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Call for applicants - YPARD country representatives for the European region

YPARD Europe is seeking young, innovative and fresh spirited professionals to take on the role of a Country Representatives (CR) and continue its work on enabling and empowering young agricultural leaders shaping sustainable food systems. In this call, we are looking for young people specifically from:

  • Netherlands
  • Germany
  • Portugal
  • Austria
  • Spain

In case you are from another country of the European region and we do not have this country chapter (See the list of active chapters here), you can also send us your application (according to the instructions below) and we can discuss opening a new country chapter.

Being a CR is a unique opportunity for you to be more active with fellow young professionals in agricultural and related fields in the European region as well as with the global YPARD network.

We would also like to explore ways to start a new YPARD chapter in your country. Here are some initial insights on how one becomes more active with YPARD. This would be a great opportunity for you to become active with fellow young agricultural professionals in your country as well as with the global YPARD network.

As a country representative, you will have the chance to:

  • To lead initiatives that enable you to work to improve young people's perception of agriculture in your country  
  • Help young professionals to reach their full potential in agricultural development by being the voice of YPARD and represent the members of the community in your country.
  • Have a useful tool for your future aspirations in the working field by being the YPARD country representative
  • Have the opportunity to travel abroad 
  • Have a great asset for your CV as YPARD connected to SDC, GFAR and FAO and many other partner organizations (our partners)
  • Have the chance to connect/ get to know other YPARD members - not just at the European level but also globally                                                                                                               
  • Contribute to agricultural development in your country and Europe
  • Have a link with YPARD partners (see list of partners HERE)

This is a voluntary position that will not interfere with your day-to-day activities. You will have full support from the YPARD Europe and Global team. 

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Announcing the new YPARD representation in the EFARD management team

In a bid to ensure a diverse representation of young people in various executive meetings and committees YPARD has nominated Bledar Meta, YPARD Albania country representative as the new YPARD Representative in the new European Forum on Agricultural Research for Development (EFARD) management team.

What is the European Forum on Agricultural Research for Development (EFARD)?

EFARD is an umbrella network of European research and non- research stakeholders from the public and private European organisations and the European Commission. Its aim is to strengthen the contribution in poverty alleviation, food security, and sustainable development in developing countries by providing a platform for strategic dialogue among European stakeholders to promote research partnerships between European and Southern research communities. EFARD follows the principles of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) and contributes to GFAR’s Global Plan of Action, in partnership with the other GFAR regional fora.

The EFARD management team is made up of 5-6 persons; the Chair, Vice-Chair and Executive Secretary and 2-3 other members representing a broad range of stakeholder groups and national for an of member countries. Aligning with the same mission, YPARD has been represented in the EFARD management team for several years, in fact, the 2016 EFARD Annual Technical and Business Meeting was hosted by the YPARD Europe Regional headquarters (Klick on the LINK to read all about this event).

The first YPARD representative was André Stucki a member of YPARD Switzerland and later Rahel Wyss, YPARD Switzerland country representative and recently by Kristina Kuznetsova the YPARD Ukraine country representative. We are now delighted to introduce Bledar as the new YPARDiand who will carry on with YPARD’s work with EFARD.

Get to know Bledar and his role in the EFARD management team

Bledar has completed his Bachelor studies at the Agricultural University of Tirana, Faculty of Economics and Agribusiness, at the Agribusiness Management branch. After graduating, he participated in various training courses, one of which was training for Enterprise Management in Vienna-Austria, at the Institute of Professional Training “WIFI Austria”. He graduated from Szent Istvan University in Gödöll?, Budapest-Hungary with a master's degree in Rural Development and Agribusiness.

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Welcoming YPARD Costa Rica Country Representative: Manuela Gil Echeverria

YPARD is delighted to welcome Manuela Gil Echeverria as the new Country Representative for Costa Rica. 

Manuela is a passionate agronomist with a master’s degree in Sustainable Business Development, graduated from EARTH University in 2013 and CATIE in 2017. 

She currently works for EARTH University in the extension project unit called EARTH Futures where she is responsible for supporting smallholder farmers to better access markets and works on the empowerment of women, youth, and farmers in agriculture. 

In the last 7 years, she has worked in different areas such as organic food production, ornamental plant exports, and the Fairtrade Certification System as a certification analyst at the Latin American Office for FLOCERT. She also worked at PROCOMER, Costa Rica's trade promotion agency where her role was to impact value chains nationwide through the promotion of commercial linkages in the agricultural sector.

