to communicate more effectively, network, write proposals, publish in academic journals, about government youth policies, entrepreneurship and event management.
For more information, contact YPARD’s mentoring coordinator