On 12th December 2020, YPARD Rwanda Chapter in partnership with Alliance for Science Rwanda YPARD has run YPARD Global Café in Rwanda via zoom meeting and live-streamed through social media as part of avoiding the spread of COVID-19.
On the Global YPARD Café in Rwanda discussion panel, the event went online with 5 panellists. Pacifique Nshimyimana who moderated the event started by introducing himself as a young agripreneur and advocate for agriculture transformation by youth and technology. He introduced sponsors of the event with YPRAD Rwanda, Cornell Alliance for Science, and others who joined the Global YPARD Café.
After introducing himself, Ernest was the first panellist who raised much of the early discussion on social media with his company’s solution to use drones in agriculture. Linking his agripreneurial experience and a member of the YPARD Rwanda network, Ernest contributed more to the hope of smallholder farmers who are called to adopt new innovations. Big data and IoT that are featured with drones’ technology to better supply farmers with accurate data on pest management, harvest and logistics preparations.
Jean Damascene in his turn burked a lot on the status of extension services toward small producers. Mr. Damascene has worked with big organizations in the East African extension services industry like CABI and an assistant lecturer at Guru University in Uganda. His remarks touched more on the COVID-19 scenario where farmers are confined in their local areas due to lockdown but could still benefit from ICT based services to receive tailored extension services from Rwanda Agricultural Board (RAB).
During the discussion and after, Ms. Gloria Mutuzo who is a young decollated agripreneur, her journey story of failure and resilience to keep going until she made it a success led the café vibe to be picked by many local and regional organizations on Twitter.
On the panel, Shikama Dioscore, who is the mastermind behind Rwanda’s Agri-Go app and other ICT platforms that equip small producers and farmer cooperatives with business management tools and big data information like weather and climate forecasts helped put light on youth position towards ITC4Ag.
The online event has welcomed onboard Rwanda’s Youth in Agribusiness, Agriculture, Agri-tech, and urban farming. With the theme titled “Fresh perspectives on future Africa’s food security in midst of a pandemic like COVID-19 and a state of implementation of science”.
The event was attended by five agriculture practitioners as well as food security enthusiasts who shared their experience as champions in Agriculture. They also shared opportunities for youth perspectives towards agribusiness and the state implementation science amid the COVID19 pandemic.
The online event has gained over a thousand impressions via Social Media platforms, whereby high profiled people in Africa have reacted and shown their support by liking and retweeting the unconference meeting. Among these were UN Secretary General's Special Envoy for the Food System's Summit and President of AGRA, Dr. Agnes Kalibata, Youth-Led Science Communications in Agriculture from University of Rwanda (RECA Rwanda), Alliance for Science Global, ISAAA AfriCenter, Dr. Geraldine Mukeshimana (Minister of Agriculture and Animals Resources in Rwanda) among many others. The event has brought attention to hundreds of people in Rwanda and beyond the live event on Facebook and Zoom, where followers got the opportunity to comment and give their views during and after the event.
Before the event started many tweets where shared both on YPARD Rwanda Twitter and Facebook accounts, Alliance for Science Rwanda Twitter account, panellists social media accounts and special invitations were shared to YPARDians via WhatsApp groups. Other Youth-led organizations such as RYAF (Rwanda Youth in Agribusiness Forum), RECA Rwanda (Rwanda Agricultural and Environmental Communications), YEAN, IWACU Modern Farm, Real Green Gold Ltd to list a few have also supported during and after the event by sharing the event through their platforms.
It’s however an important realization that part of feedback, many youths in farming and agribusiness from Rwanda and in regional have requested to be included in next coming opportunities. And some of them have already sent their requests to be members of YPARD through a communications Focal Person.
In the long run, the YPARD Rwanda chapter and its partners- Alliance for Science Rwanda and Rwanda Youth in Agribusiness Forum (RYAF) have proven to be important youth mobilizers in Uganda. In this regard, the organizing team has decided to work all odds in ensuring that similar events are organized and run by the youth themselves.
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