The first YPARD encounter
It was just a normal school day in my class at the faculty of tropical agrisciences. With full concentration, continuous note-taking and a constant sip of my cup of green tea which was helping with the struggle to stay awake…Well I had just arrived from Africa, full of dreams, full of motivation, no winter or early dark night can stop me now, so it was either the class nap or my future…Hahaha. Okay back to the story. Just after the class with one of our amazing teachers in the faculty, we were told we had a guest. I was even more alert this time, then came this young lady, she was a representative of YPARD Europe operating from the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague (CULS) here in the Czech Republic. I was smitten. She spoke beautifully on the great benefits of being a part of the young professionals for agricultural development movement. The most interesting part about YPARD that caught my attention was the movement’s mission to enable and empower young people in agriculture to shape sustainable food systems.
She also mentioned that the YPARD movement was not a European movement only, it was a worldwide affair. I was equally amazed at how much impact young professional were making in Europe and even all over the world. Most of my classmates had lots of questions and most were answered, and I was really pleased while also strategically thinking of the nearest future.
In 2020, the pandemic struck, I had spoken to a few friends of mine about internship positions they might know of as this was a prerequisite to graduating from the faculty of tropical agrisciences. After much search, I was introduced to the communications and fund-raising officer of the YPARD movement in Europe (Stacy Hammond), who mentioned that my internship must be online because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I was not so pleased; how could I possibly cope with being an online intern, what could I possibly learn? But I kept an open mind.
In December 2020, I had my first meeting with Stacy Hammond. After the meeting, I was totally convinced I was in for a ride, majority of all the things she said went over my head, I had no clue, “write a blog, post on social media, find opportunities, interview.”
My internship kicked off in 2021. I had all the support; all my questions were answered every step of the way. Although my first task was a total disaster in my opinion, but I was greatly encouraged by the guidance I got from Stacy Hammond.
Many exciting experiences followed (exciting is not even the perfect adjective). I had the opportunity to interview a phenomenal agricultural professional Lukáš Tůma (you can read the interview style blog here). I also had the chance to write blogs about topics near and dear to me (you can find some of my blogs here). I was also a major editor of the “YPARD knowledge product document” for YPARD Europe, which was a daunting task for me (the knowledge product will be out soon and I will be credited as one of the editors). I had the opportunity to understand how valuable accurate information is for every young agricultural professional.
In my 12 weeks of internship, my writing skills have greatly improved, this has helped in the final thesis. My communication skills were also greatly impacted, generally I am now more exposed to more information which can keep me abreast amid future challenges and even opportunities. It was indeed an amazing experience with YPARD, another brick has been laid to the foundation of my great dream. I am grateful for this opportunity.
Picture credit: Juliana Gold