’’It finally came true’’, these were the words I said to myself as the activities of the day ended. Over the past months myself and another YPARD member in Kogi State Nigeria: Apeh Omede who happens to also be a staff at Kogi State University in the Department of Animal Production, had planned a YPARD Awareness with the support of YPARD Country representative for Nigeria and Africa Coordinator.
This awareness was critically needed as, expressed by Apeh Omede, the students were having a lack of interest in agriculture and some have attempted to switch to other course of study.
Aside this, the students needed more enlightenment on the benefits of becoming an agriculturist and the “how” they can use ICT tools like social media to develop themselves in the field of agriculture in terms of access to information and research.
And so, on the 6th of February, 2013, 246 students gathered together at the Lecture theatre of the Faculty of Agriculture, Kogi State University to attend the YPARD Awareness.
Interestingly, there are three agriculture based bodies in the institution, namely:
- The Nigerian Association of Agricultural Student (NAAS),
- International Association of Agricultural and Related Sciences Student (IAAS) which has the West Africa Director as a student of the faculty and
- The Agricultural Students Voluntary Club (ASVC), an indigenous student organisation founded by an alumnus of the institution.
All these bodies came together under the supervision and direction of Apeh Omede to mobilize the students to attend and be part of the awareness.
The activities of the day covered a presentation on the objectives of YPARD network and how membership of the network can be optimized. Special emphasis was placed on the need not to just sign-up but instead be active members online or on the ground. The students were encouraged to follow up on activities of other YPs in the region and worldwide by joining the Facebook groups and following the twitter handle of the YPARD. A representative of the Dean of the faculty was also present to employ the youths to take seriously the benefits of being part of a global network like that of YPARD.
An open forum was also held on the theme “How can the agriculture be promoted, marketed and made attractive as a viable career for young people?”. Here are some of the ideas of the youths:
- Moses Amos – “Farmers should be well recognized and respected in the society, thus making agriculture a respectable career by the young people”
- Abuh Enema –“I will advice enlightenment programs in Agriculture and also a need to desist from discrimination of those who practice agriculture”
- Abdulrahman Sejimatu – “Government support, enlightenment and knowing successful stories of other young people in agriculture despite the challenges would help’’
After a short break, the students enjoyed a two hours session on how they can use Social Media in their work as agriculturists. This session, the students really enjoyed too as it seemed new to majority of them.
In all, the outing was a beneficial one. Right before the activities for the day ended, the few that had internet enabled phones had signed up on the YPARD website while others sent requests to join both the YPARD and YPARD Nigeria facebook groups.
The future is bright for these young people .They did appreciate the new enlightenment they got and we hope that we see more of them join the network as active members in the coming weeks and months. We also look forward to having a Local group and representative from the institution as this is being worked on.
In the meantime, arrangement would be made for collaborations at local levels to have programs and project carried out by the local group of the institution in partnership with the other agricultural bodies in the institution.
You can view more pictures from the event on this album of the YPARD awareness.