Since her studies, Manuela has always been interested in sustainable agricultural systems and is the reason for her to travel and get to know new communities. She had the opportunity to work at Kyusei Nature Farming Center, in Thailand where she was involved in different agricultural activities based on organic production. Manuela conducted her master's thesis research on value chains and inclusive businesses at Fazenda da Toca in Brazil where they practice big-scale agroforestry, organic egg production and sustainable education. 

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Welcoming YPARD Mexico Country Representative: Horacio Rodríguez Vázquez

YPARD is delighted to welcome Horacio Rodríguez Vázquez as the new Country Representative for Mexico. 

Horacio is a graduate with a certificate in Systems Transformation from Stanford University, a Master’s degree in International Cooperation for Development from Instituto de Investigaciones Dr. José María Luis Mora and a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Engineering from Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey. He was recognized as Mexico’s Best National Agricultural Engineering Graduate in 2005 by the National Association of Engineering Schools and Faculties (ANFEI).

Horacio has 15 years of international development experience in sustainable agriculture and food security, with the past 10 dedicated to leading multi-stakeholder agriculture innovation platforms across Latin America and the Caribbean. 

He is currently Senior Manager of Operations and Impact at Scale at the International Potato Center (CIP). His responsibilities include the design of a regional strategy for Impact at Scale including through private sector engagement, governmental alliances and other partnerships; making sure all activities and projects in Latin America and the Caribbean incorporate a systems innovation approach that allows youth, women and indigenous peoples to take ownership as active agents in the innovation process.

Horacio joined CIP in 2019 after working 4 years at The Nature Conservancy (TNC) as Climate and Food Security Coordinator for Latin America. At TNC, Horacio coordinated multi-year, multi-country programs like the Mexico REDD+ Program, AgroLAC2025 and the Resilient Central America Program (ResCA), and provided support on the design and implementation of Green Growth Compacts in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, and Mexico: public-private territorial agreements to comply with international commitments, such as the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and the 2030 Agenda.

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Welcoming YPARD Grenada country representative: Bevon Chadel Charles

We are delighted to welcome the YPARD Grenada representative, Bevon Chadel Charles

Bevon is a passionate agriculture enthusiast, farmer and active entrepreneur. She is CEO and Founder of Akata Farms an integrated self-sustainable farm located in Grenada. Akata Farms though in its early stages aims at strengthening Grenada's export capacity, to end hunger and develop a sustainable agricultural sector. Her interests not only lie in developing a robust entrepreneurial sphere in Grenada and the Caribbean but also creating solutions to the agriculture and manufacturing industries in her country. She believes Grenada has the opportunities to sustain its self while at the same time achieving its national sustainable development goals, ending hunger and poverty, growing rural communities that will, in turn, enhance the livelihoods of its people and maximizing global markets. ICT, innovations in hydroponics, freight farming, AI Technology, Protein engineering and Nanotechnology as it regards to improving agricultural production and food security are also some of the fields of research and implementation she is working on. 

Bevon apart from her intensive entrepreneurial and business development background also has an extensive education and training acumen. She studied international business and marketing at the St. George’s University (SGU) in Grenada, Social Sciences from TA. Marry show Community College (TAMC) and has several certifications in Sustainable Development, Finance, Communication, Agriculture and Land Management from Coursera. Her aptitude for personal development enabled her to be one of 14 Caribbean Entrepreneurs to be chosen for the Caribbean Youth Entrepreneur Programme

Bevon has worked closely with many organisations and entities to foster rapid change in addressing the agricultural sector in Grenada. 

“There need to be stronger agriculture cooperatives, a unified farmer’s network that encapsulate all stakeholders. To bridge the gap between youth and agriculture, there must be opportunities for growth and development. Farmers need access to lands, which must be accessible. They need available resources and funding and development of markets“. 

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Call for speakers: young professionals in agrobiodiversity preservation

Young people are the backbone of a nation and can explore the youth role in adaptive measures against a changing climate.

To promote youth engagement in biodiversity protection toward achieving the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, this Youth Daily Show led by Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD), in collaboration with the Youth in Landscapes Initiative (YIL), will discuss indigenous youth perspectives in agrobiodiversity preservation. This program is a side event of GLF Biodiversity Digital Conference: One World - One Health, October 28- 29, 2020.  

