Youth in Landscapes: Taking action on recurring issues

Janusz Gawron, stock.xchange
Janusz Gawron, stock.xchange

Youth are sometimes asked to provide their input into the big issues in the landscapes sector (agriculture, forestry, fisheries, conservation, development, industry, climate change), but let’s face it — this input often stays on the sidelines and rarely influences the ‘real’ decisions that are being made.

We’re hoping to change this by providing a platform to bring the youth voice to the Global Landscapes Forum (see the event CIFOR and YPARD are planning here) and get these insights concretely reflected in the outcomes.

We have trawled through youth communiqués from past events to find the recurring themes. This is our chance to start from where we ended before, and move into concrete plans and commitments.  Let’s take an action-oriented approach together and focus on building a youth supportive environment within the landscapes sector. We want to hear your opinion, your experience, and your suggestions for moving forward.

Here are the four themes we have identified as important to building a youth-supportive environment within the landscapes sector. We need to determine strategies for dealing with them, including advocating for the policy support to create a place where they can happen.

1. Access to finance for youth.  Youth are being told to create their own opportunities through entrepreneurship in these tough financial times, yet are often not able to obtain loans for startup activities.  Youth are unable to access finance without collateral or specific government initiatives to support itPrevious discussions have identified that a shift in policy is required, and needs the support of governments and financial institutions.

2. Negative perception of agriculture/landscapes.The sector is often considered a poor, unattractive sector of the last resort. Making agriculture modern and sexy has consistently come up in youth centred discussions.  Suggestions include a stronger integration of ICTs, working on more attractive and potentially lucrative organic agriculture links, promoting farming as an income-generator, broadening perspectives on agriculture as a wide range of jobs that do not exclusively involve getting your hands dirty.Showcase of success stories and role models, spotlights on existing funding and job opportunities in agriculture and having “Youth in Ag.” social media rock stars are some of the concrete initiatives started towards fighting the negative picture of agriculture.

3. Reform of the education system. Let’s face it, parents very often invest in education to get their children out of rural livelihoods and agriculture, and the education system does not provide strong coverage of the scope of the landscapes sector, with all of the opportunities available. Recent studies report that tertiary and vocational institutions are not providing the skills and competencies necessary for young people to be a dynamic part of the landscapes sector. Curriculum reform is required, including inputs from a wide range of stakeholders. This also leads to the importance of internship opportunities.

4. Access to capacity development for young professionals.  Young professionals feel they need more opportunities to build up their skill sets, largely in the ‘soft skills’ sector. There is also a need for better integration of ICTs into the field.Mentorship, internships, capacity building trainings, negotiating with employers and other organisations to give more chance to young people were identified as ways to feel this gap.

Some questions for discussion:

1. How can we take concrete actions to improve youth access to finance?

2. What actions can we put in place to tackle negative perceptions of youth working in agriculture or landscapes – beyond or to scale up what already exists (i.e showcase)? Get creative with your ideas!

3. How do we start to reform education curriculums?  What can you do to help improve the educational system in your country?

4. What can we do to improve access to capacity development? How do we make sure capacity development strategies meet the expressed needs of youth? What needs to change?

5.     Are there other main areas where youth could play a major role?

So, to kick off the discussions, share your suggestions with us in the comment box below. Please indicate which point you are referring to (1-4). Through the discussions, we want to come to ACTION, so we would like to hear concrete examples, and concrete actions/remedies; and also what YOU are doing to overcome these hurdles…

Previous youth communiqués consulted include:

  • YPARD pre-conference youth session at GCARD2, 2012
  • A Call for Stronger Support for Youth Involvement in Agriculture and ICT (Communiqué) by CTA, 2011
  • “Youth in extension: are we making the most of our young assets?” Outcomes of YPARD and GFRAS e-discussions, 2011
  • “Factoring young voices to address critical challenges” YPARD’s representatives’ perspective on the CGIAR Science Forum, 2011.


  • Rogers Kasaija

    Reference to Number 2 above: Negative perception of agriculture/landscape.

    I talk from the viewpoint of rural youth in Uganda, where I was born, bred, raised and now practice agriculture from. 86.7% of Ugandans are rural, as per 2010 projections. I see my age mates who remained in the village. They are now married and/or have kids and have to fend for themselves. They did not get much with school, having dropped out mainly at Primary school level. They barely speak English and their use of mobile phones is mainly limited to phone calls and sending simple messages in the local languages. They have no perception of internet, apps or web based social media. Their main source of information is the FM radio. Their entertainment is football at the village playground and watching foreign football leagues at the village cinema/video/Digital TV hall. They treasure the village market days as the opportunity to carry out petty trade and meet more people, as well as drink their meager savings from the subsistence agriculture they practice. That is rural Uganda for me, you and whoever cares to listen. It is the reality, not fantasy.

    Positive:
    These youth practice some economic activity; agriculture (above 90%), in one form or the other. They may not do it by choice, but it is what is available. The previous generation was generous enough to leave some land for the current youth to inherit, let along buy. In some cases, landless youth rent land for subsistence agriculture. In order to help them, we have to work with what they already do, and have acquired substantial experience in. They are more willing to accept improvement to what they do, than accept an entirely new economic activity with all associated risks, if such exist.

    Illustration;

    My brother Tonny has grown maize on the 3 hectares his father allocated him ,since he dropped out of school at age 18. He is now 30, with a wife and four children. His average yield per hectare (same as the Ugandan average), is 1.8Tonnes. At Uganda Shilling 500 to the kilo, he earns Shs.900,000 per season, total Shs.1,800,000 for the two seasons in Uganda (USD720 per year, USD60 per month) to look after his six member family (USD 0.30 per family member per day).
    In contrast, average yield per hectare for maize in the developed world is 8.5Tonnes per hectare.
    If we could provide my bother Tonny with the skills and inputs to raise his maize production from 1.8tonnes to 6 tonnes per hectare (just 75% of what it is in the developed world), we would have increased his household income five times from USD60 per month to USD 300 per month). Such would be by far a bigger dream than he has ever had.

