YPARD was invited to present to it activities to theThe Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) at it pre-event conference side event activities held on the 28th of October 2012 at the 2nd Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD2) holding at Punta del Este, Uruguay. The session was focusing on “Catalyzing African Innovations and entrepreneurship” and it was dedicated to showcasing innovations and entrepreneurships within the agriculture knowledge system in Africa. The objectives of the event were
1. Share at the global level experiences in catalyzing innovations and entrepreneurship by different regional coordinating bodies from extension to youth and civil society organizations and
2. Create opportunity to discuss possible partnerships with other continents for South-South and North-South Cooperation.
The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) is the apex organization for coordinating and facilitating agricultural research extension and Education in Africa. It hosts YPARD Africa. As a result, among the many stakeholders in ARD such as ASARECA, AFAAS, RUFORUM, PAFFO, NASRO, and PANGOC who were present at the event, YPARD Africa was also present to showcase to the apex body their activities so far and plans for the future.
I was invited to represent YPARD Africa and present activities of the continental arm of the organization to the stakeholders. Among the many things mentioned was the role of YPARD in networking Young Professionals in Agricultural Research for Development together and providing a structure for them to show case their works in all areas of Agriculture.
I also elaborated on the role YPARD plays in not only giving voice to the youths but also bringing it to the doorstep of the stakeholders and senior professionals. A typical example is the lobbying for sponsorship of four YPs from Africa to join 12 others from all over the world to bring the voice of youths to the GCARD2. The role YPARD plays in sharing and disseminating information to the youth was showcased as well. Stakeholders at the event also found interesting the YPARD’s program to showcase the efforts of YP doing well in agriculture through its YP of the month testimonial page on their website and it was applauded.
I went ahead to explain the challenges faced by young professionals and YPARD as an organization. These included:
i. The need for Young Professional to have more access to internships, field works and mentorship from the various arms of agriculture.
ii. The need to provide training on entrepreneurship and soft skills to improve innovation systems.
iii. The problem of making agriculture attractive to young people
iv. Value addition to the career with appropriate reward system and
v. Funding for more offline activities and administrative activities of YPARD Africa at national levels
The various stakeholders appreciated the effort of YPARD so for and encouraged that the flag be kept flying. These discussions were brought before the global research community during FARA’s presentation at the conference itself.