If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.
Today is World Food Day. If you do just one thing today, how about sending a short message to help end chronic malnutrition for 25 million kids?
Here’s what to do:
- Go to http://act.one.org/go/800?t=3&akid=3449.1342924.hO2czs
- Write your own short message (ONE will be delivering them to…
Join Phelps Stokes on November 8th for our first event of the season! We’re hosting a Palaver Hut! Palaver is a word used to describe a prolonged discussion between two parties and comes from the West African tradition of gathering an entire village into a hut to discuss a matter until it is resolved.The theme for our upcoming Palaver Hut is taken from this year’s World Food Day: “Agricultural Cooperatives: The Key to Feeding the World.” Since we have just returned to New York, we plan to focus our discussion on the issues of Urban Farming and Food Justice that are relevant to our community.
Hope to see you there!
“… So it’s very fortuitous that these stars seem to align at the same time to allow for the cross-fertilization of ideas… I am very confident that you will find Tuskegee University to be not only very hospitable, but intellectually challenging and a source of inspiration.”
-Tuskegee University President Gilbert L. Rochon to GYIN Summit delegates
Tuskegee University President and BWI Maryland Chapter President Pay a courtesy call on President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Visit BWI June 22, 2012
Booker T. Washington Institute (BWI), Kakata, Liberia and Tuskegee University, formerly Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama have had a long history of relationship and mutual collaboration and co-operation dating back to 1924. Tuskegee University is one of the founders of BWI who made the dream of the late President Charles D.B. King to establish an institution like Tuskegee University in Liberia a reality. Today, BWI stands as a beacon of hope for many Liberian youths, past and present seeking excellent high school academic, and vocational and technical education at the nation’s premier technical institution. Because of the historic ties between BWI and Tuskegee, Dr. Rochon, President of Tuskegee invited Mr. John S. Fahnbutu, President of the Maryland Chapter of the BWI National Alumni Association of North America to accompanying him to the commencement of the Zorzor Rural Teacher Training Institute (ZRTTI). Dr. Rochon served as speaker for the commencement. During a telephone conversation, Mr. Fahnbutu informed Dr. Rochon that they could use that time to also meet with the President of Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf since her government is prioritizing vocational technical education with specific reference to the Booker Washington Institute.
Subsequently, on Friday June 22, 2012, President Sirleaf received in audience at her Foreign Ministry Office Dr. and Mrs. Rochon along with key members of the BWI Administration, Board of Governors, and Alumni Association. During the visit, the president reflected on the long standing ties between BWI and Tuskegee and expressed optimism about the reactivation, renewal, and restoration of the long standing relationship between the two institutions.
Further, President Sirleaf welcomed the Tuskegee President, on his first visit to Liberia, and reflected on the long-standing relationship between BWI and Tuskegee. She indicated that the war had greatly affected BWI, but went on to brief Dr. Rochon and the delegation on what her administration has done to restore the country’s premier technical institution.
She said the reactivation of relationships between Liberian institutions and organizations aboard has been a priority of government and that the visit of the Tuskegee President to Liberia was timely. “The empowerment of young people is one of several primary goals of the government and BWI is critical to such process,” President Sirleaf indicated.
The Liberian leader told the visitors that Liberia has started to get support from some international friends, and looks forward to training arrangements with Tuskegee University and other institutions abroad, including the exchange of professors and students, stressing that such interventions will help fill the capacity gap that currently exists in Liberian schools.
Responding, Dr. Rochon thanked President Sirleaf for the warm reception accorded him and his wife and talked about the constructive engagement and dialogue with the administration and Board of Governors of BWI as it relates to areas of co-operation and partnership between the two institutions, engagement with the President of the University of Liberia, Dr. Emmet A. Dennis, and with representatives of Tubman University in Harper, Maryland County.
In remarks, Mr. John S. Fahnbutu, President of the Maryland Chapter, BWI National Alumni Association indicated that the visit to Liberia was a result of the Maryland Chapter’s plan to construct an Educational Resource Center in honor of the Phelps Stokes Foundation on the campus of BWI in partnership with Tuskegee University. Mr. Fahnbutu also said that this visit has afforded a sitting president of Tuskegee University to visit Liberia and BWI for the first time since the establishment of relationship.
Accompanying Dr. Rochon to President Sirleaf’s Foreign Ministry Office were: Bishop Sumowood E. Harris, former Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Liberia, and now Chair of the BWI Board of Governors; Bishop Seyen Kulo, the new Bishop of the Lutheran Church; Mr. Mulbah Jackollie, Principal of BWI; Mr. Jonathan Paye-Layleh, President of the BWI Alumni Association; Mr. John S. Fahnbutu, President of the Maryland-USA Chapter of the BWI Alumni Association,; and Dr. Joseph T. Isaac, Vice President of the William V. S Tubman University and a member of the BWI Board of Governors.