    Way Forward
    The rural youth involved in agriculture do not necessarily know that they can do what they do and do it better, using the same available space, but with better efficiency. This is a skill they can best learn by seeing. ‘What I see… I remember’. We should give youth access to demonstration venues for the activities of their own interest. If a youth is engaged in maize growing, then we should take this youth to a maize farm that has best farming practice. If a youth has interest in vegetable growing, we should take the youth to a vegetable grower. In this way, the youth simply improves on what is already in existence. Thereafter, we provide the requisite material items, where the individual is financially incapable of providing, to ensure that best practice acquired is put into use.

    • Dear Kasaija,

      These are excellent examples. If I could summarize:

      1/ Support the young farmers in their current activities, by teaching/showing them how to increase their income. ((personally, I would see this as a typical activity for farming extension services))

      2/ “Show the farmers” how it can be done differently or better, at demonstration venues, as well as farmer-to-farmer showcases (farmers often learn faster from other farmers. ((would this also be a typical activity for agricultural extension services?))

      3/ Provide small incentives through providing better/more basic tools, which will allow him/her to expand/diversify/.. experiment?

      Did I capture that correctly? — Peter

      • Rogers Kasaija

        Dear Peter,

        Spot on.
        1. Extension services are terribly lacking for the young people.
        2. Exchange visits. Its not a typical activity of agricultural extension. It is knowledge management.
        3. Experiment about?

        Rogers.

        • glfadmin

          Rogers, in terms of “experiment” I was thinking that often farmers lack some basic tools to “try things out”. For instances, in some areas of India, farmers wanted to experiment combining agriculture with micro-forestry, and wanted to high value trees around their fields, to prevent erosion, but also to use the wood as an additional income. They used a simple tool (which was still an investment for them) to plant young trees…

          Peter

          • Rogers Kasaija

            From that angle, yes.
            Regards.

  • Prince Wilondja

    In the mining areas of the eastern part of the DRC , the soils are of volcanic origin for the most part , also found in forest areas , which are fertile and the rest of agriculture is practiced and contributing enormously to the national GDP .
    However , it is quite clear that the youth is not interested in this feeding activity of the community , young people engage in activities that only they CONSIDER profit, including itinerant trading or various products from china has the illegal mining operation , which makes the low productivity agriculture.
    The trend today in the mining areas of eastern DRCongo is the vitamin for some children , and low food productivity , in the sense that agriculture is abandoned .
    It is the duty of young people in these different disturbances conners to awaken and take control of the agricultural sector and into more lucrative activity than the exploitation of minerals , but also agriculture nourishes the community.
    Also, it is a signal that it is important to raise awareness , educate and train young people to get them to abandon the informal mining sector to the agricultural sector , which is now the entire planet faces the problems of food insecurity and climate disturbances .
    I think the young Congolese are catalysts for change and can bring their knowledge , strength to boost the national and global local agricultural sector .

    Personally I am trying to prepare a project for young people practicing artisanal mining to return to the community then they fit in the agricultural sector and this will require the access to credits to start with the best of cooperative young farmers, this comes after our project on the involvement of the youth in the fight against climate change. This project is already a success and we were able to train young indigenous pygmies on the establishment of nurseries , agroforestry and climate change. Every young person has been able to establish an agroforestry field Grevillea for improvement agricultural production and food security .
    It is time that the youth is involved in agricultural issues at this time of global food crisis and climate derangement , our future is in jeopardy and everyone knows that today the world is that the younger ‘ was in the past centuries and the future depends on what we do for its durability. The politics should involve more youth in this critical issue of the moment. I know youth is already something for sustainable agricilture , and must be supported in this view.

    • Marina Cherbonnier

      Prince, you definitely show that youth in agriculture can and are active – very nice initiative! You mention though, that politics should involve youth more – how do you imagine this? What would be the specific role of the youth and what can we do as young people to boost politics to involve the youth?

  • Raheem McMalembo

    I am starting with # 1. Access to finance for the youth.
    This has a direct connection to my country that the responsible department
    tells the youth to involve into entrepreneurial activities while knowing that
    the youth themselves lack capital for initiating their activities. The policies
    from the financial institutions according to the country set up do not
    give the finances to the youth for the new projects and for the existed
    projects the finances are provided with collateral conditions. # 2. Negative
    perception of agriculture to the youth, it is quite true in my country due to
    the lack of show case models, ICTs programs and Extension Services that promote
    the youth to participate into agricultural initiatives-I think these should be
    addressed. WHAT I HAVE INITIATED TO ADDRESS THESE EXPLAINED ISSUES AS A YOUTH-
    First, we are facing the challenges of presenting our ideas as youth in the
    country that discourage the individuals then think this can has a relation to
    political context. As youth we have introduced the initiative idea that needs
    to curb the youth employment through agricultural sector in Tanzania. For
    initiative idea and constructive support visit at
    http://www.greenchangesforlenec.webs.com

    • Marina Cherbonnier

      Bunch of thanks Raheem for the contribution! Tell us, what can be done for tackling the financing issues you mention. What do you think is missing for resolving this and who can be of help, and how? For #2, could you spotlight for us the key activities you undertake through your initiative? Could that be replicated?

