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YPARD and Youth Stakeholders taking part in refining CTA Youth Strategy!

YPARD was invited by CTA to participate to its Strategic Youth Stakeholder Workshop from 14th to 16th November 2012 in Wageningen, The Netherlands.

A group of around 25 young professionals, coming from Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP), and other partners among which FANRPAN, FAO and IFAD, were gathered – all, working on Youth in Agriculture and Rural Development.

CTA workshop’s objective was to solicit guidelines from the participants to finalize its youth strategy. CTA has supported a number of initiatives for the youth in ACP countries, for many years, but it doesn’t have yet a specific youth focused strategy.

The 3 days workshop enabled to review and understand a number of existing issues and initiatives presented by the participants. It was also about addressing recommendations for strengthening CTA Youth strategy and raise potential ideas of how we can work together.

Sharing “Youth in agriculture” experiences

CTA internship programme

It was quite an emotion for me to attend CTA workshop as a partner, through YPARD. I was intern at CTA, some time ago, for one year, after just finishing my studies in France. Not only did I learn a lot from that first experience abroad and in the field of “Development”, but I also deeply miss Koda Traore, who was my supervisor at that time and carried on following my progress over the years – Koda left us beginning of this year.

Through its internship programme, CTA does contribute to empowering the youth. I was given much space for being a real team player, build on my creativity, be heard and receive guidance for understanding a world that was completely new to me: the world of International development.

That was actually my first recommendation to CTA as a starting point of my presentation about YPARD during the workshop: carry on supporting the youth by giving them the space for capacity building and growth.  

YPARD – a platform for Youth in Agriculture

It was a great opportunity to present YPARD: an international movement of young professionals for young professionals for agricultural development. I focused on our current priorities: contributing to curricula development discussions, mentorship, youth integration into policy debates, and strengthening our regions and country representatives.

I eventually stressed the necessity to work together by exploiting the expertise of each stakeholder and combining our different perspectives, within organisations and among different stakeholders and partners. That’s the way to go to work effectively for youth empowerment and tackle global issues such as poverty – that’s my belief!

Key Youth in Ag issues

Unemployment (taking in account hidden employment and informal employment), unattractiveness of the agricultural sector, education and the need of soft skills – lead a team, be part of a team, negotiation skills, are key issues that came out strongly from the discussions.

Two Key ideas struck my attention:

  • Youth is a heterogeneous group. Youth issues should be considered on an individual level (depending on the context, education, personal assets)
  • “Youth-friendly” policies and getting youth involved in policy debates came across many participants’ interventions as a true need. “Old people have a negative image of young people and these are the ones shaping policies!” says J-F Fonseca, CTA.

Towards refining CTA Youth Strategy

We reviewed 4 main aspects related to youth empowerment in line with CTA strategy: education (science and research), policy, ICT/KM and value chain. Four groups were shaped to focus, each, on one of these aspects. Learn more about the working process followed, on ARDYIS blog post: Strategic Youth Stakeholder Workshop: An enriching experience for organizers and participants.

I contributed to the Education group where we highlighted particularly the need for more interaction between different stakeholders and primarily between the “Education world” and the rest, the urge for adapted curricula, practical experience through internship, and mentorship.

CTA confirmed its commitment in supporting youth and its strong will to work together with the present stakeholders and beyond. The Strategy would take in account the outcomes of the workshop.

I salute the enthusiasm, the energy and brightness of the participants. It was a very enriching workshop at different levels: through sharing of experience, brainstorming on strategic level, meeting of inspiring individuals and discussions on concrete actions to bring forward. Under my Web&Comm. cap, I particularly see very exciting ways to work together on media and KM initiatives to promote agriculture and expand information sharing.

We are very looking forward to CTA Youth strategy final document and to working together upon it!

Check the picture on ARDYIS' CTA Strategic Youth Stakeholders Workshop album on Facebook.