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YPARD: renewed Steering Committee dynamics for deeper international community engagement

It’s been nearly 6 months since I was elected as the YPARD Chairperson. In line with my commitment to ensuring that YPARD remains and evolves as a space for collective action and accountability, my  Steering Committee (SC)’s colleagues and I are keen to share our key passed milestones and steps to come.

Reviving the YPARD SC momentum

A key objective we needed to start with was to build a cohesive and proactive steering committee. We are all fairly new in the position. It meant swiftly getting to know each other, building the team dynamics, and generating a strong and collective sense of ownership and leadership. We are proud to check this box! 

Achieving this is sometimes a challenge: we need to find mechanisms that help smart yet very busy volunteers to commit enough time to the cause. Here is our approach. We maintain frequent and regular communications through concise and action-oriented weekly digests that both celebrate what was done and state clearly what needs to be accomplished. We also meet through monthly online meetings and we constantly stay tuned with the YPARD Director, so that the team has all the needed background information to bring acute input and informed decisions. It also includes consulting and providing feedback to each other so that everyone is aware of the value of their input and how it contributes to the collective work. Finally, and this is work in progress, we create space for individual responsibility so that every SC member can take the lead in the areas they are the most comfortable with. This cocktail of simple practices boosts the team to stay motivated and grow!

Refining YPARD’s positioning in current contexts 

2020 was jostled by two main happenings on a global level: Covid19 and the fights for Social Justice. It generated a lot of internal exchanges within the YPARD SC on how YPARD should take part in the discussions. It struck us that while YPARD was born from a very diverse group of young people and has always held very clear principles of diversity, inclusion and justice for all in the way it thinks and works, we now need to explicitly and formally state its position and record it as part of YPARD’s institutional reference documents.

This is crucial not only for identifying our stance about injustice and inequity now and forever but also to ensure that every YPARD member knows their fundamental worth and right.  A group of SC members has taken the lead on this workstream and we shall share our manifesto and related documents on what this means in the context of YPARD’s work - as and with young professionals for sustainable food systems - in the coming weeks.

“Rolling it out” as an International Community

We are finally getting to what we consider as the core of our work: building stronger collective international community dynamics. This is in no way a radical change; YPARD has been living with this spirit from its genesis and has been applying a number of very effective ways of working collectively and seeking feedback. What it needs more of, is intentional and structured governance processes for “institutionalized” communications and accountability. This will optimize YPARD constituents’ work together and feedback on their experience so that they fully contribute to change. This means scaling up YPARD SC’s recently tested practices with the whole community and designing the strategy and process further.

These are only a few highlights of what kept the YPARD SC busy in the past months, on communications, teamwork and accountability. The team has also been actively preparing for 2021’s big changes; huge kudos to YPARD Director and team for the successful execution of this (on-going) transition while keeping projects and activities sprout. Stay tuned! 

You can write to the YPARD Steering Committee at steeringcommittee@ypard.net