      • Raheem McMalembo

        financial issues should be addressed through policy adjustment that shall permit the youth groups to access the capital from financial institutions without collateral or condition of two years business operation. The responsible Organization either National or International are the ones for resolving this through fund provision for those start up youth projects. For #2. I have initiated the youth project through Agricultural sector that desires to create employment to young population visit here http://www.greenchangesforlenec.webs.com on other side i have introduced the campaign on youth landscape throughout the social media..To my project i think i request the financial supporters to back up me even the start up capital.

        • Marina Cherbonnier

          Thanks Raheem. #1 How can we “influence” organisations for them to bring this support to the youth? Why don’t they propose this currently, and what incentives would we have to incite them to get started? #2 It would be nice to know more about your project and the success story around it – nice initiative! Would you like to write a blog post about it that we could post on landscapes.org and possibly ypard.net ? You can write to me at info@ypard.net if you are interested in doing this and we would coordinate with the editing team of GLF.

          • Raheem McMalembo

            The truth is..the youth especially the locals lack the opportunity to present their ideas and initiatives. The Organization are still working with official departments. I am advising that the Organization should go to the grassroot levels to work with marginal youth through their groups ( refers to: youth who have no space to talk and present their issues but they are innovative). Take an example in our country some equipped companies/organization are working with few youth despite they are knowing the country is made up of more the 50% of youth..that is not enough. My emphasis is on influencing the Organizations to create the program that shall fish out the local youth ideas/initiatives. Turning to myself it is very difficult to penetrate and present what i think on youth landscape concerns to the responsible departments in the country due to bureaucracy.
            I think a platform like yours can be the incentive of stipulating the youth ideas and initiative then present to responsible Organization, this shall incite them to get started with local youth. I shall work on it and provide the success story to my project

          • Marina Cherbonnier

            #1 Good point Raheem! Thanks for this! Our weakness at YPARD, for example, being that all our representatives at local and national levels are volunteers with limited resources which limits our power of action on local and national level – but we are working on it – and the points you raise/ the outcomes of these discussions would perhaps help us solicit more help from possible partners #2 Very looking forward to it!

          • Raheem McMalembo

            i gratitude if you shall connect our initiative to the potential partners. I think Youth Landscape inspiration and act forwards are possible.

          • Marina Cherbonnier

            This kind of events is definitely one of the objectives: connecting people and initiatives in order to join forces and work together. We do hope concrete actions will come out from it and your contributions to these e-discussions is one of the first steps – by giving awareness about what you do, your insights and your needs to reach your objectives! Keep it up!

          • Raheem McMalembo

            much appreciation on you..i am still working with last assignment.

        • NGOUAMBE

          Thank you Raheem for this concrete example. what I want us to understand is that, youth has a great potential and have to be supported. concerning the point of financial institutions, most of them are private institutions operating under capitalistic economic model meaning that, profit before social issue. that is, all stakeholders must be involved as you mentioned by bringing some facilities that could lead young people meet the main conditions imposed by these institutions. to do so, public-private partnership must be encourage in you case as it was successfully done in Cameroon. Here, some project are both manage by private micro finance institution (Mutuelle Communautaire de Croissqance-MC2) and public institution. Government (Ministry of youth, ministry of agriculture, National Youth employement fund, etc) Mission’s is to trained young professionnals for agribussiness model and how to prepare a good agri-project for funding. youth with similar project are sometime groupe into common initiative group, cooperative society or small business enterprise. So relevant projects are selected by governement agency and presented to financial institutions with which they have already sign a MoU or convention for immedialte funding. The main responsabilities of financial institutions is to respect the term of partnership and sent one of it personnel during the conception phase of agri-project to better explain how funds will be reimbursed.
          those project let more young people involved i agricultural sector inspite the fact that there are some threats like embezzlement, favouritism …

          • Raheem McMalembo

            true say..organization, responsible departments should be activated for supporting the local youth ideas and initiatives. We should incite them for recognizing indigenous youth.

      • Gbade’ Olusegun Odularu

        No 1: Improve access to agric finance among youth.

        During the FARA 6th AASW, some of the recommendations that were articulated during the ‘promoting access to rural finance for enhanced agricultural productivity in Africa’ side event were:

        [1] Innovative financing options via the adoption of ICTs (e.g. Mobile
        Money Transfer and Google Farmer) should be promoted, particularly, initiatives that enhance youths access to financial services..
        [2] Existing successful micro financing schemes should be tailored to
        the peculiar needs and constraints of youth, and piloted as agricultural and rural financing schemes.

        I would like to complement the last recommendation by stating that it is high time that this finance issue was held head-on, rather than as a passer’s by challenge. My suggestion is that if industrialization is difficult to achieve, countries establish ‘Bank of Industry – BOI’; if commerce appears problematic, a Bank of Commerce will be established; if residential units are in short supply, a mortgage bank will be established; if agricultural backwardness is being experienced, then an agricultural development bank will be created; and this follows for other sectors like petroleum or energy, ICTs, infrastructures – road, marine, air, etc. Rather than adopting a piece-meal approach in solving the problem, that is, rather than have a youth/agric finance departments or committees within other programmes or initiatives, it is high time for governments, private sectors and other stakeholders to pool energies and resources together to establish a one-stop centre for youth development and access to finance. This centre should cater for the total needs of the youth but the capacity strengthening as well as the access to finance components should be addressed very critically. Though some Ministries of Youth Affairs could have been doing this, but i think they have to be more transformational, more innovative and more proactive with this responsibility, especially with the increasing global youth unemployment which could be a blessing if well utilized, or curse if it is abused.
        From Gbade’ Odularu

        • Marina Cherbonnier

          Thanks a lot, Gbade’ for bringing some strong ideas on concrete mechanisms to support the youth financially. Are the different stakeholders you mention ready to move ahead with these? What needs to be done for these excellent ideas to be exploited and put in practice? What can we do, as young professionals for this to happen?