In this Youth Daily Show, we will explore the work that young indigenous people working in agriculture are doing toward preserving biodiversity. At the same time, this episode will find out what technologies and methods indigenous people around the world are applying to ensure a climate-resilient agricultural value chain development for more sustainable livelihoods.

We are looking for two young professionals from Asia and the Pacific region who are passionate about agrobiodiversity conservation and can constructively share their stories, experiences and tools with the audiences as a speaker for the virtual conference on Preserving Agrobiodiversity: Indigenous Youth (18-39 years) Perspectives on 28th October 2020. The application deadline is 8th October 2020 and selected applicants will be notified by 10th October 2020.

Requirements

  • Indigenous youth (preferred) working for biodiversity preservation
  • Young researcher/ scholars /activists/ advocate/ policymaker who is working in agrobiodiversity or agroecology
  • Must be a registered member on the YPARD website.

Key responsibilities

  • Be able to share their stories and experiences on the related field and be familiar with the existing issue of climate and agrobiodiversity
  • Must have a good command of English speaking
  • Willing to join/ lead the Agrobiodiversity Youth Task Force in the future.

Apply

Interested speakers who meet the above-mentioned requirements can send the following documents with the Subject: “Application for speaker- Preserving Agrobiodiversity” to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Call for applicants - YPARD country representatives for LAC region

YPARD Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is seeking young, innovative and fresh spirited professionals to take on the role of a Country Representatives (CR) and continue its work on enabling and empowering young agricultural leaders shaping sustainable food systems. In this call, we are looking for young people specifically from:

  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Grenada
  • Mexico

Being a CR is a unique opportunity for you to be more active with fellow young professionals in agricultural and related fields in the LAC region as well as with the global YPARD network.

We would also like to explore ways to start a new YPARD chapter in your country. Here are some initial insights on how one becomes more active with YPARD. This would be a great opportunity for you to become active with fellow young agricultural professionals in your country as well as with the global YPARD network.

As a country representative, you will have the chance to:

  • To lead initiatives that enable you to work to improve young people's perception of agriculture in your country  
  • Help young professionals to reach their full potential in agricultural development by being the voice of YPARD and represent the members of the community in your country.
  • Have a useful tool for your future aspirations in the working field by being the YPARD country representative
  • Have the opportunity to travel abroad e.g. GCARD3 in South Africa – many young professionals from YPARD attended with the support of GFAR (See here for more information)
  • Have a great asset for your CV as YPARD is supported by GFAR and FAO and many other partner organizations.
  • Have the chance to connect/ get to know other YPARD members - not just In the LAC level but also globally.                                                                                                                
  • Contribute to agricultural development in Latin America and the Caribbean region
  • Have a link with YPARD partners (see list of partners HERE)

This is a voluntary position that will not interfere with your day-to-day activities. You will have full support from the YPARD Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) team.

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Welcoming YPARD Trinidad and Tobago country representative: Enricka Julien

We are delighted to welcome the new YPARD Trinidad and Tobago country representative, Enricka Julien.

Enricka is a graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Agribusiness, with minors in Gender and Development Studies, Communication and Extension from University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine Campus in Trinidad. 

Enricka is an agricultural professional with over six years of experience working across various departments within the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries in Trinidad and Tobago. During her tenure at the Ministry, she worked in the production and marketing of livestock and livestock products, extension training and information services, the administration and management of agricultural state lands, and facilities management. This experience helped her to develop her skills further, broaden her knowledge and expand her portfolio of professional experience in the agricultural industry. 

Throughout the years she has worked voluntarily with several local and international non-profit organizations dedicated to improving agriculture development, food security and climate change. She has participated in communications projects geared toward engaging youth in agriculture and development.  In 2015, she contributed to the mobilization of thousands of young people online and onsite as the Co-Lead of the Marketing Team for the Youth in Landscapes (YIL) Initiative activities at the Global Landscape Forum

Enricka now works as a Facilities and Administrative Officer in the field of sports facilities and event management. Still, she continues to volunteer and support projects related to sustainable land management and agriculture development. 

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Welcoming YPARD Peru country representative: Marcelita Ponce de León

We are delighted to welcome the new YPARD Peru country representative, Marcelita Ponce de León.

Marcelita is a graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Agronomic Engineering from the National Agrarian University La Molina. She began her professional career as an intern in government programs. This allowed her to have contact with different rural communities from cultures that promoted ancestral knowledge for the conservation of native cocoa species.

