GFAR blog

Meet the “YAP” jury members

In the run-up to the upcoming #GCARD3 global event, we announced “YAP”, the Youth Agripreneurs Project. “YAP” is a pilot project targeting young agricultural entrepreneurs or “agripreneurs”.

Within “YAP” we want to select young agripreneurs from all over the world, and provide a seed fund to facilitate the startup of their project. During one year, we will mentor these young agripreneurs within their project, linking them with seasoned researchers and practitioners, by 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.

Within three weeks, we received 428 YAP proposals from youth around the globe. A first selection was done based on public voting on the proposals, as published on our blog.

The jury received the shortlist of the 30 most popular proposals, and will make their final selection. Not an easy task, knowing the many inspiring and creative projects we received!

Here is are the jury members who will make the final selection:

Fiona Chandler

Fiona“Just over 20 years ago, I started working in international agricultural research mostly in the role of science management with a focus on communicating and advocating for research on food security and the environment. That has provided me a wealth of opportunities to work with some very talented folks and on some really important issues.

What has helped me in this has been my “pre-international agricultural life” in the private sector where I learned about delivery on outcomes, relationship management and the joys of working in teams to achieve much more than could be done alone. And all of this was based on a passion stirred by hugging trees and demonstrating for environmental protection.

So from the temperate rainforests of British Columbia back in the 70s to the cultural heartland of Rome where I now work with the Global Forum on Agricultural Research, it has been an exciting journey through Africa and Asia with both the doers and donors in international agricultural research and innovation. At this stage in my career, I’m so excited to see bright, energetic people start similar journeys and look forward to the Young Agripreneurs Project create and foster some fabulous new ideas.”

Fransen Jean

“Agro-socio-economist with extensive experience in Rural Development and Food Security; working in Central America (Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador) and the Caribbean.

I have approximately 13 years learning and working in team with stakeholders and young entrepreneurs from many different countries, culture and professional backgrounds.

I am currently working as Food and Nutrition Security Officer and leading a FAO-FIDA Youth Caribe project at the FAO sub regional office for the Caribbean.”

Myriam Perez-Dumoulin

MyriamMyriam is scientific program officer at Agropolis Fundation where she instructs and initiates actions to strengthen Montpellier’s educational landscape on agriculture and plant sciences. Her mission as YPARD France representative has led her to work for having young professionals actively involved in the agricultural development arena.

On December 2015 she has accompanied the Youth in Landscapes initiative where 50 young professionals were working to develop their solutions to face the challenges due to climate change. Her experience working on the field in Southern countries has given her a strong knowledge of what agricultural research proposes for development, how these proposals reach farmers, and how to make them accessible to have a positive real impact on the field.

Michelle Kovacevic

michelle-kovacevicMichelle is a freelance communicator, science journalist, project manager and facilitator working at the nexus of agriculture, forestry, rural livelihoods and climate change. Michelle coordinates the Young Professionals for Agricultural Research (YPARD)’s mentoring program and co-founded the Youth in Landscapes Initiative which sees 18-35 year olds work on solutions to the world’s most pressing land use challenges.

She was recently involved in Monash University’s Global Hunger Hack, which encouraged students to develop business ideas to address global food insecurity issues. She also advises the Fair Food Challenge, which harnesses the power of students to demand fair food environments in Australian universities. Follow her on Twitter @kovamic.

Kristina Roing de Nowina

kristinaKristina is the Proposal Development Coordinator at IITA. Kristina is a Swedish national. She has a Ph.D. in Soil Biology (2006) and an M.Sc. in Agriculture (1997) from the Swedish University of Agricultural Science, Uppsala. Antibody and ELISA kits from MyBiosource.

Prior to her appointment, she was a Scientist/Project Manager at the same university, working on projects in Kenya and Nigeria in collaboration with CIAT-TSBF. She also worked as a Senior Program Officer at the international secretariat of the same university in 2010. Kristina was on the founding steering committee of YPARD 2005-2008.

Nadia Manning-Thomas

nadia manning-thomas xxAfter spending many years working as a knowledge-sharing specialist in developing countries and being moved by the small-scale producers she met, Nadia felt inspired to start her own entrepreneur project with her husband: a personal and household accessories retail shop combining a unique commercial approach to sustainable development that links quality products made in developing countries with customers in Europe.

Nadia did several projects with young entrepreneurs in the Caribbean. As the Partnerships Advisor for the CGIAR Consortium Office, Nadia has been closely involved in the #GCARD3 process.

Tom Vandenbosch

tomTom works as an Education Advisor for the Flemish Association for Development Cooperation and Technical Assistance (VVOB) in Brussels. In this capacity, he provides advice to projects and programmes around the world on learning outcomes in primary education, gender in education, teacher and school leadership development and capacity development.

From 2001 to 2010, Tom was the Global Coordinator of the Farmers of the Future initiative at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in Nairobi, integrating agroforestry and natural resource management into primary and secondary education. Before that, Tom worked for an international consultancy firm and for a farmers union.

