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Journey from Social Media to Youth Empowerment

Dinesh Panday receiving GCARD2 Social Reporting trainee's certificate

“The Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD) has been created to promote effective, targeted investment and build partnership, capacities and mutual accountabilities at all levels of the agricultural system so as to ensure that today’s agricultural research will meet the needs of the resource-poor end user.”

As history, GCARD1 was held in March 2010 (France) which focused on Enhancing Development Impact from Research and GCARD2 in November 2012 (Uruguay) for Delivering the Change. This year in April 2016, GCARD3 will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa by focusing on Shaping the Future of Agriculture Together.

In 2012, I got opportunity to participate in GCARD2 as Social Reporter which was managed by Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) under the financial support of Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR). There were more than 25 young social reporters, guided by Peter Casier in 2 days intensive training of social media and social reporting. I am still remembering my first blogpost from GCARD2, Farmers’ cooperation: Successful story of cattle farming in Uruguay.

After the training, the participants took off on-site with blogging, tweeting, facebooking, flickring, and more, all in order to share the outcomes of the GCARD2 with the world and include more people in the discussions. During opening ceremony, GCARD2 Social Media Team received their Certificate from H.E. Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries, Tabaré Aguerre and we were also invited in a private meeting with the Uruguayan President, the Honorable, Jose Mujica.

Additionally, I got opportunity to meet representatives of the YPARD in GCARD2. Hearing about YPARD’s aims and objectives, I immediately decided to join. I highly appreciate its effort to link young agricultural professionals together, provide information, show the many opportunities existing in agricultural development, share the success stories of young role models and encourage young people to become more involved in agriculture. I grew up in family with a long history in agriculture. My parents and grandparents, who are still engaged in both subsistence and commercial agriculture, introduced me to this art and science of survival since my childhood.

As result, I started to work as Nepal representative, and focused my activities to promote agriculture among youths in different Nepalese universities through series of workshops, seminars and awareness programs in 2012 and 2013. Besides regional activities, we also organized many national level events, such as, YPARD Nepal Family Farming Photo Contest in 2014 and National Youth Forum on Agro-based Entrepreneurship Development in 2015.

Currently, we are running EduMala Mentorship Program in support of very dynamic working team members which objective is to share information about coordination, negotiation, management and develop interpersonal skills among young professionals, those who are directly engaged with YPARD Nepal activities.

For myself, GCARD2 Social Media Training was a very strong foundation to keep my willingness forward. After that I have been continuously engaging in global events like, #AASW6, #GLFCOP19, #WCA2014, #GLFCOP20, # Forests2015, #GLFCOP21, etc. through my social channels. Also, I am implementing those lesson learned in YPARD Nepal activities and always more than happy to share among new comers who are passionate in youth and agriculture.

Developing countries like, Nepal where poverty, unemployment and youth migration are more dominant among other problems. I believe, youth are primary conduit of development since young people are open-minded attitude to technology and their different perspective, vision and motivation can contribute to practical solutions. However, when we are talking about empowering today’s youth, it is also equally important to remember that a significant portion of today’s farmers are not youth and women’s role in agriculture is often unrecognized.

So for tackling bigger concerns of economic boost, self-employment, entrepreneurship, sustainability and societal wellbeing, we need to think of adding more innovative terms next to the word ‘Agri’, such as Agri-preneurs, Agri-business, and so on… by keeping youth and women as central attraction for agricultural development to ensure better rural futures. Our foresight needs to strengthening rural areas and creating diversification of the rural economy and fostering rural-urban connections. Innovative thought is needed indeed and I hope #GCARD3 will cover these issues to ensure no one leave behind!

This blog post is part of the GCARD3 Youth blogpost applications. The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.

Photo Credit: Bernardo/ GCARD Conference