Upon returning to Lima, Marcelita decided to study Business Administration at the Peruvian Institute of Business Administration to complement her formation as an Agronomist. Later, she had the opportunity to be selected by the United Nations Training Program called "Youth for the SDGs". This experience gave her the opportunity to be part of the Fund for Sustainable Access to Renewable Thermal Energy that the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture was executing in rural areas. Through this, she had the opportunity to research the introduction of floral species and the use of biofertilizers produced through anaerobic processes.

Then she worked as a technical facilitator at the Institute of Development and Environment that executes a program of Canadian cooperation – SUCO – which seeks to improve the quality of life of young people in rural areas in the region of Lima. The program name is “Agrarian training program and support for youth entrepreneurship in Peru”.

In 2019, Marcelita was chosen to represent YPARD Peruvian Chapter as a fellow of the Community Solutions professional exchange program from the United States Government. This experience allowed her to be an intern at Rural Action, a non-profit organization, where she could learn and share knowledge related to the production and marketing of fresh food in Ohio. At the same time, she obtained a diploma in Community Leadership with the support of the Community Leadership Institute and George Mason University.

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On COVID-19 and food security: A Brazilian youth’s perspective

Despite being one of the biggest food producers in the world, Brazil is a country with major social inequalities, political instability and a large food-insecure population. Within this context, many are the challenges and complex issues posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In terms of food chains and urban agriculture, as we know, “the bigger the food chain the bigger the risk”, because food has to travel and pass from hand to hand before arriving at our homes. That impacts the price, the risk of infection and also the quality of the food. Besides, here in Brazil, we are blessed with tropical weather and all the characteristics that allow urban agriculture, including planting fruit trees in towns and public parks. However, we still prefer to grow ornamental plants in public spaces; they are beautiful to see, but we cannot eat them. 

The Covid-19 crisis got us thinking about several problems regarding food and agriculture. In this text I will focus on four main points that captured my attention, namely: 

  1. The necessity to “think about” food and supply chains; 
  2. Food commercialization; 
  3. Young people in the crisis; 
  4. Food chains and urban agriculture.

First, we need to reignite the discussion about food itself.

In many ways, the Covid-19 situation made many people switch off the “autopilot” (e.g. going to the market, buying food) and start to think, maybe for the first time, about the questions that a lot of researchers have been discussing: will there be food available? From where should I buy my food? How does a healthy diet look like? How will I have the means to provide for myself and my family? In this context, the urgency to talk about food security, nutritional security and human rights is clear.

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Communication for effective youth inclusion

Pius Hiwe, Youth-Leader Communications Champion, Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD), speaks about communication for effective youth inclusion at the SIANI Annual Meeting 2020 held in Sweden.

You can now watch the video and read the presentation script in a chronological sequence.

First slide

What does the communications officer of a youth network with over 18,000 registered young professionals in 70 countries across the globe have to say about: 

Youth communication and networking? 

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Agriculture of the future

The agricultural sector is facing a number of new issues that have come to life in the past decades. 

Our climate is changing, soils are eroding, the available production area is shrinking. We have to produce increasingly more ‘beautiful’ produce to meet consumer’s expectations without using crop protection compounds, and we have to adapt to a changing food pattern. How do we deal with this? 

Rise of precision agriculture.

The solution is innovation. Farmers have had to change their management strategy or be competed out of the market. A modern-day farmer is an entrepreneur, who has to keep learning and keep improving his business. This approach leads to the development of Precision Agriculture (PA). 

This is a production management strategy that is often discussed in complex terms, but in essence, is very simple: PA is the use of knowledge and technology to better distribute available resources. Its core principle is to apply the right input at the right place at the right time. 

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Climate change, the dying world

Climate change is a reality that is happening now, and that we can see its impact across the world.

Climate change is a very hot and trendy topic in the world now, but most people don’t even know the causes and effects on the environment. What do you think about when you hear climate change? Did anyone ever wonder why there is so much instability in the world’s weather recently? For me, personally, I have seen a lot of changes in the weather in the last few years which has become so scary but before I go too deep into my perspectives, I will like to explain what climate change is - at least as I see it. 

Climate change is any significant long-term change in the expected patterns of average weather of a region (or the whole Earth) over a significant period of time. Climate change is about abnormal variations to the climate and the effects of these variations on other parts of the Earth. While this temperature increase is more specifically referred to as global warming, climate change is the term currently favoured by science communicators, as it explicitly includes not only Earth's increasing global average temperature, but also the climate effects caused by this increase.

