Since its inception, YPARD has grown rapidly, demonstrating the need and value that young professionals see in a youth focused network.
This is moreso reflected in the recently released YPARD 2015 annual report which takes into account all the activities YPARD community has been involved in for the last one year.Among these notable activities include;
Communication both Online and Offline
In the last one year, YPARD national representatives have made waves in their countries, mobilizing youth in agriculture, focusing action on specific issues and making their voices heard. As of the report publication, YPARD membership spread across the globe has 11, 621 registered members from 187 countries. But not all young people are online a situation that YPARD Sri Lanka representative has taken note of. She brings the offline youths printed copies of the YPARD newsletter while in Armenia the message is spread through local networks. We must not take it for granted that all young people are online and purely online approaches miss out on too many rural youth and thus too much potential and opportunity.
Entrepreneurship and Mentorship
Agriculture becomes a viable career when the business side of it is evident. In line with making agriculture attractive to young professionals, YPARD started a mentorship program as a means of supporting budding entrepreneurs. To date, the results have been very impressive and this has resulted to diversification of the pilot face to face program to purely online and blended (conference) mentoring programs to serve more YPARD members.
Youth input into policy debates and discussions
Increasingly, more youth are being invited to provide input on national, regional and global levels. For instance, YPARD’s role in partnership with IFSA, GAEA and with support from CIFOR on the youth in landscapes initiative at the Global Landscapes Forum has created a dynamic and innovative youth led program, for capacity development of young professionals and truly engaging methods for youth input into discussions.
In other cases, young people have participated in events to create a solution to topical issues facing their community. For instance, A YPARD Mediterranean group grew out of the GFAR Mediterranean dialogues, to look specifically at issues facing that region and how young people can organize themselves to tackle challenges and create momentum in the agricultural sector.
Additionally, YPARD youths were on the forefront in advising on youth strategies as organisations continue to assess their approach to incorporating, working with and planning for youth engagement in agriculture. One such youth strategy that YPARD has contributed to is the CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems Youth strategy.
Increasing the attractiveness of Agriculture
Frequently debated and often voiced in the terms of how to make agriculture ‘sexy or cool’, many point to improving the status of agriculture, changing perceptions and bringing role models into the spotlight. At YPARD, we recognize that profitability remains at heart, and generating good incomes is the start to changing perceptions. in line with this, YPARD has developed a series of role models over the years, as part of the showcase: “portraits of young professionals in agricultural development”. Young farmers, researchers, policy analysts, etc tell their success stories in agriculture, to inform and inspire their peers on the range of opportunities in the sector.
Have a glance at our 7 key accomplishments for 2015
- Capacity development of approximately 1200 YPARD representatives and members through targeted webinars and trainings.
- Meaningful inclusion of youth at key development conferences with over 250 active youth participants onsite as key speakers and innovators, and hundreds of followers online.
- Launching of the YPARD face to face, online and blended mentoring programs.
- From developing a youth strategy to taking part in its implementation; conducting research on youth aspirations with the CGIAR Dryland Systems research program.
- More opportunities, information, networking and value for members with 196.434 visits on the website, 11.621 members registered on ypard.net and nearly 1500 items posted.
- Youth sitting in agricultural development management committees all over the world.
- Stronger national and regional representation with dozens of activities implemented at the national level and some exciting regional initiatives taking shape.
Read further on the YPARD 2015 Annual Report to see the exciting initiatives taking place at local, national, regional and global level and what YPARD has accomplished in 2015!