If young people and women are given a platform, they can do more for agricultural research for development (AR4D).
Young Professionals in Agricultural Research for Development (YPARD) is an international movement that operates as a network of young people working in the agricultural sector. It is not a formalized institution, but rather it is a global on-line and off-line communication and discussion platform meant to enable young professionals all over the world to express their ideas and realize their full potential towards a dynamic AR4D landscape.
YPARD’s objectives are to 1) facilitate the exchange of information and knowledge among young agricultural professionals across disciplines, professions, ages and regions; 2) broaden opportunities for young professionals to contribute to strategic AR4D policy debates; 3) promote agriculture as a viable profession for young people; and 4) facilitate access to resources and capacity building opportunities.
At a July 16 FARA/YPARD side event during the 6th Africa Agriculture Science Week, 4 YPARD country representatives gave lectures on their country’s YPARD development.
Among the representatives was Mr. Ntiokam Divine, the active and energetic YPARD country representative for Cameroon. Divine and his team established a coordination team for YPARD Cameroon that was in charge of leading a series of regional consultations.
The coordination team traveled to isolated locales, giving lectures on environmental protection and training rural young people on AR4D techniques. The team is active on Facebook and Twitter, and their website is promoted by several organizations including Scouts, WAGGS, GCAP, ODI, YouthMob Brazil, ONE Campaign, World Youth Alliance, ICMYO, Youth for Habitat, and the Nike Foundation.
Now Divine and his team are key partners involved in the launch of YPARD China. The chapter was officially launched on June 5, 2012 at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences with over 190 participants from 21 organizations, including the following:
- Institute of Agricultural Resesarch for Development (IRAD), supporting youth research projects
- Plan Cameroon, supporting minorities and sensitizing youth in environmental education (Plants-for-the-Planet)
- United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
- National Youth Council
- Project for Iimproving Agricultural Competiveness (PACA-Minader), supporting rural youth projects with up to $60,000
The efforts of these young people are already proving fruitful, but their innovations need a lot of support. With plenty of technical and financial assisstance, their accoplishments could contribute a lot towards the goals of AR4D.
Blogpost by Sun Mengyao, a social media reporter for AASW6.
Photo: C. Pye-Smith (ICRAF)