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Big Thanks to Youth Supporters!

“Young Professionals are full of capacity. Give them a chance to take responsibility and you will see the positive impact!”The road is long towards full inclusion of Young Professionals into strategic international actions for agricultural development.

But the adventure enables you to meet and work with outstanding people who understand the critical role youth play for sustainable development. It is time to celebrate youth supporters and look at the achievement made together so far.

GCARD2, 2012, represented a milestone for making Youth Voice stronger at key ARD events. Through our collaboration with GFAR and the CGIAR more than 25 young professionals from YPARD were involved in discussions through social reporting of the global conference. Our team truly made agriculture cool again!

Enrica Porcari of the CGIAR was key to making this happen. In 2010 at GCARD1, while YPARD was involved in a side event with 40 young researchers, Enrica was already trying to get the youth involved into bringing ARD messages beyond the doors of the conference room.  She also worked to make it a capacity development exercise. GCARD2 Youth Social Reporting Programme is the “ripe fruit” of her efforts.

The GCARD2 as a process catalyzing action goes beyond a one-time event. One month after the conference, a series of initiatives generated by young professionals was born as a result of their experience at the GCARD2.

The freshly wrapped-up AASW6 – 6th African Agriculture Science Week, organized by the Forum for Agricultural Research for Africa (FARA), also gave a chance to more than 40 young people  to experience once again the power of social media for ARD for youth to get a voice. The participation of these young people was made possible by the collaboration of FARA, CTA, CGIAR, GFAR and YPARD.

It is our pride to see one of the GCARD2 young social reporters at the heart of the initiative in order to replicate the magic formula for the AASW6: Idowu Ejere, the Communications and Public Awareness Officer at FARA. She was supported by Sam Mikenga, Media Coordinator at CTA, Marina Cherbonnier, from YPARD and Peter Casier from CGIAR, the knowledge broker and utmost inspiring social media coordinator who undertook the coordination of the social reporting experience both at GCARD2 and AASW6. The encouragement and support from Prof. Monty Jones, immediate past Executive Director of FARA and Dr. Michael Hailu, Diretor of CTA made the social media initiative possible.

This is one very concrete success story of “GCARD as a process and not a mere conference” – as asserted by GFAR; we can tangibly see the progress made for Youth empowerment through the collaborative work of ARD organisations!

Yes, Young Professionals are full of capacity. Give them a chance to take responsibility and you will see the positive impact!

We couldn’t have such a range of action without the support of experienced people and key organisations willing to give the little push to get young professionals on board. We want to thank them for listening to and opening the doors for us.

While there is continuous effort to provide opportunities for youth to be recognized and involved as an equal stakeholder in the implementation of ARD actions, it is our duty to take responsibility to make sure it happens.

“AASW6 over; what’s next?” Stay posted!

Picture credit: Neil Palmer (CIAT)