What is the purpose of this and what do you gain from it?
YPARD team believes that sharing experience enables:
informing on good practices and lessons learned
generating thoughts and ideas for optimizing activities
inspiring each other for more innovation and entrepreneurship
“As a man thinketh in his heart; so he is.” These noble words inspired Everlyne Cherobon to win the EMRC Small Business Incubator Award - an initiative encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa among small and medium enterprises.
Her award winning organization, EMEDEN Kenya seeks to improve the livelihoods of rural smallholder farmers in Kenya's semi-arid Rift Valley by organizing and connecting smallholder farmers to markets.
One of Nicholas' strongest childhood memories is farmers lining up to seek advice from his mother and uncle. Many members of his family were agricultural extension officers, you see, and they were in demand for their farm enterprise expertise.
“This upbringing encouraged me to pursue a career in agriculture,” he said.
Sarah Mukolwe was born in Kajiado county and raised in West Pokot -- two counties well known for their pastoralist activities. She experienced many of the challenges faced by pastoralists, especially disease pandemics that often wiped their stocks.
In the hope of understanding and providing solutions to these pandemics, Sarah became a researcher, focusing on emerging and re-emerging pests and parasites, diagnosing and treating diseases and developing vaccines.
Beatrice Mugo is a true product of agriculture. She experienced firsthand the income-generating potential of horticultural crops. She saw them pay bills in her life. Her father, a horticultural farmer, educated 11 children with profits from his produce, equipping Beatrice with basic skills and interest in the field.
Her expertise in crop production was later gained from her university studies in horticulture. These saw her commence her career in agriculture first as an agricultural extension and now as a district crops development officer with the Ministry of Agriculture.
Gerishom Boiyo is proof of the great things you can achieve if you just have confidence and passion. With no substantive information communication technology (ICT) training but a passion and interest in online tools, not only has he led an online campaign that has seen interest in farming skyrocket amongst rural youth in Western Kenya, he’s also about to launch an online marketplace for agricultural products that will help youthful farmers buy and sell their produce while networking exchanging ideas and contacts.
As the ICT officer at the ACK Western Region Christian Community Services (affiliated with the Anglican Church of Kenya), Gerishom has over 4 years experience working with youth in agriculture, helping them increase their productivity and access to markets using various ICTs. While he has been working with farmers for a while, he only started introducing ICTs in 2011.
Felister is that lecturer we all wish we had. Holding seminars and meetings with undergraduate students to discuss their career choices, professional growth as well as life situations, she has always had a strong interest in nurturing young talents through mentoring.
This strong, nurturing spirit started when she was quite young. Felister was only five years old when her father passed away, says her profile on the AWARD website. Her mother, barely managing with a tiny pension and the limited harvest from the family’s small farm in the Makueni Hills of eastern Kenya, recognized her only daughter’s potential. “We were very poor, and hunger was a well-known phenomenon in our family,” says Nzuve. “The rains are unreliable in our area, and we did not use appropriate agricultural practices.”
“Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.” -- Plato
James Aucha loves this quote, as he believes it really encompasses the philosophy behind mentoring. A practicing Agripreneur, James is keen to support graduates to move from job seekers to job creators.
“Strengthening the mentoring network is vital if we’re going to help the Kenya’s budding agro-entrepreneurs. These youth need mentorship,” says Jan Willem van Es, a mentor in YPARD’s pilot ‘youth in agriculture’ mentoring program.
Jan Willem joins the program with a lot of experience and expertise to share. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Food Science from the University of Applied Sciences, Van Hall Institute, Netherlands, a certificate in marketing on the job training in farm management. He has nearly 30 years of professional experience to contribute to the program.
Samuel Murage was born and raised on the slopes of Mount Kenya in a small village called Kathaka. Coffee and tea are the most famous crops in his home turf – the climate there favours coffee and tea growth making it the number one income earner for the locals who are predominantly farmers for lack of other options.
Like many other youths, Vivien never imagined herself working in agriculture or even cultivating her own food. To her, it was for those who were less successful in life and were short of options. Being the daughter of a dental surgeon, she spent her school holidays observing and her father pulling out people’s teeth at his clinic as they yelled in pain. When she asked him why they cried, he said it was necessary for them to get better. Through these experiences, she developed an interest in becoming a caregiver and pursued a diploma in social work.