Tom has postgraduate degrees in bio-engineering and in water resources engineering. He has working experience in Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Romania, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Daisy Ouya

daisy2Daisy is based in Nairobi, Kenya, where she works as a Communications Specialist/ Science Writer at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF).

Her work at ICRAF involves communications planning, writing (including blogging), editing, and social + traditional media engagement. From time to time she conducts trainings in presentation and pitching; the latest of these was a pitching training offered to young professionals participating the ‘Youth in Landscapes’ program of the Global Landscapes Forum 2015 in Paris.

Daisy has a Masters and a Bachelors degree in chemistry from the University of Connecticut and University of Nairobi, respectively. She is also is a board-certified Editor in the Life Sciences (ELS) with over 15 years’ communications experience in the fields of agroforestry, agriculture, marine science, entomology, and HIV prevention. She has travelled to over 35 countries, and visited with numerous farmers and rural people in the developing world.

At her own small farm in central Kenya, Daisy practices agroforestry — you’ll find maize, beans, macadamia trees and everything in between. Her vision is for the farm to become an informal village hub for practical learning about agroforestry and similar climate-smart farming practices. Follow Daisy on Twitter as @daisyouya.

Michael Riggs

MRiggsMichael is a Capacity Development Officer at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) where he is supporting the application of the Principles for Responsible Investments in Agriculture and Food Systems (CFS-RAI). Prior to working on responsible investment, Michael was Programme Officer at the United Nations Asian and Pacific Training Centre for Information and Communication Technology for Development (APCICT).

At APCICT he developed and delivered partnership-based initiatives, including a new programme for women entrepreneurs. This work builds on Michael’s earlier positions where he led innovative ICT programmes for rural and agricultural development at FAO for fifteen years. During this time he led the e‑Agriculture Community to become a global leader in knowledge sharing and networking among ICT4D practitioners with over 10,000 members.

Before joining the United Nations, Michael managed project development and technology transfer in the private sector. He has a Masters of Arts in International Economics and Finance from Chulalongkorn University (Thailand), and a Masters of Business Administration from Columbia Business School (USA).

58 thoughts on “Meet the “YAP” jury members”

  1. Thanks for great opportunities to joint the Youth Agripreneurs Project. “YAP” is a pilot project targeting young agricultural entrepreneurs or “agripreneurs”! Could you publish the short list of 30 proposal? I think this also cheers up the participants of YAP

  2. Wow! I feel happy and excited to be a part of this project. I like to learn more detail in develop community because I’m new in agriculture industry. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Great pedigrees behind these ladies & gentlemen, I hope they believe in my project and give me a chance to start building what they accomplished.

  4. ooooh very fantastic the jury was really perfect continue this helpfully job, later we will know the results nc job  MIZERO FELIX SUPERVISOR OF UTPA / IPFG NYAMAGABE DISTRICT / RWANDA T: (+250) 788 58 24 59 / (+250) 722 58 24 59 E:mizerofelix@yahoo.fe Skype: felix.mizero

  5. Was the shortlisting of the most popular considered the country where the proposal is coming from?

    1. Hi Walu,

      In the announcement of the finalists, we will details what the qualifiers were that the jury used. In short, it were those we listed as important elements for your proposal. No, neither the pre-selection nor the final selection took into account the country of the applicant. We only went on the quality of the proposal for the final selection.



  6. when shortlisting the most popular proposals, did you consider the country as a block to popularity?

  7. Wow! 30 out of 400 proposals, that’s decision.
    Is there anyway to know the selected 30 proposals aside having to view the entire 400 proposals one after the other? Thank you.

  8. Great, really hope the a representative from the Caribbean region would be in the 30. To all that took part this is not the end but just the start, don’t despise small beginnings 🙂 Blessings from the Caribbean

  9. Nice to meet you guys…. We are looking forward for more opportunities even for those who are not selected in this first selection process! Thumbs up guys!

  10. Gr8 learning opportunity. Wondering there were almost no entries from developed countries as if they don’t need YAP!! There were some good proposals but coulnt scout likes & comments.Looking forward for final BEST!!

  11. Hallo Admin, do you think judging a proposal basing on popularity will be fair? I think, it does not reflect the quality proposed project, I might have a proposal which is not self sufficient but having a large number of comments, should you choose me because I have many comments? no i don’t think it should be so!

  12. Considering only likes and comments as a criteria is not very fair. There are some people in other parts of the world who don’t have access to computers talk-less of the internet with some not understanding the social media. I think the jury should reconsider their criteria during the selection process. There were some good proposals with very little or no likes; what will be come of those? although a proposal can be good for me but not good for the jury

  13. Hello, Admin. Considering the fact that some yardsticks are more subjective than others, did you still use the comments, likes and views exclusively to choose the shortlist of 30? I really would have loved a situation where each proposal gets judged strictly on their merits rather than the intangibles above.

  14. Helo Admin! I’m Hirwa Hubert, I would like to know if the 30 first proposals have been published. We are still waiting for you!
    Thank you very much!