          • Gbade’ Olusegun Odularu

            Thanks Marina. I think the different stakeholders are willing and ready to put these ideas into action. More importantly, these ideas or policy advices would be workable and achievable through the concerted efforts of all the stakeholders. In addition, the young professionals need to represent an effective innovation platform just like YPARD in order for members to contribute their expertise towards solving these problems. I think this is the first step in the right direction towards solving the problems.

          • Marina Cherbonnier

            Thanks, Gbade’. That’s great to know that you think the different stakeholders that can support the youth are truly willing to take action for this. You are right: ensuring that they join forces and work in successful is key.I also agree, and more and more, on the idea that young people need to get together in a one voice to get heard as primary stakeholders. Thanks for the input!

  • keron

    For me one of the best ways to solve a lot of these recurring issues is through agvocacy and promotion of agriculture and the problems that occur if they are not address. many persons including youth are simply unaware of the problems. Some may have solutions.. Therefore items such as the youth session and this blog post should continue to be written and shared so that the knowledge of the issue is present in the minds of all.

    • Marina Cherbonnier

      Thanks for the clear feedback, Keron! So your main message is that we must carry on with continuous awareness and advocacy. My question would be : who should undertake this and who would be the target group(s). Through which process(es) should this be conducted? Any concrete ideas?

  • peter m Okoya

    Not all youth are down in their perceptions, a lot more has to be done in regards to access to modern agricultural inputs and mechanisms, the youth in Northern Uganda work so hard and make it a point to get what they need by sweating for it.
    They do attain agricultural conferences and workshops too.

    We need to enable them financially to motivate and increase their outputs and returns so that they can appreciate agriculture the more.

    Images are taken from Pukure Integrated Fish Farm in Amuru district in Northern Uganda.

    • Marina Cherbonnier

      Thanks for your input, Peter. That’s very true: they are many young people passionate and involved in agriculture. They only need more resources. (#1) It has indeed been much emphasized in the past that they need access to finance, particularly. “We need to enable them financially”, you say. Who is the “WE”? WHAT can “WE” do concretely for this to happen? What can YOU do towards this, and with the support of WHO? Thanks a lot!

      • Sokhna Rokhaya

        Just by the same way as Marina, “they are many young people passionate and involved in agriculture”. I say YES, but not enough! So, what can WE ( the young already involved in agric, in this case) do to show to youth that there are opportunities in agric? Those who have not a current employment tell that “We want to act in agriculture but we don’t know how and we have not any resources for starting up”. We must highlight success stories of young people in agric. It’s very important and it can be a declic for many youg people (# 2)

        And we need to understand where the needs of young people are heavier and need to be taken seriously! And WE must raise our voices and be heard and understood by Donors and agricultural stakeholders

        Donors have to work directly with young people without government. We need to get donors to work closely with young people but they will need to be convinced by young people, then WE have to be the voices of young

        Agricultural banks are often not accessible to young people. It is then necessary to create micro credit bank for youth.# 1

      • Sokhna Rokhaya

        C’est toujours
        “Nous” dans tous les speech des décideurs. Le “Nous” se
        dissipe juste après le speech, on ne sait plus qui c’est. Toute la question est
        maintenant sur le Comment? Le constat général que l’on a eu à faire dans nos
        pays est que les financements pour le développement agricole sont généralement
        gérés en partenariat avec nos gouvernements. Meme si la composante jeune est
        prise en compte dans les accords de financement, la réalité est souvent
        différente sur le terrain. Les jeunes n’ont pas accès à l’information sur les
        possibilités de financement existantes. et puis les jeunes ont l’habitude de
        dire “Rien n’est sûr avec les gouvernements”. Afin de supporter les
        jeunes dans leur engagement dans l’agric il faut s’adresser aux jeunes directement
        et mettre à leur disposition les moyens financiers dont ils ont besoin. Saisir
        les organisations de jeunes, déceler là où les besoins des jeunes sont dans les
        chaines de valeur agric et là où leurs compétences peuvent avoir un impact
        positif; les former, les responsabiliser et les laisser aller vers les autres
        jeunes. S’assurer de la bonne circulation des informations. Il faut faire
        confiance aux jeunes et leur donner la chance d’aller loin en agric et pour
        cela, la coopération doit etre directe. je pense aussi qu’il faut savoir créer des start
        up pour les jeunes afin de permettre une possibilité de génération de revenus.
        Les jeunes ont effectivement peur parce qu’ils ne savent par où et par quel
        fonds commencer

  • Supaporn Panwaree

    Refer to No.2 A case from MaeTha community in ChiangMai,Northern of Thailand. 5 MaeTha youth leaders tried to do organic farming same with their parents but they try to find difference way to market. They use CSA (Community supported Agriculture) direct customer in ChiangMai city. My point is develop agriculture, integrate knowledge and find alternative way. And when I asked MaeTha community leader what do you think about “sustainable”? He said sustainable for him it’s mean has next generation to inherit.

    And refer to No.3 One area of my project tried to do local curriculum with community leaders and school. Lesson learned for project must work with youth since they were young because when they grow up to teenager they will have many interesting points to do (some will out of control) so start cultivate since they were young.

    Challenge for my work is how to prepare and strengthening youth to inherit from their adult for sustainable forest management (Community forest). So now my project help to create a space for target youth group to share and learn together.