After her graduation, Vivien has been working as a counsellor at a local hospital in Kisumu. To supplement her income from social work, she started farming and she has been doing so for almost a year now. She keeps poultry, rabbits and goats. She also supplies vegetables to the local schools and markets within her neighbourhoods in Kisumu. Her business is less than a year old but she says it’s doing well. She has big dreams for it, dreams to become the leading supplier of vegetables and animal products. To this effect, she’s currently working on a business proposal, which she hopes will get funds to implement.
How did someone previously teaching Kiswahili, mathematics and financial accounting make a switch to farming? This is the story of Obadiah Biwot – an unlikely farming hero (which should prove that, regardless of your background, you can succeed in farming too).
With an undergraduate in Agribusiness Management, Certified Public Accountancy, and a certificate in Computer Applications, you can say that Obadiah tried it all - working in different sectors to meet his daily needs. During a business idea innovation competition, drawing participants from across the entire African continent, he pitched an idea on reducing dependence on rain fed Agriculture by using greenhouse farming and got to the top 25 finalists. The idea was specifically on planting tomatoes.
Maya Angelou once said; “You are the sum total of everything you’ve ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot – it’s all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.” These words resonate with Juliet Braslow, a researcher with a diverse background of skills from different disciplines.
As an area coordinator with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Juliet is currently working on the AGORA project, which focuses on understanding the complex social and biophysical landscapes of various communities in Malawi and Tanzania through Participatory Mapping and video. Previously, she worked with farmers and ranchers, helping create farm and ranch diversification programs, and connecting stakeholders to promote agricultural growth.
This success story is the fourth and last one of a series that spotlight IAAS members' experiences in agricultural development. YPARD-IAAS series has featured, every two weeks, young champions from different regions of the world.
My name is Vedran Krevh and I am the National Director of IAAS Croatia. I am enrolled at the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Zagreb and I believe all in life starts with volunteer work.
I’m Shrikrishna Hegde, born and raised in a remote village, and tucked away into the forests of southern India. My family has been farming for centuries and it has a deep place in my heart, so the struggles of the farming community is something I empathize with and would go out of my way to support everyone involved. Recently I have been selected for the Prestigious DO School Fellowship Germany.
This success story is the third one of a series that spotlight IAAS members' experiences in agricultural development. YPARD-IAAS series has featured, every two weeks, young champions from different regions of the world.
Ever since IAAS entered my life, it has defined it. IAAS helped me discover agriculture and enriched me beyond measure through life-long trans-continental friendships and collaborations. I, Genna Tesdall, am a member of IAAS United States at the local chapter IAAS Iowa State University (IAAS ISU).
Margaret Syomiti has many rich experiences and stories to share. The first revolves around her decision to commit her life’s purpose to improve the livelihoods of livestock farmers. It all began when a hyena killed her grandmother’s fattest goat. Granny brought all of the goats in to sleep beside her to protect the others; she loved livestock so much that she would do anything to protect them.
This hyena incident instigated Margaret’s desire to do something and improve the livelihoods of livestock farmers so she decided to become a livestock researcher. For the last 15 years, her research work has revolved around the areas of nutrition and feed science within the bigger picture of livestock.
This success story written by Luisa Cartesio, coordinator of the project "Orticulturom" within the association AltroPaesaggio, is part of the "Young women and Youth's Gender Perspectives in Agricultural Development" series that spotlight young professionals' experiences for women's empowerment in agricultural development. From research to private sector, mass media to civil society work, YPARD 2015 Gender series features, every month, young "gender champions" from different regions of the world. This series is part of YPARD work as special youth catalyst in the GAP : Gender in Agriculture Partnership.
The world and the agricultural landscape have always been part of my personal and professional growth. I lived as a child in a rural context characterized by family farmers involved in short supply chains’ projects in the region.
Kabokyek, a small village in Kericho County is where Duncan Cheruiyot was born and bred. As a small boy, Duncan wanted to be an automotive technician but his environment did not favour such dreams. His was a predominantly farming community and so only farming related ideas flourished.
Sugarcane farming is the major economic activity in the area and maize is grown for domestic consumption. During the holidays, Duncan and his siblings worked on the farm weeding in the sugarcane and maize plantations. He hated the holidays, but with time he developed a liking for farming – that’s when he realized the new clothes and shoes his parents bought him came from the farm proceeds.