YPARD

Youth Agripreneurs Project – Call for sponsors

 

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This blogpost originally appeared on the GFAR website

It is our firm belief that youth are pivotal for the future of agriculture and the world’s food security.

As such, we are committed to integrate, stimulate and mentor youth through any of our projects. In GCARD3, the Third Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development, we will take any opportunity to live up to that commitment.

We want to use the upcoming GCARD3 global event to pilot a number of innovative projects and approaches. One of these projects is “YAP”, the Youth Agripreneurs Project. “YAP” is a pilot project targeting young agricultural entrepreneurs (“agripreneurs”).

Within “YAP” we want to select ten young agripreneurs from all over the world, and provide a seed fund to facilitate the startup of their project. During one year, we want to mentor them within their project by linking the youth with seasoned researchers and practitioners and integrating them in the YPARD (Young Professionals for Agricultural Development) mentoring program. We also want to train them on new ways to advocate and network using innovative communication tools.

“YAP” is a pilot project, a proof of concept. If successful, we want to refine and expand the project, combining the seed funding and mentoring program, to give youth a chance to realize their projects, and to give them a platform to showcase their projects. It is our hope this will inspire other youth and prove that agriculture and all its value added services ARE a viable, respectable, profitable business and livelihood.

To fund the “YAP” project, we are looking for sponsors who will collectively contribute to the seed fund, for a total of US$75,000.
This will be used to fund US$5,000 to each of the 10 selected agripreneurs’ project. An additional US$2,500/person will be used for their participation at the GCARD3 global event (travel and accommodation) to kick-start their mentoring and training program.
There is NO administrative overhead in this entire project. All funds are directly allocated to the young agripreneurs.
Potential sponsors can be institutes, organizations, private donors or companies.

Here are the full details of the “YAP” project.

Interested? More information and expressions of interest can be sent to Fiona Chandler (GFAR Secretariat): f.chandler(at)fao.org
And… act fast! By Feb 15th we will evaluate if we have the needed funding quorum to launch the public appeal for youth project proposals!

Background:
CGIAR (the Global Agricultural Research Partnership) and GFAR (the Global Forum on Agricultural Research) co-organize the global event of GCARD3 (the Third Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development) in April 2016. This event will be held in Johannesburg, co-hosted by the Agricultural Research Council of South Africa.
In cooperation with YPARD (the Young Professionals for Agricultural Development), we aim to fully integrate youth in the whole GCARD3 process and to showcase their crucial role in the future of agriculture.

Picture courtesy Vivian Atako (CCAFS)

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9 ways to engage youth in agriculture

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In Africa over 200 million people are aged between 15 and 24, the youngest population in the world. This age group according to the African Economic Outlooks is expected to double in number by 2045. Low profitability, poor security of land tenure, and high risks are just some of the reasons Africa’s youth are leaving rural areas to seek jobs in cities, a migration that could see Africa with a shortage of farmers in the future. Given that agriculture is one of the continent’s biggest economic sectors, generating broad economic development and providing much of the population with food, this poses a serious threat to the future of farming and to meeting the demands of a rapidly growing urban population. Growing youth unemployment, aging farmers and declining crop yields under traditional farming systems mean engaging youth in agriculture should be a priority.

Recent articles highlight this key challenge and suggest solutions for making agriculture more attractive to younger generations.

1)      Link social media to agriculture

The rise of social media and its attraction among young people with access to the appropriate technologies could be a route into agriculture if the two could be linked in some way. Mobile phone use in Africa is growing rapidly and people are now much more connected to sources of information and each other. Utilising these channels to promote agriculture and educate young people could go a long way in engaging new groups of people into the sector.

2)      Improve agriculture’s image

Farming is rarely portrayed in the media as a young person’s game and can be seen as outdated, unprofitable and hard work. Greater awareness of the benefits of agriculture as a career needs to be built amongst young people, in particular opportunities for greater market engagement, innovation and farming as a business. The media, ICT and social media can all be used to help better agriculture’s image across a broad audience and allow for sharing of information and experiences between young people and young farmers.

3)      Strengthen higher education in agriculture

Relatively few students choose to study agriculture, perhaps in part because the quality of agricultural training is mixed. Taught materials need to be linked to advances in technology, facilitate innovation and have greater relevance to a diverse and evolving agricultural sector, with a focus on agribusiness and entrepreneurship. Beyond technical skills, building capacity for management, decision-making, communication and leadership should also be central to higher education. Reforms to agricultural tertiary education should be designed for young people and as such the process requires their direct engagement.

4)      Greater use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)

Not only can ICT be used to educate and train those unable to attend higher education institutions but it can be used as a tool to help young people spread knowledge, build networks, and find employment. Catering to a technologically savvy generation will require technological solutions. Such technologies can also reduce the costs of business transactions, increasing agriculture’s profitability.

5)      Empower young people to speak up

If we are to enable youth to transform agriculture then the barriers to their engagement, such as access to land and finance, need to be addressed. National policies on farming and food security need to identify and address issues facing young people. As such youth need to become part of policy discussions at the local and national levels, whether as part of local development meetings, advisory groups or on boards or committees.