    • Marina Cherbonnier

      Thanks, Supaporn for this feedback from Thailand! #2 So, do young people actually enjoy working in organic farming? #3 So, your point would be that agriculture should be taught at early stages, to children. Is that correct? This came up a lot on previous discussions as well. Does it ensure that young people migrate less to cities – I wonder? They may know how to farm, but do they like it more? # On your third point, do you face inter-generational challenges? Which kind of challenges do you face exactly? Is it that parents don’t want or don’t have the time to prepare the youth? Or else?

      • Supaporn Panwaree

        #2 Sure, because they can get income and stay at home with family. More happy and take their life with self sufficient. (attach photo from MaeTha youth group)

        #3 Not only agriculture but include natural resource, social, local knowledge,etc. Young people will be know themselves and their community. Some of them will go to cities we can’t take all of them stay in the community. But we can prepare some knowledge and create ties with the community for them. Example from BanThungyao, Lamphun province Northern,Thailand. They had local curriculum: rice farming for young people in secondary school. Now 2-3 people with 38 yrs old they returned to the community after work in factory to do rice farming and assist support the community. Anyhow it can’t happen if not support from their family and community. And for this community they had strong commitment together to keep their land not to sale for outsiders.

        For third point I mean they want some technical support/methods/process to work with youth because for parents generation and youth generation it has a gap. So how we prepare them to take meaningful responsibility in their communities and balance technology and local knowledge?

        • Marina Cherbonnier

          #2 that’s great to know! We hear some much of the opposite – young people always wanting more and more etc #3 another good point about people actually returning to rural areas and to farming/natural resources management activities! You also point out a critical issue :giving up lands to outsiders and the role of the community to protect it! Good point! This, to me, reflects how the whole rural harmony impacts the natural resources sector’s development, (at the opposite of some other perspectives where job creation is stressed as impacting the livelihoods) – it may be a two ways thing. Third point: right, it does make sense – the challenge of obsolete information and techniques and WHO could feel this gap. Good question. Anyone to propose an answer to this? (I’ll highlight the question on our different social media channels as well)

  • christine navalayo

    No.3 involve all the stakeholders (students, farmers,agro-dealers, researchers and policy makers)in the education sector to help come up with a curriculum/syllabus the is all inclusive through workshops,seminars, conferences and other interactive sessions so that all are on the same platform for real change to be experienced int he agricultural sector.

  • OMOSEHIN OLAMILEKAN

    So sad, in the west African region where we have great Agricultural potential and wonderful youth strength, an ever growing market for food….Unbelievable, we still have an education curriculum teaching our teenagers ;lack of? inadequate….., No. The governments must first look at policies that lure the teenagers to love Agriculture,help them practices what they have loved… I tell you, knowledge will increase. For professionals already in the field, Radical extension approach is required….lets tell the teenage population about the beauty of Agriculture and landscape sciences.

    • Marina Cherbonnier

      Hi Omosehin, thanks for your input. How can we (you, me, us, particularly young people themselves) can influence these activities you raise as solution for better involvement of young people in natural resources sector? Any concrete idea?

  • Marina Cherbonnier

    Merci Sokhna, plein de bon points ici. ” Afin de supporter les
    jeunes dans leur engagement dans l’agric il faut s’adresser aux jeunes directement et mettre à leur disposition les moyens financiers dont ils ont besoin” – QUI exactement doit s’ adresser aux jeunes? De la meme facon, qui doit les aider a se responsabiliser, et comment? Qui doit sássurer de la bonne circulation de l’info et comment? Qui pour les aider a creer des start-up? Qui pour les aider a prendre confiance et savoir par ou commencer? Essayons dáller plus loin dans la définition du “il faut”/ “we”. On avance; merci!

    • Sokhna Rokhaya

      La maïeutique socratique!
      Parfaitement d’accord avec toi Marina! Dans ce contexte, je m’adresse aux bailleurs de fonds, aux institutions financieres, aux décideurs!
      Mais il faut savoir aussi que Qui? renvoie aux jeunes aussi. En effet, les jeunes qui ont eu du succès en agric sont ceux qui doivent etre au devant de la scène pour 2raisons: 1. Montrer aux décideurs, bailleurs… qu’ils peuvent avoir confiance en la volonté des jeunes et leur engagement et leur dévouement pour assurer le développement agricole 2. S’adresser aux jeunes et leur montrer que c’est possible de réussir en agric.
      Pour les start up: les jeunes leaders, les décideurs, les institutions financieres.
      Comment? A travers le social networking, les compétitions, les bourses de recherches et les subventions.
      Pour la bonne circulation de l’info, les plateformes de jeunes à l’exemple de Ypard doivent s’assurer d’abord dune bonne accessibilité linguistique

      • Marina Cherbonnier

        🙂 +1! Je ne suis pas sure de voir quelle serait la démarche concrete pour sensibiliser les inst. financieres, bailleurs de fonds etc cependant. Comment ouvrir le dialogue avec eux et sássurer quíls prennent acte? Jái l’impression que beaucoup de potentiels supporters sont dáccord avec l’idee que les jeunes ont besoin de support, mais ils ne prennent pas d’engagement pour autant. Comment assurer des actions concretes de leur part? Oui, tu as totalement raison, YPARD et dáutres plateformes devraient assurer des services otpimaux au moins en francais et espagnole en plus de lánglais. Le manque de resources (humaines et financieres) est un frein a cela.

        • Sokhna Rokhaya

          Je pense qu’il faut absolument que les jeunes leaders fassent le premier pas. Pour ouvrir le dialogue, nous jeunes, devons avoir le tact et l’intelligence de nous approcher de ces bailleurs et le courage de leur proposer des actions concretes et d’assurer le suivi de ces contacts. Young leaders have to be pro active!!!!
          Par ailleurs, dis tu que “le manque de ressources humaines est un frein en cela”. Comment pallier ce manque?

