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Born and raised in a coastal city in Borneo, Malaysia, Michelle's passion for agriculture and food security stems from the challenges her country and community faces in these areas. As part of the UN Food Systems Coordination Hub, she works on the engagement with Member States and Stakeholders in support of food systems transformation.

Prior to joining the Hub, she worked as a Partner and Liaison Specialist in the Brussels Office of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), supporting the engagement with Non-State Actors, technical bodies of the European Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS). She later joined the World Food Forum team, leading the work of the Youth Action track, advocating for youth engagement and building capacities of youth to engage in policy processes. Michelle holds a Master's in Nutrition and Rural Development with a specialization in public health and a Bachelor's in Clinical Nutrition.

Joining the Steering Committee of YPARD, Michelle looks forward  to growing the work of YPARD in empowering and showcasing the expertise of young professionals, especially in developing countries and the Asia-Pacific region, who are already contributing to food systems solutions. With her background, she looks forward to contributing to strategic areas to facilitate better and more meaningful engagement for young people in shaping the future of our food systems.

Bélgica-. El pasado 13 y 14 de julio YPARD participó en la celebración del Día de la Juventud de Europa y América Latina, realizado Bruselas en el marco del Foro de la Sociedad Civil, Juventud y Autoridades Locales de la Comisión Europea. Este, fue uno de los actos paralelos a la Cumbre UE-CELAC, donde se representó el compromiso político para trabajar conjuntamente con América Latina y el Caribe.

 

En este evento participaron 60 jóvenes de distintos países de América Latina y el Caribe con el objetivo de construir recomendaciones para los mandatarios en el marco de la cumbre “Tuvimos la oportunidad de hacer importantes aportes en las recomendaciones de transición verde. Se espera que estas recomendaciones orienten las relaciones y la inversión de La unión europea en LAC, tomando en cuenta las necesidades de las juventudes rurales en este proceso, algo que impulsamos desde YPARD”, expresa Sebastián Pedraza, Coordinador para ALC de YPARD.

 

El foro sirvió como un espacio para intercambiar opiniones y experiencias, con el objetivo de que estas den pie a la construcción de un futuro sostenible en el que se integren de mejor manera ambas regiones. De igual forma, que las organizaciones juveniles tengan una relación más estrecha para lograr una mejor cooperación. Se trató temas como la cohesión y las desigualdades sociales, la educación, la salud, la cultura, el género, la juventud, los derechos humanos y la democracia, la economía sostenible e integradora, la transición ecológica y digital justa y equitativa, así como otras identificadas.

 

"Tender puentes entre nuestras juventudes rurales y urbanas es clave para fortalecer y complementar sus voces para que los tomadores de decisiones puedan generar políticas públicas que atiendan sus necesidades, de esta forma lograremos que el desarrollo sea realmente inclusivo en la región", comenta Marcelita Ponce de León, Coordinadora del Grupo de trabajo de juventudes para ALC de la International Land Coalition y miembro del equipo de Coordinación para YPARD EN ALC.

 

YPARD es un movimiento internacional de Jóvenes Profesionales por el Desarrollo Agrícola. Durante el evento, Genna Tesdall, Directora Global de YPARD estuvo a cargo de presentar el trabajo que hace la institución para capacitar y empoderar a jóvenes líderes, con el objetivo de la transformación de los sistemas alimentarios en el mundo.

 

Para consultar el documento de recomendaciones puede dar clic aquí.

 Thanks to ongoing collabortion with the European Institute of Technology (EIT) Food, especially around the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), YPARD was honored to be represented at the 2023 EIT Food Annual Conference in Riga, Latvia on June 27th and 28th. In particular, YPARD, along with the International Association of Agriculture and related Sciences Students (IAAS) and EIT Food's youth programs presented at the Breakout session Self-Organizing for Systemic Change. YPARD Director Genna Tesdall introduced the audience to our network, invited folks to join or partner with us, and emphasized the need for partnership with youth at eye-level through co-creation and co-implementation of youth programs with youth.

To show their leadership in partnering with youth, during the event, EIT Food announced an upcoming call for proposals to support youth in their engagement in food systems. Stay tuned for more information! 