The Young Professionals for Agricultural  Development (YPARD) aims to provide a platform for young people to discuss opportunities in agricultural development, share experiences and advocate for greater youth engagement and representation.

6)      Facilitate access to land and credit

Land is often scarce and difficult to access for young people, and without collateral getting credit to buy land is nigh on impossible. Innovative financing for agriculture and small businesses is needed. For example soft loans provided to youth who come up with innovative proposals in agriculture or microfranchising.

7)      Put agriculture on the school curricula

Primary and high school education could include modules on farming, from growing to marketing crops. This could help young people see agriculture as a potential career. Farm Africa run a project aiming to help school children discover more about agriculture as a profession.

8)      Greater public investment in agriculture

Young people may see agriculture as a sector much neglected by the government, giving farming the image of being old fashioned. Investment in agriculture is more effective at reducing poverty than investment in any other sector but public expenditure on agriculture remains low. Regional and continent-wide programmes such as the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) may go some way in transforming the prominence and reputation of agriculture in Africa but national efforts and public investments are also needed.

9)      Make agriculture more profitable

This is an easy statement to make but a difficult one to realise. Low yields and market failures in Africa reduce the potential of agriculture to be profitable and to provide people with a chance of escaping poverty and improving their quality of life. Making agriculture profitable requires that the costs of farming and doing business are reduced while at the same time productivity increases. Although large-scale commercial farming springs to mind, this is not necessarily the case, and small farms can be highly productive with low labour costs.

Of course all of these solutions come with their own hurdles: access to education and technologies, rural development, land rights etc. But as one article states “Africa has the highest number of youth in the whole world, and some of the most fertile soils – the two combined could be a force to promote agricultural development!“ Foregoing engaging youth in agriculture and the potential for transformation this could bring because of the complexities of modernising agriculture would be a huge opportunity lost.

Can you add to this list? If you know of any ways or projects to help youth engage in agriculture, we’d love to hear your thoughts.

First published here

IFAD grant of US$1.95million to create opportunities for rural youth in West and Central Africa

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Investing in rural youth is critical if they are to stay in rural areas and contribute to their development

Rome, 26 February 2014 – The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will provide a grant of US$1.95 million to the Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development (CEED) to support creating opportunities for rural youth in West and Central Africa, beginning in Benin, Cameroon, Gambia and Nigeria.

Heather Spidell, President and CEO of CEED, and Michel Mordasini, Vice President of IFAD, signed the grant agreement today.

The global economic crisis has adversely impacted three key areas associated with sustainable development and affecting young people across the world: employment, enterprise and development funding. Youth constitute 70 per cent of Africa’s population and are keenly feeling the impact of the crisis. They face numerous challenges in their attempt to find decent employment, gain access to credit and create businesses. Many young people have creative ideas that could provide them with employment through enterprise development, but they lack the resources to realize their vision.

The aim of the new project is to enable young rural women and men to create sustainable farm and non-farm businesses by building their entrepreneurial capacities, through enhanced peer learning and access to complementary business development services. Young rural women and men, ages 15-35, who are involved in either agricultural production or activities associated with rural markets are the target group of this project. About 2,880 young agricultural entrepreneurs (“agripreneurs”) and 43,200 farm and non-farm rural young entrepreneurs would be trained, and 480 rural youth enterprises launched. In addition, 2,400 rural venture creation teams will be set up through which young entrepreneurs will be paired with mentors. Women will make up at least half of the participants.

From 26 to 28 February, a workshop will be organized at IFAD headquarters in Rome to review and finalize the implementation plan and key activities of this grant, including taking into account feedback on target country investment priorities. It will also be an opportunity for IFAD to learn and share experiences with the grant recipient (CEED) on rural youth operations.

The grant will be implemented by CEED with technical support of the Columbia Business School (CBS) and Susterra, Inc., as subrecipients. Key national implementing partners in each country and three major regional institutions (Songhai Center, Ecobank and the Africa Women’s Development Fund) will also be involved in the implementation.

IFAD PRESS RELEASE

Photo snapshot: Happy anniversary to a great #SocialReporting team!

Working hand in hand with this #GCARD2 team has taught me so much and gotten me and international network of friends in ARD from all over the world. As we celebrate our 1 year anniversary all i can wish is to see them all once again soon.

YPARD – Ensuring an inclusive youth contribution to the AASW

YPARD MAKING IT HAPPEN AGAIN

The FARA Social Reporters Blog

Meet Marina Cherbonnier, the YPARD Web and Communications Officer. I call her a “can-do-it-all” ball of energy.

She has a background in ICT4D (University of Manchester, UK) and in information and documentation sciences (UCO, Angers, France). She previously was an intern at The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA). Marina lived in Lagos, Nigeria, for one year, as the manager of the Media-Libraries at Alliance Francaise.

We caught her for an interview:

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