          • Marina Cherbonnier

            Totalement d’accord avec toi! “le tact et l’intelligence” – quén est-il a’ce sujet? Est-ce quelque chose dont les jeunes font preuve ou est-ce un savoir-être quíl leur faut développer? Et comment? Ah, tres bonne question… le volontariat, les stages sont une chose mais je crois que pour des coordinations propres de larges groupes, il faut du plein temps, et qui dit plein temps, dit probablement finances… On en revient donc a la recherche de financement qui en soit est un lourd travail… A moins de générer du revenu, mais est-ce possible via les activités dún réseau professionel? Qu’en penses-tu?

  • Marina Cherbonnier

    #2 Thumbs up! Any idea on innovative ways or impactful ways to go beyond our current “showcase of success stories”? Any idea on how we can raise our voice with more effective impact? #1 How can we influence the creation of microt credit tailored for the youth?

    • Courtney Paisley

      Also agreed Rokhaya! Trying to get these messages heard on a much wider and mainstream level is what we need. This is where we need some young communications experts to give us additional insight! Working across different areas of expertise will help us strengthen this. Any communicators out there with additional suggestions?

  • NGOUAMBE

    Good day to all participants on this important
    discussion. All those preceding me have rise up valuable information on youth
    issue in agriculture or landscape. The good practices from Maetha (Thailand),
    the passion in agriculture y Marina or advocacy emphasized by Keron finally the
    financial institution present by Rakeem.

    Based on these previous examples, I want to put
    more emphasis on practical example carried out in Cameroon to answer three questions.

    Question
    1:

    Youth and women are those whose benefit less
    from some keys rural services that could lead them improves their potential in
    agricultural sector. They lack access to land, finance, extension and advisory
    services). They best way to improve agricultural productivity is to invest most
    in this sector or those (young and
    women) producing more than 70% of food production have no means to invest in
    their agri-business. So I think that to facilitate financial investment,
    partnership (private-private) among young professionals must be encouraged.
    They have to work together by organizing themselves into cooperatives societies
    or small and medium enterprises. Sustainable and valuable project must be
    elaborate. Finally public policy must consider all these aspects.

    For example in Cameroon Ministry of youth has
    various project which gives some facilitation to young people to access finance
    for their activities. We can count for example the « Projet d’appui aux
    jeunes exploitants ruraux et urbains-PAJER-U (Project supporting young
    farmers in rural and urban areas» . in this project, Youth educate or not are trained to small
    agri-business enterprises. After 3-6 months of training, all are asked to
    present a business plan of their project for funding. In, most case all those
    who are trained got access to finance. The National employment funds with other
    micro finance institution are responsible for funding.

    We can also present the “Projet d’insertion et
    d’Appui aux jeunes agriculteurs –PIAJA (Project for insertion and support to
    young farmers) carried out by ministry of agriculture. Where all young farmers who have at least
    land properties or properties certificates can submit their project for
    funding. In the same vision this ministerial department also has“Projet de
    développement de la microfinance rural –PADMIR (Project for the development of
    rural micro-finance) who support small micro-finance institution working with
    young farmers in rural areas.

    Question 2:

    To tackle negative perception, more investment
    should be oriented in agricultural sector. But also, all government should
    define the main status of farmers. “Farmer” must be considered as profession
    with its deontology. Value-chain must be better organized with operational
    inter-professionals organization. If all
    these are done, people will know that agricultural sector offer more business
    and employment opportunities. These can let them more involve.

    Question 3:

    Due to changing context (climate change, food
    insecurity, poverty, etc) couple with transformation of agriculture, there is
    not a good adequacy between the actual curricula and the basic need for
    economic growth. Reform should start at basic level even in primary school.
    Young pupils have to know tat agriculture is the key sector of economy, that
    agriculture is the only sector able to feed the whole population. “

    In Cameroon thee are specific school which
    train young people of primary school to agriculture production. At the end of
    their training they hold living certificate, baccalaureate in agriculture,
    agro-forestry ect… some private institution like Soughtout Cameroon trained
    pupil from primary school to food security strategy and biogas production with
    household waste.

    A program for renovation of agriculture
    professional training (AFOP) experienced since two years new agriculture skills
    for rural extension and advisory services. So this year the first batch of agro
    pastoral advisor and agro pastoral technician was setting up. All the three
    students I supervised are now operates as project manager in medium agriculture
    enterprise in Cameroon.

    This kind of renovation and change in curricula
    need a lot of time and financial means to be reality. Cameroon thanks this
    performance to French Development Agency (AFD).

    • Marina Cherbonnier

      Thanks, Ngouambe for all these very relevant and positive examples that show that things do happen for supporting the youth – and can be replicated. Do you have some key challenges to raise, on which the youth (and possible supporters) should carry on working, for more empowerment and capacity?

      • ngouambe

        Marina,I think there is some challenges on which we should working on. Youth curricula at basic level, land reform is not always benefiting to youth. some have their project but lack land to put their ideas into concrete action. implementing of ICT is other major challenge for rural youth. because lack of infrastructure do not facilitate their acess to this milestone technology. it is not easy for them to be widely connected with all stakeholders (investor, trader, consumer etc….). if w can get concrete solution to these challenge, Young professionnals can express their fill potential for food security, poverty alluviation, in brief transforming Africa Agriculture.

        • Marina Cherbonnier

          Thanks Ngouambe; good additional points! Now the question is what can be the concrete solutions to tackle these challenges;what can we do?

