The Young Professionals' Platform for Agricultural Research for Development (YPARD), as a global community, has given particular attention to promote youth in agriculture from its establishment. Last week on 25 April 2013, YPARD has organized a seminar entitled YPARD Awareness Campaign (YAC) in collaboration with Agriculture and Forestry University (AFU) at Chitwan, Nepal where a total 113 undergraduate students were actively participating.
AFU is a newly formed agriculture university in Nepal. Recently from this March, it has started Bachelor level of academics in Agriculture and Veterinary Science at Rampur, Chitwan, Nepal with taking 110 students in agriculture and 40 in veterinary science. YPARD takes advantage of an increasingly ICTs savvy young generation to share opportunities and disseminate information on agricultural development. Fortunately, this seminar became the first event in AFU with all interested students and academic professionals to gather and sharing of information at a single place.
YAC has been designed with the thought of promoting YPARD in Nepalese universities. Moreover the objective is to build a students' network among different agricultural universities in Nepal to organize further programs that follow YPARD’s strategic objectives and look at building upon the movement within the country. Earlier in December 2012, YAC has successfully completed its activities in all three branches of Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science under Tribhuvan University and Himalayan College of Science and Technology under Purbanchal University.
The total 90 minutes session of YAC comprised discussions on Knowledge Sharing Online and YPARD Cafe. A participant enrolled in her first semester in agricultural studies, Swikriti Pandey has expressed her opinion as “well, I got several informative points from seminar and it made me energized in the field of ICTs and ARD. The session has provided good information on internet browsing, more precisely on the use of different web applications and websites related to agricultural academics, the use of social media in agriculture along with the vision of YPARD”. Another student, Suresh Nepali has also made his comment as “we will be grateful on sharing of scope and opportunities in agriculture education from YPARD in coming days.”
A lecturer from AFU, Nirajan Bhattarai stated that “such kind of capacity building presentation is not only benefitting the students but also the academic professionals.” Since day by day, there are technical advancements in the world, it depends on us how much we are familiar with them. “There are some professors who requested get their email ID handled by other staffs or students. There are senior people with highly experienced knowledge in their respective sector that show hesitations that hinder them from using recent technologies and who are limited in getting updates in their sectors”, Bhattarai added.
Similarly the Director of Continuum Education Center, Dr. Mohan Sharma said, “though we are in very early phase of newly formed university, we are trying to include more recent ICT applications in our course curriculum. Since these are tools which make easy our academic life, I will appreciate such kind of presentations from YPARD in the future too”.
The university is very new and the entire infrastructure has not been established in optimized manner. Even more there is no good connection to internet access. So I opted for members registration by tracking of on the website and on-the-ground members through an excel sheet. I am very much satisfied with post event analysis. There is a highly increase of users of YPARD’s website, facebook group and facebook page. Similarly they are more familiar with social media in these days and are regularly in touch with me regarding discussions on YPARD for the development of future strategic programs in AFU.
Currently YPARD is calling for applications from interested students of AFU to become Local Representative (LR). If you are up to 40 years old and active in the field of agriculture, please send a letter of motivation at firstname.lastname@example.org before 10 May 2013. The selected three students will have an opportunity to work with YPARD and they will be trained about how to conduct activities from local level. After this selection, we are going to make a national wide networking with different stakeholders from the agricultural sectors. We welcome your own ideas and initiatives. YPARD is YOUR community!
I would like to thank Dr. I. P Dhakal, Dr. Dilli Ram Baral, Dr. Mohan Sharma, Dr. Sunila Rai, Mr. Bishnu Raj Ojha and Mr. Nirajan Bhattrai for their kind support to organizing the program at AFU. Similarly thanks to Dinesh Adhikari, Jiwan Pandey and YPARD regional and global team especially Courtney, Marina, Bi, Shridhar, Olawale for their motivation and continuous advices.
Picture courtesy: Jiwan Pandey