YPARD is glad to welcome a new Steering Committee member: Sithembile Ndema Mwamakamba. Sithembile is a young international development professional with experience in policy advocacy, agriculture development, poverty reduction, youth development and gender mainstreaming.
Sithembile coordinates the Food Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis (FANRPAN) Youth and Gender Programme, aimed at developing a holistic agriculture policy framework in Africa to support youth and women. She is responsible for maintaining and managing a knowledge base on evolving issues on youth and women farmers and agriculture in Africa as well as within the global context.
She is also responsible for identifying advocacy platforms and opportunities where trained women farmers and youth can engage with policy-makers and advocate for better policies. Between 2012 and 2014 she coordinated ten country case studies on current and emerging youth policies and initiatives with a focus on links to agriculture. She led a team of young agriculture champions in advocating for member states to build strong youth-centred policies, programmes and projects.
Sithembile has experience with program design, strategy, programmatic reporting, monitoring & evaluation, facilitation, advocacy, and social media. She has a strong focus on agriculture and smallholder farmers throughout Sithembile has experience working with and building partnerships among a range of stakeholders across government, UN agencies, private sector, NGOs, and academic institutions.
She has spoken at major youth conferences and events including the Inaugural Youth Session at the Global Landscapes Forum in Warsaw, Poland, the Food Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Youth in Agriculture Side Event at the African Green Revolution Forum in Arusha, Tanzania, the Young People, Farming & Food: International conference on the future of the agrifood sector in Africa in Accra, Ghana and she delivered the first ever youth statement at the 8th Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) Partnership Platform, Nairobi, Kenya.
She had been co-opted as an adviser on a number of organisational youth strategy development processes including the 2013 YPARD External Review and Strategy Development, the CTA Strategic Youth Stakeholder Workshop and the COMESA Gender and Youth consultations. Sithembile is also an ambassador of the One Young World Southern Africa chapter having participated in the first ever One Young World Conference in London.
When asked what´s her message to youth within the agricultural sector, Sithembile doesn’t hesitate in responding: “If we want our voices to be heard in policy spaces we need to speak up, after all the future is ours!”
Having Sithembile in YPARD Steering Committee is invaluable for strengthening the strategic directions of the Platform. It is particularly a chance to expand the network and YPARD’s partnerships in Africa. Warm welcome, Sithembile!