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Building networks and exchanging knowledge through YPARD Community Solutions Projects

Erick Nunda, YPARD DRC being awarded for his community solution ideas at the Africa Agriscience Agribuisness Week (AASW)

In pursuit of sustainable development while combating the global climate crisis, knowledge exchange and robust networks are indispensable strategies to link impactful projects with climate finance. Too often, local projects are under funded, and limited by the financial means to scale. 

Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) Community Solutions Projects are evidence of projects ripe for scaling with quality finance. This is where partnerships such as the FAST Initiative can significantly move the needle. Our Country Chapters actively engage with local communities, collaborating on projects tackling specific challenges within food systems. Working in concert with diverse stakeholders, young professionals provide access to knowledge and facilitate capacity building on a range of sustainable food systems practices. Through these collaborative efforts, YPARD aims to empower communities, fostering resilience and promoting the adoption of climate change mitigation, adaptation and socially responsible approaches to agriculture and food production.

Below are a few examples of YPARD Community Solutions Projects.


YPARD Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Community Solutions Project

Tilapia Fish Production in a Floating Cage

Agriculture in Africa has the potential to significantly improve livelihoods and boost the economy, particularly through job creation for the continent's young population. Despite this potential, there is currently a low level of youth involvement in agriculture, as many are yet to recognize the profitable opportunities it offers for sustainable livelihoods. The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) conducted a workshop focusing on strengthening youth initiatives for technology deployment in agri-entrepreneurship. 

YPARD DRC capitalized on the Fish Value Chain Opportunity, which was an outcome of FARA’s Agri-youth engagement workshop, and initiated fish production in ponds in the Walungu territory. The Eastern and Southeastern parts of the DRC are strategic regions for fish farming, presenting new opportunities for adopting technologies in intensive fish farming. The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) aims to improve Tilapia fish production in Lake Kivu through the Tilapia Cage Pilot Project (PPTC-SK), promoting access to fingerlings, locally produced fish feeds, and enhancing the value chain. YPARD DRC is actively involved in the PPTC-SK project, which seeks to harness the entrepreneurial spirit of young people and reduce food imports by making fish products accessible in Bukavu and across the D.R. Congo.
Learn more about this project here

YPARD Eswatini Community Solution Project

Rural Grown Farms

Established in 2017 by YPARD Eswatini, Rural Grown Farms is a woman-led agribusiness enterprise focused on enhancing the livelihoods of communities in Eswatini and the region. In collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, Research Services, and in partnership with experienced youth out-growers and ESUS Farm, the project aims to digitize youth farmers through a dedicated portal. Actively engaging youth in crop cultivation for improved nutrition, the project establishes a Community Enterprise (COE) for the sale of produce. Emphasizing Climate Smart Farming with Biofortified beans, the initiative, led by YPARD Eswatini, provides entrepreneurial skills training and nutritional improvements through the manufacture and sale of bean jam. 

ESUS Farm contributes to digitalization by registering youth farmers in a portal, facilitating monitoring and market information. With a focus on women and youth, Rural Grown has already created over 15 jobs, aiming to surpass 50 opportunities in production, warehousing, packaging, and logistics. This investment not only boosts productivity and biofortified beans consumption but also addresses iron deficiency, promoting economic well-being in households. Currently operating on a hectare of land, the project plans to expand its impact further.

Learn more about this project here

YPARD Ghana Community Solution Project

Beekeeping in Agroecological Systems

To create quality jobs for women and youth, YPARD Ghana is investing in improved rural-urban links within the food system. The chapter highlights the necessity of advancing agroforestry development methodologies, especially to create rural-to-urban linkages which are culturally, socially, and environmentally appropriate. With this in mind, YPARD Ghana launched its Community Solutions Project for young beekeepers. The initiative was started in June 2023 in the Volta region of the Ho municipality with local bee species and has thus far trained 15 young entrepreneurs. This was done to support the government of Ghana's Green Agenda and to support ecotourism.

YPARD Cameroon Community Solution Projects

Seed for Agriculture

Seed for Agriculture project is a nursery which provides certified seedlings, but also training, to rural farmers for agroforestry practices. The project’s mission is to contribute to the production of quality seedlings and train young professionals in this strategic sector. The initiative was started by Bebel Nguepi, YPARD Cameroon Country Representative, four years ago. Mrs Edoa Celine, agroecologist, seed technologist, and YPARD Cameroon member is an expert trainer for the project.

Tree-planting with Children and Youth: Demonstrating the long-term effects of Green Regeneration

YPARD Cameroon’s tree planting project took place at Mfandena Public School in Yaoundé, Cameroon. The project was implemented with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies - IFRC, Young Volunteers for Environment Cameroon, Seed for Agriculture, and J2D-Afrique.

This initiative went beyond planting trees; the goal was to nurture a generation of environmental stewards. In collaboration with dedicated partners, YPARD Cameroon meticulously refined their approach, engaging in detailed planning, negotiations with schools, and mobilizing passionate volunteers. Their hands-on involvement extended from supplying seedlings and compost to actively participating in the tree-planting activity. 

Learn more about the above three projects here.

Building community projects stands as a powerful grassroots approach to instigate sustainable transformation, cultivate an array of environmentally friendly job opportunities, and fortify the resilience of communities. However, in order to amplify the impact of these initiatives and facilitate their expansion, the availability of financial support is paramount. The need for easy access to increased funding is a crucial factor in not only ensuring the viability and success of community projects but also in propelling them towards scalable models that can be replicated across diverse regions. By streamlining financial accessibility, we can unlock the full potential of community-driven endeavors, empowering them to address pressing issues, propel environmental stewardship, and bolster the economic and social fabric of communities.