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Dryland agrifood, youth research and the CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals

From February 14th to 16th, over 130 participants from 25 countries gathered in Addis Ababa to confirm partners and priorities at the launch meeting of the CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals (GLDC).

Dr Peter Carberry, the Director of GLDC, set the framework from the start, underlining that the Program’s approach is how it can add value to what is already being undertaken. Linking initiatives and building on each other’s strengths will be a key focus of the approach. Effective research programs that work with development partners have a much stronger potential for impact.

Partnerships were heavily emphasized, which was refreshing to hear from partners in the room and YPARD is pleased to be the youth partner for the GLDC CRP. There appears to be a real desire and drive to engage with youth throughout the different components of the research program.

Youth Engagement in GLDC

 The first approach that will be taken, is to better understand the realities of youth in dryland systems. The CRP explainsDeveloping a better understanding of how local contextual factors and social difference interact to shape the diverse pathways by which young people engage with dryland agri-food systems and the potential is an important starting point for youth research in GLDC”.  If you are a youth in drylands within the YPARD network, we may be reaching out to you to better understand how you experience your reality and the approaches we can take to better understand. We also want to move beyond understanding and into action.  Asking questions around, ‘how can youth partners become agents of action research in these areas’? is some of the work ahead of us.

What I was most excited about when reading the CRP was the need to test ‘support systems that lead to the youth engaging and benefiting from legume/cereals value chains’. Support systems are essential for providing the right type of information, connections and guidance that young people need when venturing into new challenges. If we are keen to support innovation, then we need to support the innovators. This does not happen in a vacuum and requires the support of networks like YPARD, exchanges among partners and mentoring.

We see the value of being part of a community, of having others to ask questions to, exchange and collaborate. We hope this will become a key tenet of the new CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals. Congratulations on the launch!

YPARD was seen as a valuable partner for engaging on youth issues within the CRP on the way forward. There will be several opportunities to put YPARD in proposals going forward. The strongest area is with the gender team, but opportunities within FP1 also exist.

Looking forward!

Have a read through the CRP full proposal here.

Photo credit: CRP Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals