Over the past few months, Juma has provided social media consultancy services for a range of events aimed at driving policy change in favour of agriculture. Among them was the Regional Youth Green Growth Forum, held in Kenya in December 2103, which brought together African youth representatives to discuss ways of increasing sustainable opportunities for young people. Another was the Farmers Radio Poll, an innovative mobile phone and radio-based survey conducted in June 2014 to help farmers’ voices reach policy-makers.
The poll was part of a campaign called Do Agric which was launched to encourage African leaders to respect their commitment to the 2003 Maputo Declaration and invest 10 per cent of budgets in agriculture. Juma was the online campaign manager and social media reporter of the campaign.
In his day job, Juma works as a programme support officer for the Tanzanian Graduate Farmers Association, a member-based organisation working to promote entrepreneurship for farmers, especially youth. Part of his work involves managing the organisation’s social media accounts, to drive interest in the sector among young people and link agripreneurs with service providers and markets.
Besides, Juma is a social media manager for the Advancing Land Rights for Women-TZ campaign, where he is helping to promote land access for women, using Facebook to bring the issue to light. He has rapidly built up a dedicated following for his social media outlets. And he believes strongly in the power of web-based tools to advocate for better policies.
He currently runs three blogs, seven Facebook pages and several Twitter accounts. He regularly posts videos on YouTube, including the CTA supported training session on Web 2.0 and social media held for young people in November 2013, which he attended. With CTA support, Juma has learned to use ICTs to promote farming as a business, as well as to influence policy so that young people have a better chance of making a successful career in agriculture.
“I am addicted to social media. We are living in a digitalised world where information is power and as information is everywhere, the power is there to switch on and get updated. Using ICTs to influence government policy can be very important, because if you use social media you can get wide support, so the government will respond.
It’s also a way of informing the rest of the world that farming is cool and a way of telling people what we are doing, the challenges faced by farmers and the opportunities that exist. I want to promote policies that will give youth the best chance and make the most of those openings.”
Becoming YPARD national representative in Tanzania represents a new challenge for Juma in order for the youth to contribute to a transforming agriculture in Africa in general, and in Tanzania in particular.
“I feel so honoured to become a YPARD Country representative for my beautiful country Tanzania. This position offers me the opportunity to work hard, represent, network, dialogue and advocate for better business environment to enable entrepreneurial and innovative youth to tap into agriculture opportunities through well established and managed rules and regulations.
Besides, I will mobilize and lead other interested youth and cooperatives to work together; share experience; use research based information and repackage it into user friendly manuals; influence the improvement of the policy, education system, innovation and communication; as well as ensure youth representation at local, regional and national level in agricultural, economic and political decision making levels.”
As a first step, Juma already has some plans for the coming year to get things going. He has set up a Facebook group, a Twitter profile and a Google+ account for YPARD Tanzania to coordinate members of YPARD Tanzania. Likewise, he plans to recruit new members by organizing awareness meetings, presentations at universities, a formal launching of YPARD Tanzania at country and local levels, as well as to introduce the platform to the responsible ministry for youth, agriculture and related agencies and authorities. All this should come after harmonizing the critical areas for engagement, recruit national and learning institutions’ representatives, amongst other ground activities.
We can’t wait to hear more from the Youth-in-Agriculture in Tanzania and we trust that YPARD Tanzania will be successful in mobilizing the youth through Juma’s leadership.
Welcome on board, Juma!
If you are from or based in Tanzania, and want to get involved in YPARD Tanzania activities, please contact Juma at firstname.lastname@example.org.