YPARD was extremely active in this years' AASW. From identifying many excellent active youths for participation, organising a YPARD side event, participating and contributing to other AASW side sessions to social reporting of the event on-site and online.
The three side events with a strong youth component include the Gender and Youth Side Event, the Capacity Strengthening for Agricultural Innovation: Practices & Experiences and the YPARD side event on sharing YPARD youth activities in-country.
The gender and youth side event provided an opportunity to examine the role of youth mainstreaming in todays ARD, and ask what can we learn from the experience of gender mainstreaming advocates? While the gender mainstreaming is not yet at the level it should be, it has come a long way. Youth is a comparatively new sector and thus we should recognize that we have much to learn from our gender colleagues and benefit from their many years of work and experience. Some areas that we can work together immediately include greater engagement of young women. Have a look at YPARDs youth and women ppt presentation.
The capacity strengthening side event looked particularly at mentoring, both the importance of mentoring for young professionals as well as different approaches for mentoring in ARD. YPARD coordination unit shared its experience of the pilot peer to peer mentoring programme and the challenges that it faced. Mentoring of youth is part of a larger capacity strengthening activities that are required to engage the next generation.
The YPARD side event on sharing country experiences brought together YPARD members, representatives and those supportive of youth and agriculture issues to share experiences of youth-led country activities and examine the way forward in engaging youth in ARD through YPARD. Recommendations that emerged from the side event include :
Youth are motivated but also require capacity development to enable them to organize, develop partnerships and mobilize other youth to be active
There are opportunities, but youth need support in finding out how to grab them
Youth are partners that can work WITH you to address ARD issues
YPARD is a mechanism through which youth in ARD can be strengthened.