Africa’s youth are all geared up and engaged in discussions at the Africa Food Systems Forum (AGRF) 2023 Summit.  The 5-day Summit which began on the 5th of September 2023 is taking place at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre (JNICC) in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

To set the ball rolling, several organizations were engaged in the pre-summit from 3rd to 4th September emphasizing initiatives and possible ways for transforming Africa’s Food Systems. These pre-summit fora included the Mastercard Foundation’s side event dubbed, “From Farm to Fork for Real – How to Enhance Young People’s Employment and Entrepreneurship Opportunities Within Africa’s Agri-Food Systems “.

Drissa Tessougue the Country Representative of YPARD to Mali represented the Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) at this side event. Drissa is among the youth leaders who convened this side event with concerns about the present and future of the Agri-Food system from farm to fork. The session is focused on maximizing employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for youth in the Agri-Food system.

The objective of the session was to facilitate joint learning between the youth and decision-makers to generate policy and private sector action for the creation of an enabling environment for young people to be able to maximize economic opportunities in the AFS. 

Drissa Tessoungue pointed out that is imperative to address the transformation of Africa's education system to give due recognition and value to the agriculture sector. This recognition not only helps break the traditional stigma associated with farming but also fosters a generation of young individuals who are enthusiastic about and well-prepared for careers within the agrifood value chain. To truly empower these young entrepreneurs, there is a pressing need for comprehensive capacity-building and skills development initiatives. Equipping them with the necessary knowledge and competencies not only enhances their employability but also cultivates a culture of innovation and sustainability within Africa's agriculture sector, ultimately driving economic growth and food security on the continent.

 
YPARD Brasil Country Representative Heitor Dellastella has been selected by YOUNGO to represent the UNFCCC youth constituency at the seventh Global Environmental Facility (GEF), taking place from August 22-26 in Vancouver, Canada. Heitor is one of ten competitively selected YOUNGO delegates selected upon basis of their engagement in YOUNGO. At the GEF Assembly, Heitor will represent policy positions of YOUNGO for an improved enabling environment for young people to make an impact in climate mitigation and adaptation and biodiversity conservation for a just transition according to YOUNGO policy positions.
 
Are you interested in similar future opportunities? A great way to make a strong foundation is to contribute to the YPARD Policy Working Group (contact genna.tesdall@ypard.net to get involved), where we form substantive policy positions which feed into YOUNGO policy positions, but also other fora, all while learning more about policy-- from advocacy techniques to policy careers. 

 

Our YPARD Kenya chapter member, Fred Odhiambo from Migori County, has recently received a generous donation on behalf of the youth in agriculture group he founded, called "The Organic Green System Kenya" (ORGRES).

Through the support of FAO Kenya, Fred and his team at ORGRES have received a chisel plough, which will greatly benefit their activities. ORGRES, consisting of passionate YPARDians, focuses on capacity building and training of farmers, production of foliar feed fertilizer, promotion of good nutrition, and the advocacy of conservation agriculture and farm mechanization.

The donation aligns with FAO Kenya's key objectives, which include the promotion of conservation agriculture, the production of soya as an essential source of livestock feed, the improvement of income generation and meaningful employment for the youth, and enhancing access to machinery to foster farm mechanization.

The ORGRES group will be supervised by the Migori County Government's Department of Agriculture, who will also facilitate connections with local farmers. Currently, ORGRES has partnered with a tractor service provider, and FAO Kenya has further linked them with PAFID (Participatory Approaches for Integrated Development) Kenya, who will provide additional training on conservation agriculture.

To mark this important occasion, the official handing over of the chisel plough will take place tomorrow at the Migori County offices. We are thrilled to announce that we will document the event with photographs, capturing the key moments of the ceremony, and the pictures will be shared with you soon.

This event signifies a significant step forward in promoting sustainable agriculture practices and empowering the youth in agriculture. We extend our heartfelt appreciation to FAO Kenya for their generous donation and continued support. We are confident that this collaboration will have a positive impact on the local farming community, contributing to increased productivity and improved livelihoods.

