By Marina Cherbonnier, Web and Communications manager (YPARD)
To ensure healthier livelihoods worldwide – and in the long term -, the young generation needs to fully get their hands and minds into agricultural development now. Being connected through a global collective platform, through which they can realise their full potential and contribute proactively to innovative agricultural development is crucial to boost the active role of young people in agriculture.
YPARD: young professionals for agricultural development,is the only international, multi-stakeholder, youth-led and non-institutional network striving for the development of young professionals across the agricultural sector.
At the heart of YPARD are its members, encouraged to share their experiences and ideas with other young professionals in the network, and to take an active role by initiating activities relevant to their peers in their local context. It is also about leading the youth agenda in agriculture at all levels. We currently count more than 10 500 members registered on YPARD website from 186 countries and 60 registered country chapters.
YPARD : GFAR’s constituent and youth mainstream’s mechanism
YPARD is the leading youth voice in GFAR. It serves as the mechanism through which some key young leaders all around the world contribute to GFAR’s discussions and develop capacities thanks to inter-generational work and learning opportunities. The Global Coordination Unit of YPARD is hosted by the GFAR Secretariat.
Enabling a self-reliant YPARD platform that enables young people to contribute to global agricultural research for development reforms is indeed fully part of GFAR’s Medium Term Plan. It particularly serves the objective of embedding agricultural research and knowledge into rural development agendas, where young rural people play valuable and fulfilling roles for sustainable futures.
Engaging young professionals in agriculture through a formal community like YPARD and ensuring the youth community to be informed, connected, and actively engaged both individually and collectively in agricultural development serves the Global Forum’s objectives by welcoming at the forefront young leaders of Today and Tomorrow, with their innovative ideas and creative assets.
How does it work?
Young professionals access and use information that enables them to find and share exciting work opportunities in agriculture. Stronger youth recognition and invitations to actively engage in decision making processes will help convince other young people to join the movement and be a part of agriculture’s future.
For this to happen, we need, not only deliver relevant access to useful information, but to create opportunities for the youth for personal development, international recognition and active engagement. This will further enable the youth to demonstrate what agriculture can offer as an attractive sector.
Confident youth will significantly contribute to a more self reliant YPARD platform, which in turn can support them in their individual and collective endeavors. This requires a sustainable platform – through diversified and reliable sources of funding and supported by competent and committed national, regional and global managers and teams operating through clear monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.
GFAR’s collective efforts generate a supportive framework for YPARD’s strategy while YPARD’s activities contribute the Global Forum’s objectives – here is how:
Connected and informed Young People engage in innovative agricultural development
YPARD’s information sharing and access to capacity building activities contributes to GFAR’s efforts to opening access to agricultural information and knowledge among national systems and networks. YPARD generates significant online activities through it website and social media. It is also a key pillar of the Agrivivo platform as a data provider, to enhance networking and information sharing among networks.
The development of a YPARD mentoring programme, focusing on strengthening agribusiness and entrepreneurship among youth contributes to GFAR’s efforts on stimulating smallholder producer entrepreneurship and new forms of public-private investments that enable new income and market opportunities from agricultural innovation products.
Young people contribute to strategic policy debates in agricultural development
GFAR walks the talks by having a YPARD representative in its Steering Committee.
Also, YPARD’s contribution into the TAP – the Tropical Agriculture Platform, also an initiative through GFAR – involves youth into capacity development strategies to target youth-specific needs through more coherent global capacity building action that support innovation system development.
YPARD’s engagement with the Global Foresight Academy (arising from the GCARD process) on the coaching of a Foresight YPARD ambassador and the commitment of YPARD members in foresight helps, among the youth, regional foresight capacities enhanced for greater self-determination delivering. It is also our will to create a Youth Group with regional focal points within the GAP– the Gender in Agriculture Partnership -as activities grow.
Agriculture has a positive image among the youth
By contributing the voice of young professionals to the curriculum reform debates, YPARD is working towards transformative formal and informal education that respond to Today’s employment needs – by bringing the youth into discussions which directly impact their future.
YPARD’s series of testimonials of young women and men in agriculture also spotlights youth’s success stories within GAP, and thus contribute to the partnership efforts for stronger gender equity together with promoting the crucial role young women can play in the sector, and the benefit of those young men working towards their empowerment.
There is no YPARD without its connected members; there is no GFAR without its constituents – among which YPARD -working collectively – the maths are simple: there is no GFAR without the youth working together with their peers and senior professionals.
This blogpost is part of a series introducing GFAR stakeholders attending the upcoming GFAR Constituent Assembly
Picture courtesy Marina Cherbonnier (YPARD)