Climate change is a reality that is happening now, and that we can see its impact across the world. During the last few years, we humans have done more harm than good to the environment by releasing a large amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Climate change is impacting human lives and health in a variety of ways. It threatens the essential ingredients of good health - clean air, safe drinking water, nutritious food supply, and safe shelter - and has the potential to undermine decades of progress in global health.

According to the World Health Organization, between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250 000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress alone. The direct damage costs to health are estimated to be between USD 2-4 billion per year by 2030. Let’s take the Australia bush fire incident for example, this reflects previous predictions of Australian science. Since 2008 and as recently as 2018, scientific bodies have warned that climate change will exacerbate existing conditions for fires and other climatic disasters in Australia. What used to be once-in-a-generation fires now re-appear within 10–15 years with increased ferocity, over longer seasons.

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Call for applicants - YPARD Austria country representative

YPARD Austria is seeking a young, innovative and fresh spirited professional to take on the role of a Country Representative (CR) and continue its work on youth in agriculture!

Being a CR is a unique opportunity for you to be more active with fellow young professionals in agricultural and related fields in Austria as well as with the global YPARD network.

Application Deadline: March 31st, 2020

As a country representative and in collaboration with a core group, you will have the chance to:

  • Create and coordinate activities that will allow you to work toward improving young people's perception of agriculture in Austria.
  • Help Young Professionals (YP’s) reach their full potential in agricultural development by being the voice of YPARD and representing the Austrian members of the community at a national and global scale.
  • Work on youth-related issues in agricultural development in Austria and link these efforts with regional initiatives.
  • Network and maintain relationships or partnerships with stakeholders and other youth organizations in the agricultural and allied sectors.
  • Have a great asset for your CV as YPARD is supported by GFAR, FAO, and many other partner organizations.
  • Connect and get to know other CR’s and YP’s - not just at the European level but also globally.
  • Have a link with YPARD partners (see the list of partners HERE).
  • Contribute to agricultural development in Europe.
  • Travel on behalf of YPARD.

Your assets

  • Willing to work on a volunteer basis (no remuneration available) other than support for your activities and participation at events
  • Between the age of 18 and not over 36-38 years
  • Ideally based in Austria, we strongly prefer people who have a link to the country, based in the country for long term or originally comes from the country (but still has a link with it)
  • Familiar with youth and agricultural development issues
  • Strong management, coordination and communication skills
  • Self-motivated and assertive with a results orientation

This is a voluntary position that will not interfere with your day to day activities. You will have full support from the YPARD Europe team in Prague (Stacy Hammond as the European Communications Officer and Libuška Valešová as the YPARD Europe coordinator).
Interested applicants are encouraged to send a one-page motivation letter and CV to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with cc to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and the reference “YPARD Country Representative” until March 31st, 2020. If you have any questions, please contact us at the same e-mail address. We are looking forward to your application!

Picture credit: YPARD

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Expanding horizons and knowledge sharing - my Fulbright experience

Fulbright has been operating as a successful program for many decades, it may sound familiar to many, worldwide. In this blog post, I share my personal experiences with the YPARD community, in the hope that some of you will be encouraged to apply. 

January 15, 2019 became a memorable day for me, because I received the email, beginning with the following sentence: “Congratulations! On behalf of the Fulbright Commission, I am pleased to inform you that you have been selected for a Fulbright Research Award…”.  After some rounds of selection and a personal interview, I was nominated to spend four months at Ohio State University in the Fall semester of 2019. 

The program was brought into life by Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946. The government of the United States supports exchange programs of foreign and US participants in many areas, including the sciences, arts, public service, government and business. The exchange visits aim to increase the mutual understanding between the people of the US and other countries.

With this scholarship, I got the chance to work together for a few months with one of the most prominent group of process system engineers at Ohio State University, which provided a unique professional experience.  

Process Systems Engineering (PSE) is not a commonly known term, so let me introduce it and especially its connection to agriculture and environment, shortly. Methods and tools of this field were originally developed and applied for the design and operation of traditional industrial processes. However, thinking about the rapid development of precision agriculture, it is obvious that these processes require also comprehensive engineering design and operation. Affordable sensors, cameras, etc. provide a huge amount of data, and their interpretation and utilization could support efficient and more sustainable production. However, the decisions about the development of agriculture, integrated with the ecosystem, need also the consideration of the material balances of the complex processes. It is the point, when the traditional and recently developed and proved methods and tools of PSE can be adopted and applied, effectively. Nevertheless, the application doesn’t stop here. Environmental processes (connecting soil, water and atmosphere with agriculture) also need a cleaner and more sustainable solutions (e.g. rational use of fertilizers to protect watershed areas). 