YPARD Kenya can play a crucial role in supporting and maximizing the impact of the donation of the chisel plough to ORGRES in Migori County. Here are some specific contributions YPARD Kenya will make:

  1. Facilitating the Handover: YPARD Kenya actively participated in the handover event, representing the organization and expressing appreciation to FAO Kenya for their donation. This involvement demonstrates the support and commitment of YPARD Kenya towards youth in agriculture initiatives.
  2. Documenting the Handover: YPARD Kenya documented the handing over of the chisel plough. These visual records can serve multiple purposes, such as creating awareness about the donation, showcasing successful youth-led initiatives, and promoting the collaboration between FAO Kenya, Migori County Government, YPARD Kenya, and ORGRES.
  3. Publicizing the Success Story: YPARD Kenya will leverage its communication channels, including its website, social media platforms, and newsletters, to share the success story of the donation and its impact on ORGRES and the local farming community. This publicity can raise awareness about the valuable work being done by ORGRES, inspire other young agriculturalists, and attract further support and partnerships.
  4. Providing Technical Support: YPARD Kenya will offer technical support and guidance to ORGRES in utilizing the chisel plough effectively. This can involve sharing knowledge about conservation agriculture practices, providing information on maintenance and operational guidelines for the plough, and connecting ORGRES with experts or resources for further assistance.
  5. Monitoring and Evaluation: YPARD Kenya will collaborate with ORGRES and other relevant stakeholders to establish a monitoring and evaluation framework for assessing the impact of the chisel plough donation. This framework can help track the outcomes, measure the progress, and identify any challenges or areas for improvement, ensuring the long-term success of the initiative.
  6. Advocacy and Scaling-Up: YPARD Kenya will use the success of ORGRES and the impact of the chisel plough donation as a compelling case study for advocacy efforts. By showcasing the positive outcomes and demonstrating the potential of supporting youth-led initiatives in agriculture, YPARD Kenya can advocate for similar initiatives, encourage more donors and organizations to invest in youth in agriculture, and seek opportunities to scale-up such projects in other regions or counties.

Through its active involvement, support, and strategic initiatives, YPARD Kenya can contribute significantly to maximizing the benefits of the chisel plough donation to ORGRES and help create a sustainable and impactful youth-led agricultural movement in Migori County.

 

Type of position: full time (40 hours/week)

Location: Prague, Czech Republic (holding a current EU work visa required)
Type of employment: 12 month contract at the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague (CZU) with
renewal based on performance
Remuneration: 45 000- 50 000 CZK/month brutto, based on experience
Desired start date: September 2023

Are you a vivid storyteller? Are you interested in sharing the stories of inspiring people working for good in agriculture and climate topics? If you thrive by thinking critically, initiating and following-through on your vision for communications and community engagement, this is the position for you. YPARD is a network created by and for young professionals in agriculture and development, and our goal is to create the change we wish to see in the world together. We’re looking for a young professional with a can-do attitude to join YPARD as our Communications Officer and Membership Coordinator.

What is YPARD looking for in a Communications and Membership Coordinator?
● Bachelors in Communications or a related field and/or 2-3 years of experience;
● Experience in and enthusiasm for managing and creating digital content;
● Intermediate-level (B2 or higher) written and spoken English (required)
● Intermediate level French (B1 or higher) preferred, and other languages an advantage;
● Education, experience and/or interest in agriculture, climate, environment or global development;
● Experience in community organizing with an emphasis on Europe, esp. Central/Eastern Europe;
● Interest in building and expanding our network of volunteers;
● Enthusiasm for international travel 3-4 times/year, potentially outside Europe;
● Utmost respect for human diversity in all its forms, including a keen interest continually improving
YPARD’s communications and policies to be more inclusive;
● A team player who enjoys working independently with a remote team;
● Interest in strategic discussion on the development of YPARD as an organization.

What does YPARD offer you?
● Competitive salary and vacation benefits (25 days/year);
● Meal vouchers and the opportunity to use CZU sport offerings;
● A democratically managed team, where each team member is a leader in their own right;
● Flexible hours, including home office as desired, and an office at CZU;
● The chance to grow professionally with our network of professionals in over 70 countries.

Interested? Please submit a cover letter, resume, and work sample as a single PDF file to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. on or before 1 September, 2023. We wholeheartedly welcome applications from candidates identifying with traditionally underrepresented groups.