The Chairman of the Board of Governors of BWI, Bishop Harris, informed President Sirleaf that the delegation was delighted for the opportunity to meet with her. He reminded the President that Tuskegee University’s relations with BWI started in 1924, that Tuskegee gave birth to BWI, and was part of the plans to rebuild the Institute.
The meeting was followed by a visit to BWI campus in Kakata, Margibi County where Dr. Rochon addressed students, faculty and staff during a brief welcome ceremony held at the Library Annex. Dr. Rochon again spoke of the long standing historic ties between the two institutions and the opportunity the visit accorded him to once again renew that relationship and assess conditions on campus since the cessation of the Liberian conflict. He expressed satisfaction over how rapidly BWI has grown and the critical role it has played in the social economic and industrial development of Liberia by training middle level technicians to meet Liberia’s industrial and technical manpower needs.
He further indicated that he would pursued opportunity for student exchanges, the sharing and exchange of ideals, and material resources to enhance the learning capacity and environment of students and staffs of BWI especially, in the area of technology and access to online research and educational resources.
Remarks were made by the following persons during the welcoming ceremony: Alumni and Principal Mulbah S. Jackollie, Alumni Dr. Joseph Isaac, Member Board of Governors, and Alumni Mr. John S. Fahnbutu, President of the Maryland-USA Chapter of the BWI National Alumni Association, who accompanied Dr. and Mrs. Rochon to Liberia. They reflected on the rich and vibrant history of the institution, its accomplishments, milestones and rich traditions, as well as described some of the vision for the future.
The remarks were later followed by exchanges of questions and answers between Dr. Rochon, and students, faculty and staffs, and mostly centered on capacity building, in terms of prospects for educational resources and materials mobilization for the school, and opportunity for scholarships for deserving BWI students, faculty and staffs.
Dr. and Mrs. Rochon were later gowned by Principal Mulbah Jackollie on behalf of the BWI family. The gowning ceremony was followed by a tour of the campus facilities including dormitories, monuments, grave sites and etc.
In remarks, Mr. John S. Fahnbutu, President of the Maryland Chapter, BWI National Alumni Association of North America informed the staff and student body that this visit was made possible by the initiative of the Maryland Chapter. He informed them that in 2010 and 2011, the Maryland Chapter re-established relationships with both Phelps Stokes Foundation and Tuskegee University. Both institutions have agreed to join the Maryland Chapter as partners for the construction of the Phelps Stokes Educational Resource Center, a learning resource center to be constructed on the campus of the Booker Washington Institute in Kakata, Liberia.
In response, Mr. Mulbah S. Jackollie, Principal of BWI, extended profound gratitude and appreciation to all who made the visit of Dr. and Mrs. Rochon to Liberia and most especially to BWI possible. Also, he said that the administration remains resolutely committed to rebuilding BWI into a center of excellence for vocational and technical education and welcome strong and enduring partners like Tuskegee University and Dr. Rochon. Finally, Mr. Jackollie, asked everyone present to join them as partners in progress; as together they all can give Liberia’s young generation hope and let them be anything they can be he said.
The visit was climaxed by a traditional African lunch/dinner before Dr. and Mrs. Rochon departed for ZRTTI in Fissebu, Lofa County.
ROME, Italy, 10 August 2012 – Today’s generation of young people, defined by the United Nations as those aged 15 to 24, is the largest in history. In the developing world as a whole, they make up on average 20 per cent of the population. Given such numbers, the potential of youth for economic development and social progress is practically boundless. Yet it remains largely untapped in rural areas, where many young people continue to abandon agriculture as a profession and migrate to cities due to lacklustre educational and employment opportunities.
Young people and their organizations need supportive partners in order to maximize their potential. As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said, “To unleash the power of young people, we need to partner with them.” In keeping with that sentiment, the UN is using this year’sInternational Youth Day, 12 August, as a springboard to advance partnerships with youth.
By youth, for youth
GYIN members take notes at IFAD’s 2012 Governing Council session in Rome. ©IFAD/Giulio Napolitano.
Partnering with young rural people means channelling youthful creativity into agricultural entrepreneurship. To that end, IFAD supports the Global Youth Innovation Network (GYIN), a ground-breaking initiative led by youth, for youth.
The seeds for GYIN were planted at the beginning of 2011, when IFAD’s Governing Council of member states discussed how to boost food security and reduce poverty by involving young rural people in modern agribusiness. An IFAD grant subsequently funded the establishment of the youth network in collaboration with the Phelps Stokes Fund, a US-based foundation that works with under-served communities in Africa and the Americas. Other partners include the Songhai Centre, the Government of Benin, the Palmares Cultural Foundation in Brazil, Programa ACUA in Colombia and the Give1Project, an international NGO.