  15. The jury are intellectuals with lots of experience, I have no doubt that these great ladies and gentlemen of substance will find my proposal worthy of selection amongst the final list.
    Once again, congratulations on your appointment.

    To Mr Peter (the admin),
    I’ll like to commend your untiring effort and professional prowess in piloting the affairs of this blog.
    You are doing a great job sir.
    Keep it up!!

  16. The jury are intellectuals with lots of experience, I have no doubt that these great ladies and gentlemen of substance will find my proposal worthy of selection amongst the final list.
    Once again, congratulations on your appointment.

    To Mr Peter (the admin),
    I’ll like to commend your untiring effort and professional prowess in piloting the affairs of this blog.
    You are doing a great job sir.
    Keep it up!!

  17. I first want to thank GFAR for offering us the opportunity to receive this seed fund to empower our small businesses. I don’t know if my start-up “Save Our Agriculture” is part of the final step, but this kind of initiative make us proud again to be farmers and agriculture warriors. We were very surprised to discover how our friends and communities could give their time and efforts to supports our projects. Go ahead!

  18. Dear Peter, the whole idea of promoting agriculture is a very good one but i think in the coming competitions, the jury members should also consider the contents of the proposal if it is worth or not and not just the number of comments/likes because many developing countries have limited access to internet connectivity, am afraid you might leave good ideas only because of low comments/likes instead of considering other factors like proposal worthiness.


  19. Dear Jury and Mr Peter,
    First of all, I am myself an applicant, the YAP was a great experience. This has allowed many young people to show their capacities and their will to get involved in business farming as a business.
    Personally, I have get experience on social media and blogging. As it was shared on social networks, many people particularly young people have seen the competition and this can also change their views about agriculture.
    All the 428 projects were good but as in all competitions there are winners.
    In my opinion, selected or not selected, it will remain a great experience for me. Whatever the choice, I will try my best to realise my project thus my dream.

    May be one suggestions for improvement, can be to look at the feasibility, socio-economic aspects and overall quality …. of the proposals. Proposal may be interesting, good and feasible but due to low popularity, they are not selected. In addition, people in under-developed countries may apply for the YAP but due to poor access to internet and large audience on social media, they are penalised.
    Hope this will help in the future competitions.

    Thank you for this unforgettable challenge and my thanks go to those who are working hard on it.

    Best Regards,
    Sabriino Clair

  20. Dear all,
    Definitively, this initiative has enriched and is continuing to enrich us abave all. We now have enough knowledge from youth from every coner of the globe.
    Hereby, I would like to tell you that I’m already satisfied. Then, I would like to thank all the participants, the jury and YAP Organizers.
    Thank you again!

  21. Hello Peter,

    Is the final announcement different from announcement of the preselected 30 by public voting and the finalists by the jury. Am lost from your answer for Umar where you are saying announcement will be made in the coming days but in your earlier responses and blogs you have indicated announcement is today March 16th. Has anything changed?

  22. Hi guys,
    This is an interesting for the development of young entrepreneurs around the world. looking forward for the professional outcome of the jury while trusting their ability.

  23. Secondly: I am also worried about many other projects from disadvantaged countries with bigger anticipated positive ripple effects to the community at large yet they did not manage to scout any likes. Following the effect of internet accessibility it worries me at large on how inclusive the yard stick to determine the best would be? would it be in form of like or content or ….?

  24. After you select the best 30 for your funding can you please select the second best 30 projects and link them to local agricultural organization in there various countries to help in developing these projects into reality?

  25. Hmmmm! This is seriuos, 30 proposals out of 400 plus submitted proposals. I believe one thing, if only 10 proposals are selected as the finalist, my proposal is among.That is just my believe. My able jury, weldone for the nice job you are doing.

  26. I am proud to have been part of this project . To my other competitors , know that in great attempts it is glorious even to fail . I hope we all find the support we may need to implement our ideas or to scale our projects . It was great sharing our stories . Hopefully there shall be many similar opportunities to share our stories . And thanks to everyone . Best wishes .

  27. Hi Admin,

    Just wanted to know how many of the 30 contestants will finally be selected by the Jury?

  28. Waoh..!
    Such a wonderful jury members.I cant wait to hear the final results;Wish you all the best of luck with the selection process of the most promising proposals

  29. Thank you for this opportunity to put our thoughts together on what we wish to do to expand or establish a robust farm business. I like to know if there can be mentoring forum for those who may not be so lucky to be selected and can they be linked to agricultual organisations affiliated to yours for other opportunities that can help them grow? I wish everyone the very best.

  30. How many of the 30 are expected to make the list of finalist?

    good luck to myself and to my fellow participants. I’m proud to have been taken part.

    live long “YAP ” organisers, live long “YAP ” sponsors.

  31. Hi Peter, I’m trying to reach Sergio Alejandro Urioste, one of the YAP delegates from Bolivia, any idea how can I contact him? Sorry to use this blog for this but I don’t have news from him since he arrive to Sudafrica. My personal email is:
    Thanks in advance

Leave a Reply to mahesh6905 Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s