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The role of Youth and Youth networks at the National Fisheries and Aquaculture conference in Malawi

I first heard of the global essay writing competition by Youth for Fish Program (YFFP) on how to fully engage youth in Fisheries and Aquaculture development from a friend at work. I later viewed it on the website of the Young Professionals Platform for Agricultural Research for development (YPARD). I first registered as a YFFP member  and then submitted my application a few hours before the deadline.

It was a blessed opportunity to be informed that I was one of the winners of the essay writing competition. I was also sponsored to present this essay in power point at the 3 days International conference on Fisheries and Aquaculture development at Sun and Sand hotel at Mangochi in Malawi from April 6th to 8th, 2013. Also during the conference dinner in Malawi, I was given an AWARD with two fellow winners Donia fuller from Jamaica and Kennedy Mbeva from Kenya.

As youth preset during the conference we were humbly grateful for the efforts that were made by the fisheries and aquaculture stake holders in order to support and recognize youth contributions during this conference. Also many thanks go to YPARD for networking youth to helpful websites and opportunities.

The international Conference on Fisheries and Aquaculture in Malawi had a number of Fisheries and Aquaculture stake holders from within and outside Africa. Youth for Fish Program members were actively involved in a number of activities during the conference ranging from programme organizers, social reporters and ushers among others.

Furthermore, many youth vigorously contributed during discussions and were also given opportunities to present research work using power point and posters. The hard work and good team spirit of the youth during the conference were highly commended by several aquaculture stake holders who appreciated the smooth flow of events during the conference. Thumbs up to the Youth for Fish Program members!

During the conference, it was observed that no research paper was presented about youth in relation to fisheries and aquaculture development apart from that presented by YFFP. However, one of the stake holders promised to take immediate action on initiating a program that could promote youth involvement in aquaculture in Malawi by trying to obtain youth loans that would improve their involvement in aquaculture and also give them sufficient time to refund loan money.

It should be noted that youth cover the biggest percentage population in Africa. Therefore, more government and community efforts are needed to increase their participation in the aquaculture sector in order to aid aquaculture rapid transformation from subsistence to commercial scale operation.

Some interventions include: improving youth incentives in aquaculture, conducting short and long term aquaculture and fisheries trainings, enabling youth to voice their views in local and international conferences, funding research projects of youth or related to youth in this sector, publishing youth research work and papers and providing awards and recognitions to youth that are actively contributing towards development of the sector.

However as youth, we need to make serious initiatives in steering the development of the fisheries and aquaculture sector in order to secure our future generation with a sustainable supply of natural aquatic resourses.

Let us start now by networking and sharing our ideas with helpful youth websites like YPARD and YFFP. Through these networks we can become a single global unit that can easily obtain support for youth programs that can secure enough food for our future generations.

Read my paper: "How to fully engage youth in enhancing Fisheries and Aquaculture in Sub Saharan Africa", 1st best award winner of the Global essay writing competition under Youth for fish programme on how to fully engage youth in enhancing Fisheries and Aquaculture development in Sub SaharanAfrica.