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Welcoming the new YPARD Belgium representative: Michael Ruggeri

We are delighted to welcome the YPARD Belgium Country Representative Michael Ruggeri.

 Michael holds a master’s degree in Rural and Agricultural Development from the University of East Anglia, preceded by another master’s degree in Environment and International Development from “La Sapienza” University.

Among other things, Michael has recently collaborated with FAO on the preparation of the State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture report, launched in February 2019. Before that, Michael had the chance to conduct a small piece of research in South Africa, in collaboration with the African and Climate Development Initiative, on the impact of climate change on food, energy and water resources in selected communities in the Cape province. 

As part of his dissertation research project, Michael also had the chance to study the impact of sustainable intensification on deforestation rates in an agriculture-forest frontier landscape in Zimbabwe under different scenarios. This required the use of modeling software, such as InVEST, which sparked his interest in scenario-building for evidence-based rural development planning and strategy definition. 

Over his studies and his working experiences, Michael also matured and nurtured other interests in several agriculture-related subjects, such as climate-smart agriculture, conservation agriculture, biodiversity conservation (ex-situ and in-situ), participatory rural development and much more. 

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Food security: The role of youth

I am Shah Khalid, a Ph.D. scholar in Agronomy at the University of Agriculture, Peshawar, Pakistan. 

I am very glad to share my story on my journey with YPARD Pakistan. Last month, I have received a call from Prof. Dr. Muhammad Arif, who told me about Ms. Shahla Salahuddin, YPARD Pakistan Country Representative. Ms. Salahuddin introduced a conference co-organized by YPARD to us and we (along with my team members, Ms. Nadia and Mr. Mujeeb Ur Rahman) decided to participate in the two days international conference on “Strategies for Ensuring Food Security in the Changing Climate” as YPARD delegates. 

The conference was organized at the University of Agriculture Peshawar, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, from October 23 to 24, 2019. YPARD Pakistan was one of the collaborators of the conference. Participants, including speakers, from many national and international organizations like Pakistan Science Foundation, sustainable land management project-II Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Food and Agriculture Organization and YPARD came together to discussed one of the biggest challenges for the 21st century to ensure the global food supply. 

Young researchers, scientists and industry leaders announced their commitment to food security strategy as climate change. During this conference, we have promoted YPARD through posters, flyers and presentations to the conference participants, including students of Agriculture University Peshawar, who were coming from the various parts of the country. 

We conducted a questions and answers session with the audience about climate change, food security, food waste, and youth as key agents for change. We learned a lot about the current challenges of food security and the role of youth in food security through a discussion panel on the second day while YPARD members got the opportunity to sit with seniors and share about our program “the role of youth in solving challenges”. 

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Welcoming YPARD Brazil country representative: Marina Demaria Venâncio

we are delighted to welcome Marina Demaria Venâncio as the new Country Representative for Brazil!

Marina is currently doing her Ph.D. in ecological and human rights at the Federal University of Santa Catarina (Florianópolis, Brazil). She holds a master’s degree in environmental law and a bachelor’s degree in law from the same university and has attended courses and programs on topics such as sustainable food systems (ETH Zurich), climate change (University of Exeter), and transdisciplinary research (ISOE). Her research is focused on the interconnection between agroecology and the human right to food and on inter-disciplinary issues such as rural development policy, climate change, sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity, and sustainability. She is also a lawyer and is currently doing a consultancy for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Her focus in rural development dates back to 2012 when she started researching the interconnection between law and agroecology under a Brazilian scholarship scheme aimed at bachelor students. According to her, agroecology is a fascinating field of study and has a great potential to promote relevant transformations in the food systems. In Latin America, agroecology can be understood as a science that studies the design of sustainable food systems, which also translates into social movement and practices. In this context, it contributes to cross-sectoral and multiscale action, being youth significant players in leading these transformations. Of note, Marina was awarded the Green Talents 2016, from the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research, thanks to her research on agroecological public policies.