GYIN started out as a vehicle for connecting young entrepreneurs with each other in West and Central Africa. The concept spread quickly among rural youth determined to become agents of change.
“The key to meeting the world’s future food needs − and to fighting the hunger and poverty that is concentrated in rural areas − is to create an environment that will encourage and enable young women and men to remain in their communities,” said IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze. “They need opportunities to improve their own lives, obtain decent work and pursue prosperity.”
With young people themselves at the forefront, GYIN is working to expand those opportunities. As Nwanze noted, “Putting young rural people first is not an option, it is an obligation.”
On a visit the Songhai Centre in Benin, GYIN members learn about sustainable, profitable farming. © GYIN
Over the past year, the network has grown steadily, establishing a consortium of 15 partner organizations and launching an online community, among other milestones. Here are some highlights of its activities to date:
- Innovation workshop. Last October, GYIN organized a Global Youth Innovation Workshop and Fair that brought together 86 youth entrepreneurs from about 50 countries. Held in Benin, the event explored how best to support and promote entrepreneurship among young people in rural areas. More than half of the attendees reported that the workshop and fair gave them the opportunity to make business deals or establish contacts with potential partners. The event featured a meeting with Benin’s President, Boni Yayi.
- Online presence. GYIN has a website with over 5,000 registered members, as well as an active presence on Facebook and Twitter. The website serves as a directory of network members, a library for news and resources involving youth entrepreneurship, and a business opportunity forum.
- Youth leadership. GYIN is led by a 13-member international Youth Advisory Group that was set up and confirmed during the Benin workshop. Group members have written a constitution, an action plan for 2012-2015 and other strategic roadmaps for the network. In February, they met at IFAD’s Rome headquarters to finalize these documents with input from IFAD and Phelps Stokes.
- Membership action. Based on the credibility gained from its interactions with the development and business communities, GYIN has helped more than 20 youth entrepreneurs to expand their enterprises or start up new ones. GYIN Ambassadors have represented the network at over a 100 events – including the 2012 Farmers’ Forum youth session hosted by IFAD in Rome, the Global Future 2045 International Congress in Moscow and the Rio +20 global conference on environmental sustainability.
In addition, members of the youth network have begun working closely with IFAD on rural development projects in West and Central Africa.
A young rural entrepreneur displays products at GYIN’s Global Youth Innovation Workshop and Fair. © GYIN
‘Our own path’
One GYIN Ambassador, for example, is helping to design a new project benefiting young people and women in The Gambia. Other network members sit on the steering committees of three ongoing IFAD-supported projects in that country, and of a forthcoming UN Development Programme report on youth and employment there. In Senegal, GYIN members were part of a supervision mission to assess the impact of an IFAD-financed project addressing rural youth issues.
Meanwhile, the network and its leadership are looking toward scaling up their worldwide efforts. At a historical moment when the future of agricultural development depends largely upon the vision and commitment of young rural people, GYIN members are seizing the initiative.
“This is the time to take the youth to a new level,” said Tiburce Igbaowo Chaffa, a member of the network’s advisory group. “This is the time to show that being young in Africa, in America – wherever you are – that we’ve got the potential to change our destiny, to lead our own path. And we thank IFAD for giving us this opportunity.”
Engaging youth in agriculture
Beyond GYIN’s continuing success, IFAD funds projects throughout the developing world that engage young people in agriculture, giving them access to education, training and financing for rural enterprises.
In Viet Nam, for instance, a school in Tuyen Quang Province, funded by an IFAD-supported project, has provided agricultural, technical and vocational training to nearly 10,000 people – most of them young and unemployed. The project also built and equipped vocational schools in three upland districts to reach young people from ethnic minority communities.
In post-conflict Sierra Leone, IFAD has supported the Polio Tegloma Agricultural Association, which provides training, shelter and cassava production opportunities for young rural people living with disabilities. “We came to the conclusion that instead of us going into the street to beg, we just need to embark on cultivating land for ourselves,” said Sellu Njiawa, the founder of the association.
And in Senegal, the IFAD-financed PROMER micro-enterprises project launched Saloum Metal, a training programme offering employment to young people and metalwork services to local farmers. “I always wanted to work with my hands, but agricultural revenues can be low, and farming didn’t appeal to me,” said Pape, 23, a Saloum Metal trainee. The programme allowed Pape to start his own metalwork business, so that he wouldn’t have to travel or migrate for work. As a result, he said, “I’ve been able to stay here with my family.”