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Ending the Academic year with New projects for next year! - YPARD Sierra Leone's feedback

As the academic year draw to an end at Njala University, the newly founded YPARD Sierra Leone local working group members have volunteered to create further sensitization in their various communities while on vacation. Statistics from our last meetings held on the 27th of June 2012 at Sierra Leone’s National Agricultural Training Centre (NATC) and on the 28th of June 2012 at Njala university main campus put the numerical strength of our membership at 75. We have 30 members at NATC and 45 at Njala main campus. The objective of the meeting underscored the need for members to create YPARD awareness in their respective communities.  Although the group had not finalized a priority area, suggestions from our past meetings indicate that most of the members are interested in capacities building activities that will further enhanced their knowledge in the agricultural sector. YPARD has also started strengthening its network at Sierra Leone’s National Agricultural Research Institute (SLARI). On the 11th of June 2012, YPARD awareness was raised at the Kenema Forestry and Tree Crop Research Centre which is a sub-station of SLARI operating in Eastern Sierra Leone. The meeting brought together eleventh (11) young researchers and assistant research officers at the station. A brief overview of YPARD’s global, regional and national activities was presented to the participants. They were encouraged to get involved with YPARD online and on-the-ground activities. Participants embraced the objectives of YPARD and are willing to promote the vision of YPARD in the Region. One of the research officers in the person of Momodu Jalloh, a YPARD Online member also volunteer to commence initiating awareness activities among the young people in the region. Mr. Arthur Chiman Williams a member of YPARD who was named YPARD entrepreneur of the month of May has volunteered to raise YPARD awareness among his colleagues at Magbosi Land and Water Research Centre. The Centre is one of Sierra Leone’s agricultural research institute sub-station which aims at land and water studies. Challenges and way forward After raising series of awareness and strengthening our network in various institutions in Sierra Leone within the next four months, We intend to organize a one week national seminar on the theme: THE ROLE OF AGRICULTURE IN YOUTH DEVELOPMENT IN SIERRA LEONE. The event will also be used to officially launch YPARD in Sierra Leone. This national seminar and official launch of YPARD will set the stage for the identification of a country strategy and priority areas as the event is expected to bring together young professionals and major stakeholders within the agricultural sector in Sierra Leone. An important indicator of success of a program is the degree to which it responds to the needs of participants. For the intended youths to participate in YPARD activities in Sierra Leone, the benefit of participation must be clearly visible. We therefore believe organizing this event will create a national awareness about youth and Agriculture as it stills remains a new phenomenon in the context of Sierra Leone.