          • we young farmer must first organize ourselve. Networking, information sharing, can let our voice rise up. it is easy for financial institution for example to trust a group insteal an individual. it is the same for policy makers, it is possible for them to take into account the similar problems of an organized person than individual. in fine if a group of young have the same need for example in capacity building, decision mahers can easily revising the academic curricula on agricultural sector. That is why I appreciate for example the Agripreneur project emplimented in Botswana college of Agriculture for 4th year student where the can get fund to finance their business plan elaborate as their graduation project.

  • Prince Wilondja

    Through different activities, youth can be involved in natural resources sector, Vocational training, community work, Biodiversity conservation field, Environmental Conservation activities, trees planting activities> You can see the activities that we are leading in DRCongo to involve young people in natural resources sector.

    • Marina Cherbonnier

      Prince, you seem to have a very relevant example here of how the youth can get in involved in landscapes sector. Would you like to give us more information through a blog post that we could post on landscapes.org? If so, please do write to us at info@ypard.net

  • Prince Wilondja

    Through différents activities youth can contribute in the field of Natural resources, here you can find how we are involving youth in the sector of natural resource in DRCongo.

  • Prince Wilondja

    Jeunes Volontaires de Grands Lacs pour l’Environnement is working with indigenous youth for Biodiversity conservation, environmental management. You can play a key role in natural resources sector if politics engage them through training, finance support and policies that promote the youth participation in the national life.

    • Marina Cherbonnier

      Thanks Prince. Let me quote you: “You can play a key role in natural resources sector if politics engage
      them through training, finance support and policies that promote the
      youth participation in the national life.” Agreed. How do we solicit politics to offer these opportunities you mention to the youth?

      • Prince Wilondja

        Marina, thank you for quote. We must consider the notion of accountability in the process. Youth are the important pillar of the society, then young people have the right for education for their development. We must organize and unite as one person to claim our rights and contribute to the implementation of some policies in advantage on youth. Youth can lead some projects, contact the local representatives who are at the parliament and who interact with politics also their are editing laws and policies that can impact on youth development. Young people must interact and collaborate with parliamentarians to influence politics.
        Young people must be corporate in ‘press ion group’ to influence their participation in local politic and development. To create partnership with several networks that can support their causes at the high level. Today youth are active in different spheres of the national life,have skills and energy to bring the change in partnership with elders for the change that they wish to see in the community. This is my contribution for the topic my Marina.

        • Marina Cherbonnier

          Thanks, Prince, and it is a very good one! 🙂 Is what you describe here i.e youth liaising with parliament, what is happening in your country? Thanks, that’s very inspiring and down-to-earth!

          • prince wilondja

            Particularly in DRCongo, young people are a component for local election, for accountability for their votes, young people must be in permanent relation with their parliamentarians for the policy definition for the youth participation in the public affair and the development.

        • Thank prince for this good example. I agree that youth must organized themselves and work together with parliament. what we observed in our Continent is not good to say concerning the managment of our parliamentarians. in my Country, each parliament have a total annual budget of 10 000 USD to sponsor local project in his/her locality. but after 5 years, we count no project implemented amoung the many one submitted as proposal. for me, i thing the best thing to do is to be autonomous, because today within the government, politic blind policy.

  • Swapna Gogineni

    #3

    Make a beginning somewhere

    The current education system in India appears to have failed
    in its ability to reform human behavior and failed to achieve its objective.

    Literacy levels have increased but still there are so many
    people in India that cannot read and write. They are exploited and underpaid
    and live a hand to mouth existence. On the other hand those who can manage to
    get their children educated have turned them into competitive machines that
    need to produce grades. The focus now is on quantity and not quality.

    There has to be a fundamental change in the way educators
    and parents perceive education. The focus should be to install healthy competition
    and concentrate on quality rather than quantity. The subjects that are taught
    should focus on practical applications rather than mere theoretical concepts. Children should be taught about solar energy, water conservation, eco-friendly concepts and entrepreneurship as subjects (part of extra-curricular activities) and in rural areas where agriculture is the main occupation children should be made aware of better farming practices.

    The governments concept that every child under the age of 14 should get free education has remained only a concept in reality there are no schools that put this concept to practice, there are no proper schools, teachers, basic amenities like toilets, school books and free meal a day scheme to attract children to school ends up in the hands of people who mend money out of it.

    The government’s with all their rot have failed I think all the corporates should come together and allocate a few days in a month to this kind of development activities where each employ can pick his area of interest from a set of assigned activities and educate an identified group so that at least these groups learn to read and write. Private schools should make it a point to at least include a few children from rural areas and provide them free education.

    We will have to make a beginning somewhere.

    • Marina Cherbonnier

      Thanks Swapna, for the insights. How can we – young people – make this change in term of perception on education, content of curricula and support from different stakeholders? How do we bring forward the number of ideas discussed here in this e-discussions into concrete actions?

      • Swapna Gogineni

        From the corporates point of view the NGO’s that work with
        educating children and people living in rural areas have to work together in approaching the multinationals and roping them into action. Similarly from the schools point of view the study boards should be roped in to make it mandatory for all private schools to adopt a few kids and provide free schooling. There are many groups working independently in a small way but if somehow we can bring these groups together to work together as a team in collaboration then at
        least we can make a beginning. It is easier said than done but not impossible.

    • BLONDEL SILENOU

      I do this by first involvement in this exchange forum, I salute all the artisans of development that invest here.
      the financial mobilization is a thorn that prevents the emancipation and development of youth resourare for this problem it is important for us young people to reunite us around platform through which we will present the strategic plans and clear business plan and measurable. these plans are carried efficient actions. but for this we need the support and training necessary

  • Ariel

    How can we take concrete actions to improve youth access to finance?