Terms of Reference
The Communications and Membership Coordinator tells the story of YPARD and her members to the YPARD community. It is your job to adapt our messages to donors, partners, and members for their effective engagement. You’ll also coordinate membership activities through your expert communication skills, especially with a focus on Europe. You’ll work closely with the Strategic Partnerships Manager, Director, and Regional Coordinators. Critical thinking, initiative, follow-through and teamwork are expected in this and all YPARD positions.

Responsibilities of the Communication and Membership Coordinator include:


Communication Coordination
● Strategic planning and implementation of the continual evolution of YPARD’s Communications
Strategy and its implementation, in coordination with the YPARD Global and Regional Units;
● Lead creation and dissemination of a quarterly YPARD Newsletter and Annual Members Report;
● Write and edit blogs, press releases, and any other content as needed.
● Source stories and information from Regional Coordinators, Country Representatives, and
members to disseminate through our communication channels;
● Develop bi-annual monitoring and evaluation reports for the website and social media.
● Manage and contribute to the evolution of YPARD’s Website, including but not limited to:
o Directing traffic to the YPARD website by ensuring its usefulness as a tool;
o Ensure interactivity of the website, including the latest updates for upcoming events,
YPARD news, YPARD member stories, etc;
o Create website content and edit/proofread and publish blog posts submitted by
members, ensuring all posts conform with YPARD communication strategies, policies and
standards.
● Moderate the YPARD Global Social Media accounts.


Network Coordination
● Respond to requests for information/support by (prospective or current) YPARD members and
YPARD Team’s requests via the info email address;
● Grow the number of active members in the network and encourage greater online participation;
● Support YPARD members with carefully selected sharing opportunities, catering to the needs and
interests of the chapters and members;
● Develop innovative events for YPARD members using a range of multimedia in collaboration with
the Regional Coordinators and Global Coordinating Unit;
Regional Coordination
● Support the regional hubs and members with the creation of events, webinars, and workshops,
with particular attention to the YPARD Europe regional events.
● Support YPARD Europe’s country levels and elevate the voices of the membership;
● Maintain and develop synergy at the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague (CZU) as a hosting
institution and liaise with its constituents for joint activities.

Without a just food systems transformation we cannot have a just climate transition. Moreover, without inclusivity we also cannot achieve food systems transformation. Food and agriculture is now getting more recognition, as seen in COP27, there were various pavilions focused on food, including the Food Systems Pavilion (FSP). This year, the FSP wants to ensure that youth voices are heard not only on expert panels, but are also heard throughout the development process of the pavilion leading to COP28. To ensure this, the FSP, along with the Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) and the International Association of Students in Agricultural and related Sciences (IAAS), are working together to establish youth as a co-host of the pavilion. 

If your organization is interested in becoming a member of the Youth Co-Host of the Food Systems Pavilion, please fill out the form and answer all questions in detail. A total of fifteen organizations will be selected to work together and ensure youth voices are well represented. Should you have any questions, feel free to contact the Youth Co-Host's representatives, Glindys Virginia Luciano (YPARD) at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Aya Mounir (IAAS) at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Apply by July 23th, 2023 17:00 CET

As part of the Africa Agribusiness and Science Week 2023 (AASW8), the Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) in partnership with the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the Global Forum for Agricultural Research and Innovation (GFAR) is organizing The AgriYouth Africa Hackathon under the theme, “Digital Technologies (ICT4Ag): The Pathway to Engaging the African Youth in African Agricultural Research and Development (AR4D)”.

It was our pleasure to honor three awardees and three honorable mentions at the FARA General Assembly on 8th June 2023. The selection was difficult, with nearly 90 team applications from over 20 countries. These winners stood out to the selection jury from GFAR, FARA and YPARD for their creativity and impact on the AASW themes while ensuring balance between regions, gender, and food systems endevours. 

Winners
Biodiversity preservation and restoration: The Greater Green Project, Zimbabwe
Small-scale producer friendly and female leadership: EssyMart, Uganda
Aquaculture: Tilapia Cage Pilot Project, DRC
 
Honorable Mentions
Small-scale producer friendly: Crop2Cash, Nigeria
Circular economy: ChampiTech, Benin
Community Livestock Production: Agri Business Activities, Gabon