Furthermore, she has been volunteering on several interdisciplinary research projects and organizations in the field of sustainability and food. Marina is delighted and honoured with the opportunity to join the Brazilian chapter as a Country Representative: “I believe that younger generations - especially young farmers, students, researchers, and professionals - have an important role to play in addressing the socio-ecological problems that affect food systems, bringing new perspectives to the debates and advancing the sustainability agenda. I am eager to be part of a platform such as YPARD and contribute to connecting-like minded individuals, engaging young people, promoting their meaningful participation in multilateral processes, and putting into action cool projects. Together, I am certain we can promote transformative changes in food systems.”

Also, Marina is keen to continue the good work of Gustavo Togeiro de Alckmin, the former representative for YPARD Brazil. We express our gratitude to Gustavo for the time invested in the Country Chapter!

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Welcoming YPARD Azerbaijan country representative: Parviz Yusifov

We are delighted to welcome the new YPARD Azerbaijan country representative Parviz Yusifov.

Parviz received his high school education in Lekchiplaq village, in Goycay. As a newly independent state, the strategy of Azerbaijan was to develop the oil and gas sector to receive fast revenues, but it resulted in disregard towards agriculture and the environment. It was the driving factor for Parviz to pursue higher education in environmental and agricultural studies. He studied BA in “Environmental Protection and Efficient Use of Natural Resources” at Ganja State University and pursued an MA in Environmental Engineering at Azerbaijan State Agrarian University in Ganja. 

Whilst continuing his MA, he was awarded a scholarship from the Hungarian Republic and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to study the second MA in Agricultural Engineering in Georgikon Faculty at Pannonia University in Keszthely, Hungary. Therefore, Parviz took two “leave years” from his first MA to study abroad, which earned him new skills and knowledge. In 2011, Parviz spent one semester as an Erasmus student to study “Sustainable Development” at Malardelen University in Vasteras, Sweden. In 2012 he successfully completed his MA in Hungary, whereas upon return to Azerbaijan he graduated from his preceding MA in Environmental Engineering in 2013. Hence, he has accomplished two Master’s Degrees. 

Parviz started his professional career with “Az-Granata” LLC in 2012 when he returned to Azerbaijan from his studies abroad. In 2012, despite a high level of oil revenues, not enough attention was being paid to agriculture due to structural and institutional problems countrywide. Parviz’s interest in agriculture sector allowed him to start working as Agricultural Engineer in one of the biggest agricultural projects at the time to assist with the adaptation of agriculture that had received almost no care for twenty years. In addition, the agriculture sector was far from modern agricultural technology, best practices, and know-how. 

The lack of stability in oil and gas prices in the world market has led Azerbaijan, as other countries whose economy is based on the oil sector, to focus more attention on agriculture in 2015 for the development of the non-oil sector. Thus, currently, many agricultural projects are being implemented in Azerbaijan. At the moment, Parviz is the Head of the Garden Operation Department at one of the largest horticulture projects in Azerbaijan. His main focus area is the study of agricultural innovations in the world, the analysis of compliance with local conditions, assisting local experts in familiarizing themselves with innovations and application in the field. 

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Welcoming the Communication Focal Person for YPARD Rwanda

Habimana Jean Claude is a science communicator with over six years of experiences in agricultural communication. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication from the University of Rwanda. He was born and raised in Rwanda. At present, Jean Claude is a Cornel Alliance Global Leadership Fellow 2019 and he is looking forward to continuing his study in Masters in Agricultural Communications at Texas State University in the United States of America.

Due to his digital journalism skills, he has experience in developing multimedia contents. Jean Claude has led many projects related to community engagement and social behaviour change communications in his country Rwanda. In his previous works, Jean Claude was appointed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to document the successful project implemented by (FAO) in 15 countries. He has also documented USAID projects in Rwanda shooting videos, photos and success stories. In his work with USAID, he documented six cooperatives of maize farmers in Rwanda.

He has also done independent consultancies as a videographer in many projects. For example, in 2018 he was appointed to document Sweden’s project works in University of Rwanda known as UR-SWEDEN Program.

Jean Claude has also led communications of the University of Rwanda’s College of Science and Technology as Communication Officer. While at this position, he maintained the good reputation of his institution by linking the institution with media and development partners as well as handling both external and internal communications.

Jean Claude has received several awards related to his works. In 2018, the Ministry of Agriculture and Animals Resources, Rwanda adjourned him the best agricultural communicator of the year. He was also awarded four times in a row by ActionAid International to have excellently documented and reported the challenges that women face in rural communities.

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