    Hi to all of you! I may appreciate the richness of the contributions here which is due to their interdisciplinarity! I am agree with you Marina, when you highlight this real problem of access to finance and alia. Few years ago, we were talking about the way to involve youth in different sectors of development in the broad sense, but especially in agriculture. I have to say that thanks to the actions of various networks and differents NGOs on the ground, there is a sort of rise in conscience among youth which is now willing to transform their ideas in concrete start-up! According to my personal experience and what I see in my area, we need to improve our use of ICTs and get updates about funding opportunities for us, and then to check which of them are suitable for us or are consistent with our vision and goals. Having said this, this is not the first key to be explored. The marginalized youth is largely the rural youth, including youth of rural exodus, which for instance cannot access easily to ICTs because of the lack in their areas and/or the incapacity of use when it is available. My predecessors in their comments mention the need to call upon international organizations and Governments in some cases, but that is where the debate is! How will a Government facilitate youth access to finance, knowing that it has not even established a national youth policy in order to identify its priorities!

    I think that there is an urgent need to advocate for this policy issue at national level. And while waiting the ins and outs of this matter, we should simultaneously ensure young people to strenghten their capacities in use of ICTs.

    • Courtney Paisley

      Hi Ariel, Thanks for your comments. Reaching rural youth and ensuring their access to finance is a big issue and one that not many countries could say they have managed to do effectively. A youth policy, as you mention, is an important start, in at least creating the political will, which could then be followed by specific programming. Advocating for strong youth policies is something that youth can take on. They can mobilise themselves, find out who to contact and start writing letters, emails and making appointments with members of parliament. A mechanism for doing so would be useful. We have YPARD and could see a good policy advocate organisation to partner with – FANRPAN in Africa and others. What are your thoughts?

      • Ariel

        Hi Courtney, many thanks for your reesponse! What you have mentioned is pretty right! I am now working on an essay of such mechanism where I am advocating for the elaboration of a new youth policy in my country, Benin. Your suggestion linked to YPARD and partnership with FANPRAN for calling up that shift will be far more useful. We may raise a global campaign through YPARD’s world-wide networks to call for an action of advocating for strong or/and new youth policies everywhere it is needed!

  • Change in curricula must beggin at primary school, young children must deal with agricultural reality as far as they grows. Young of today will be the leader of tommorrow and at that moment they can be able to propose good agri policy that meet the basic need of its population.

    • Marina Cherbonnier

      Hi Ngouambe, thanks for your input. Please don’t forget to mention the issue you are referring to and suggest some hints on HOW this can be put in place (who to take part, how etc). Thanks

      • Thank Marina!
        This refer to #3 in response to how we can really get youth involve in agriculture sector? Because reform must start at primary level especially at basic education. This is what I am trying to present.

        • Marina Cherbonnier

          Thanks, Ngouambe. Your point is that to get youth involved in agriculture, educational reform would need to include courses related to agriculture at primary level/in basic education. Others, can you tell us what you think about this idea? If this is validated, what can we – as young professionals – do towards this? Let’s not forget that our focus is young professionals’ empowerment and their key role in agricultural development. We had some YPARD members that went promoting agriculture to young people by highlighting the benefit of the sector, for example, and by telling about their own “success” in the sector. Should this be replicated? What more for a true impact?

  • Enhancing youth voice’s in Agricultural Research for development in Cameroon

    Last june 29th, Young Cameroonian decided to meet in
    national youth Council bureau to reflect on two issues: Are we making most for
    youth issue in Agricultural Research for Development for Cameroon emergence by
    2035? And are youths involved within the strategic policy for agriculture and
    rural development? This consultation was facilitated by YPARD-Cameroon team.

    read more here: http://agrotic4dev.blogspot.com/2013/10/enhancing-youth-voices-in-agricultural.html

    • Raheem McMalembo

      Incredible..i suggest to partner with me or our Organization to conduct in my previous University of Agriculture in Tanzania after finishing in Cameroon.

      • OK Raheem, I have no objection to partner with you. I am just waiting for you when you will be ready.
        Best

        • Raheem McMalembo

          urgently after finishing in Cameroon, are you individual or organization?

          • I cannot say that I am individual, because this was done in preparation of YPARD-Cameroon activities with my team. or YPARD is not a formal organization but a network or plateform operating formally.

            PS: I am also member and founder of various organizations

        • Raheem McMalembo

          i did not get your last reply write here: lenecorgz@gmail.com

  • Raheem McMalembo

    Can we change the youth negative perspective on Agriculture,how?

    • John Rohit

      Promoting ICT among rural youth through final year agriculture under graduates students. In INDIAN State Agriculture Universities during final year of course work, we undergo village stay program (RAWEP-Rural Awareness Work Experience Programme). During this programme, ICT should be used as a powerful tool by the graduates to enlighten the rural youth on opportunities in agriculture. “Youth influencing Youth”. I feel this as the one best way.

      • Marina Cherbonnier

        Thanks John! My fear sometimes is that by promoting “too much” ICTs among the youth they strictly focus on ICTs-related careers and forget about all the other cool aspects of the ag. sector. Land management, Science and research, policy debates and strategies etc. What is your feeling about this? Would that be possible that promoting ICTs have their pros and cons in line of promoting agriculture and its broad diversity of jobs/activities? In addition, do you think efforts on promoting agriculture should be rather delivered through local/national activities or global activities; or both on a 50-50 share?

  • Priyanka

    This is in response to#2…introducing agriculture in the schools curriculum as an individual subject and making the children understand the importance and scope of pursuing a career in agriculture would provide a fillip to the involvement of people in agriculture all over the world and not only in rural areas…